In 2012 the Nature Observatorio Amazing Treehouse won the Best Innovation in Responsible Tourism Award as part of the World Responsible Tourism Awards. The Awards bring out lots of inspiring, interesting stories that make me realise how many more amazing places there are out there to discover....
Below is an interview with Peter the owner of the Amazing Treehouses...
Why did you decide to build the Treehouse?
I have travelled a lot and seen the destruction of the environment and especially forests all around the world and I wanted to do something about it. I love to spend all my free time in nature, rock climbing and hiking, but I am also a structural engineer specialising in steel structures. So I put together my love of nature, my passion for climbing and my profession of structural engineering.
Here on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica you can buy plots of forest and I saw that as an opportunity to protect part of the forest. As I walked through the forest I was thought, 'how can people enjoy it?' I put together that we can learn from nature, enjoy it and protect it at the same time.
It's been a long journey since then because I worked on different designs for two years. The whole process took about five years from the time that I purchased the land because I knew how to design and build it, but I didn't know that much about the trees. I found that knowledge from indigenous Naso Teriva tribes who live in this area.
You say the Treehouse is a guest of the tree, how is that?
Because of the way the structure is built on nylon straps, it's built without anything penetrating the tree, the tree is not harmed; there are no screws, no bolts, no nothing. After 5 to 7 years the structure will be removed, repainted and put on another tree.
How does the Treehouse benefit the environment?
Although we invite people to enjoy this beautiful canopy of the tropical rainforest, the Treehouse is also for studying an environment that is very much unknown. The people involved become educated about something they have direct connection with.
How do you use the Treehouse to buy more land?
The Treehouse generates income, which we use to purchase the surrounding forest, or damaged land that can be reforested.
On this project we only have one tree Treehouse, so we started with seven hectares, but this one Treehouse has generated enough income that we were able to purchase an additional five hectares and put it under protection. If this formula can be repeated all around the world, deforestation would be reversed. Not only the flora and fauna would be protected, but the people living in the forest, such as the Naso Teriva.
What are your plans for the future?
The idea is to build Nature Observatorio Treehouses on every continent. Because this project has been entirely financed by me it just takes a little longer than I would like. We already have some locations picked and maybe with the help of a big organisation we could grow faster.
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