So much of what happens here at Nat Hab goes on behind the scenes. The amount of work it takes to get our conservation message out to the world is huge, and we couldn’t do it without some incredibly talented and passionate people helping us. Drum roll, please, as we introduce our two summer interns!
First, let’s get to know Sara Gebretsadik. Sara is a business student at the University of Colorado Boulder, which is quite the change from where she grew up. She is originally from Tigray, Ethiopia, and came to the United States about 12 years ago.
“Being an immigrant, I’ve always felt more connected to the world. As a result, conservation and climate change are topics I am passionate about, as I’ve been able to see the effects firsthand. I think traveling is an essential part of being a global citizen, as it makes you more connected to what’s happening worldwide. But doing it consciously is important, because you don’t want to contribute to the further destruction of habitats and cultures by traveling unethically. This is why I fell in love with Nat Hab—their mission is something I believe in.”
Sara is working with our marketing team as a content editor, and she spends a lot of time helping us find the incredible images we use for our Nat Hab blog posts. She came to us wanting to learn more about both marketing and the intersection of conservation and travel. “I’m passionate about climate change and conservation but often felt overwhelmed by not knowing how to help more,” she explains.
But from our perspective, she’s doing plenty to help make the world a better place! A year and a half ago, Sara helped found a nonprofit, Omna Tigray, with her peers to raise awareness about the awful genocide unfolding in her homeland, the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Her very favorite memories are from her life in Ethiopia, where she spent the majority of her day outside in nature. She says that due to social media and the internet, she doesn’t get outside as much as she did as a child.
Sara says that if she could choose one Nat Hab trip to go on, she would sign up for Iceland: Circling the Land of Fire and Ice. Her favorite landscape to spend time in is the beach, as water calms her. “I think nature can allow a person to find inner peace,” she says. “It can help you feel connected and be more present.” Her animal of choice is the lion—she has always loved how they symbolize the African continent. There are still a couple of hundred wild lions in her birth country of Ethiopia!
When asked what environmental problem she would fix if given the chance, Sara chooses an issue that’s close to our hearts as well: “I feel as though they are all so worrisome, but the issue of deforestation really leaves my heart racing. Oxygen is such a necessity, especially as the human population continues to grow.”
We understand, Sara, and we feel the same! At least you can rest a little easier knowing that you are working for the world’s first 100% carbon-neutral travel company. We are so happy to have you join our team this summer, and we appreciate the passion you bring!
Next up, we’re excited to introduce you to Alysha Akankunda. Alysha moved from Uganda (home of our traveler favorite Great Uganda Gorilla Safari) to the United States in 2015 for her studies. She is currently a rising senior at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois, majoring in environmental studies and minoring in studio art and sociology. She took an internship with us at Nat Hab to help her decide what sort of employment she wants to pursue in the future, but she’s clear that she wants to work in something related to conservation and studio art. Alysha is interested in finding out more about how a tourism company incorporates sustainability and conservation into its operations and in exploring the different opportunities of trip guiding, as that’s something she is considering after college.
“For my interests, Nat Hab has been the best of both worlds. I get to use my creativity and some environmental knowledge I have to contribute to the marketing team. It has so far been an amazing experience to collaborate with a group of people who are supportive and care about the environment as much as I do. The opportunity to acquire various marketing skills, such as SEO, has been exciting to learn about. Before, I had no idea how crucial SEO was to the company’s exposure to the outside world. Being a member of the green team has also been exciting. In the meetings I have attended so far, I’ve learned about the various ways the business is promoting sustainable practices among its clients and aiming to become even more sustainable.”
Nature experiences, in her opinion, “contribute to enhancing our sense of connectivity on a global scale. For instance, indigenous people are always knowledgeable about the ecology of the region in which they reside, and this has influenced several studies on how to preserve various species in nature for future generations. An encounter with nature helps us reestablish the connection to nature that many of us have lost due to civilization. This helps us understand the importance of protecting or implementing sustainability and conservation methods to ensure that we keep nature alive”.
If Alysha could choose just one Nat Hab trip to go on, it would be our Galapagos trip. She wants to learn more about animals of the marine world in their natural habitat, such as her favorite animal, the very intelligent octopus. Fitting, considering when asked if she could acquire a superpower to immediately correct one environmental problem, she says she would like to be Aqua Woman. “Water pollution is a big problem, since many marine species are adversely impacted by various water pollutants, including pharmaceuticals that are flushed down toilets, industrial waste, soil erosion and all the synthetic fertilizers flowing into water systems. Few people are aware of how various water contaminants affect marine life, and many big companies that do know still prioritize capitalism.”
If you’re enjoying the look and functionality of our new Good Nature blog, it’s due in large part to our wonderful summer interns. They have both put in countless hours sourcing captivating imagery, updating older blog entries and making sure that everything is formatted well. Every member of the Nat Hab team is integral to our continued success, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome Sara and Alysha to the team.