Responsible tourism: Jersey hostel accommodation, Channel Islands
The hostel accommodation provides a place to stay for people wanting to be close to the wildlife and feel immersed in natural surroundings, but who still prefer to have four walls around them while they sleep! The building is a traditional, listed farm house building and we have done all that we can in order to make it as energy efficient as possible. Due to the age of the building, we have been careful to do all that we can to restore and insulate it whilst preserving it's heritage and character.
We have an organic vegetable patch in the garden where guests can buy home-grown, fresh vegetables and help to keep food miles low on the island. We'd also encourage people to use a local store or farm shop if they are wanting to get ingredients to cook in the self catering kitchen, and we promote getting around by bicycle as a great way of reducing pollution and making use of Jersey's excellent network of cycle paths, providing a safe place to ride a bike with views of the spectacular island scenery.
At the wildlife park we strive to operate in a way that is beneficial to the environment whilst maintaining a peaceful and harmonious place to live for all of our wildlife. Having placed many animals on the island, we had to ask what would happen if one day there was a fuel shortage and we became disconnected from the lands surrounding us. This led to the decision to develop an organic farm on site to feed all of the animals with fresh and natural produce, and so that as a park for wildlife we are self sufficient. Students and volunteers get involved with the planting and harvesting of the crops, and there are areas around the park where visitors can forage for wild berries!
The park is managed completely organically; even the paint we use is non-toxic. We have been involved in pioneering studies into using coffee as an alternative to chemical pesticides which can be detrimental to the environment and its wildlife, and we use these methods to sustain our crops organically. Creating a habitat for our species goes hand in hand with minimising our negative impact on the environment, and essentially comes down to being as natural and sustainable as possible. All grey waste water from the site is filtered and treated so that it may be used again for landscaping the gardens. We have also implemented solar power on site to provide some of the energy for the lamps around the park.
The amount of waste we produce is minimal, and this is a result of our efforts to reuse, recycle and compost. Waste paper from the offices is shredded and then used as a bedding for the animals. When this becomes soiled, it is burned in a biomass boiler to produce a highly efficient and carbon neutral source of heat and hot water for the buildings, then the ash from the biomass boiler is mixed into compost which is used across the organic farm.
We are a YHA accredited hostel, and the YHA charity aims to broaden horizons for younger people and offer them opportunities to get out and explore the outdoors. The organisation works with different groups and subsidises the cost of accommodation for groups who can most benefit from a trip to an area rich in both nature and opportunities for adventure. YHA has a network of fantastic volunteers which help to maintain all accredited hostels around the UK.
The wildlife park relies on a number of students and volunteers for its upkeep, many of which are local people. The conservation trust creates a wider community through everyone involved through a mutual interest and shared goal of conserving wildlife.
The wildlife park supports local schools and every school in Jersey visits the park and education centre once a year to learn about conservation, ecology and biodiversity. There are also opportunities for people wanting to learn more about wildlife conservation to join us as a volunteer, and people at schools or studying at college can join us for work experience placements.
The conservation academy also on site has been running courses in conservation since 1978, training over 3500 conservationists now working with wildlife across 135 countries, and we offer scholarships to enable people to practice conservation effectively and make a difference in a field that they are passionate about.
The Conservation Trust is well linked with other organisations working with environment and conservation and recently partnered with States of Jersey and The National Trust for Jersey in order to reverse the decline in the number of Red-billed Choughs that became extinct in Jersey around 1990. Huge amounts of bracken were cleared along coastal areas so that choughs are able to create a habitat and forage for berries. Working alongside these local organisations has led to plans being developed to reverse the decline of these birds and the National Trust for Jersey had planned to place sheep in the areas so that the bracken cannot blanket the area again.