The Coastal Awareness and Responsible Ecotourism (CARE) Certification program is a five-week blended learning opportunity designed for individuals working in coastal, water-based tourism including but not limited to paddle outfitters and charter boat companies. The CARE program combines online work-at-your-own-pace content, live teleconferencing guided conversation sessions and a culminating in-person, field-based component. The goal of the CARE certification program is to support responsible ecotourism by providing a marketable credential, increasing communication between tour businesses and the agencies trying to reduce recreational disturbance on wildlife, and creating a standard level of information that individuals can convey to their customers.
Course content focuses on recreational disturbance of coastal habitats, which has serious implications for wildlife, specifically for shorebirds. Habitat protection, including disturbance reduction, is an important strategy to mitigate shorebird population declines. Ecotourism provides an opportunity to build support for such conservation action. Successful course completion will result in an individual CARE certification and ongoing opportunities for recertification and communication within the CARE community of eco-tour guides.
Content development was funded through the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, administered by the Office for Coastal Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and passed through the Coastal Management Program of the Department of Natural Resources. The program has been developed through a collaboration among UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, Manomet, and Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR). Please fill out the following application to be eligible for participation. We will be prioritizing applicants by those who are active outdoor tour guides and students who are interested in ecotourism as a career path.
This fee includes unlimited access to online course content, five hours of virtual instruction, a seven-hour in-person field day, and ongoing support from CARE coordinators. The registration fee is non-refundable.