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Give back to the Earth

We've compiled some eco-conscious travel deals, events, and resources good for Earth Day (April 22) and beyond.
Image: Lake Quinault Lodge
Lake Quinault Lodge in Washington State's Olympic National Forest is hosting an Earth Day weekend celebration during which volunteers will help clear the rubble from winter storms that uprooted trees and otherwise damaged Quinault Rain Forest.Lake Quinault Lodge

You can find out about major Earth Day celebrations around the globe — and ways to take action and make your everyday life more environmentally friendly — through the Earth Day Network. The organization, which developed out of the first Earth Day in 1970, convened Sunday's star-studded rally on the National Mall calling on Congress to act on global warming.

More resources and some affordable fresh-air getaways are below.

  • Call2Recycle and Earth911: Find recycling and reusing locations for items including computers, batteries, plastics, tires, and books, plus information on composting and green shopping.
  • CarbonFund: A carbon-offset outfit that has begun a partnership with Orbitz and lets donors direct their money to renewable energy, reforestation, energy-efficiency projects, or some combination thereof. (Find out more about carbon offsetters here.)
  • Earthwatch, American Hiking Society, Global Exchange, and Oceanic Society: Socially conscious organizations that, among other things, run trips that benefit the local environment and community.
  • Fuel Economy: One-stop place for information on hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles, and on how to stretch your gas dollars and the life of your car.
  • Green Drinks International: Informal monthly meet-ups held in hundreds of cities for people whose jobs and/or interests are geared towards the environment.
  • National Park Service: Search for national parks by name, location, and activity. Use our month-by-month guide and advice from Kurt Repanshek, author of “National Parks With Kids,” to help plan your next visit.
  • PayItGreen Alliance: This site's Green Calculator determines the impact you'd make by switching from paper to electronic billing. Every 2 percent of American households that move to electronic bills, statements, and payments, collectively save 181,128 trees and avoid creating enough wastewater to fill 218 Olympic-size swimming pools.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Learn more about national wildlife refuges, conservation efforts, and educational events for all ages held at a refuge near you.

Olympic National Forest, Wash., volunteer vacation, $107
Lake Quinault Lodge is hosting an Earth Day weekend celebration during which volunteers will help clear the rubble from winter storms that uprooted trees and otherwise damaged Quinault Rain Forest. Speakers will give presentations on global warming and the importance of national parks, and the park will launch a new tour in which a van will take groups of up to 5 on a three-hour, 30-mile loop deep into the rain forest ($35 per adult and $20 per child under the age of 12). The lodge is offering a 37 percent discount on room rates, which start at $107 per night for the weekend and include box lunches for two.

When: April 25-26, 2008, for lodging package; April 26-27 for voluntourism events.

Details: Taxes are an additional 11 percent. Based on double occupancy.

Contact 800/562-6672,

Mendocino, Calif., family coastal exploration, $206
On a hillside overlooking the dramatic Pacific coastline, the Little River Inn has been family-run since the 1800s and has organized a special Family Costal Exploration package to get kids back to nature. (As Jenny Donovan, sector supervisor of Mendocino's state parks, puts it: "Our children are less connected to the natural world than at any other time in history. The implications of this, particularly for their physical and mental health, are immense.") This package includes accommodations, boxed lunches for a day hike, a copy of a Mendocino coast hiking guidebook, and Little River Inn canteens for each kid. The inn's restaurant has a kids' menu, a library of videos and DVDs, an Audubon Society-certified golf course, and tennis courts are among the on-site perks. Rates start at $206 per night for an ocean-view room that sleeps a family of four; two-night minimum stay.

When: Through Aug. 31, 2008.

Details: Taxes are an additional 11 percent. Find out more about local deals and outdoor activities at

Contact: 707/937-5942,

Palm Desert, Calif., Escape! Earth Day, $399
The Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort and Spa has joined forces with the city of Palm Desert to offer the Escape! Earth Day package. It covers accommodations, two 50-minute organic date scrub spa treatments, and buffet breakfast for two with an organic honey tasting at the resort's Lake View restaurant. Plus, if you turn in a used cell phone, you'll receive free admission (typically $12) to the Living Desert, a one-of-a-kind zoo and endangered species conservation center. Rates start at $399 per room per night.

When: Through April 30, 2008.

Details: Taxes are an additional 9 percent. Based on double occupancy.

Contact: 760/341-2211,

More Deals: Check out our recent coverage of 7 Family-Friendly U.S. Getaways and U.S. Volunteer Vacations, $275. And while D.C.'s Cherry Blossom Festival may be over, here are some flower and garden shows still going on this spring.

New York, N.Y., Eco-step challenge
The 70 Park Avenue Hotel in midtown Manhattan, and all other U.S. boutique Kimpton properties, have introduced eco-friendly policies such as cleaning rooms with nontoxic products, providing designer recycling bins in the rooms, utilizing low-flow plumbing and energy-efficient lighting, offering organic snacks and beverages in the minibars, and printing on recycled paper using soy-based ink. On April 22, in honor of Earth Day, 70 Park Avenue Hotel is launching a new ongoing program of offering complimentary pedometers and walking maps to guests as a way to encourage them to explore on foot — the best way to see and soak up Manhattan, anyway. The one-day event, Eco-Step Challenge, will reward guests whose pedometers register 15,000 steps or more with a copy of Greenopia's guide to New York's green locations; those reaching 30,000 steps or more, will receive a free breakfast; and the person who records the most steps of the day, will receive a complimentary overnight stay. Rates start at $289 per room per night.

When: April 22, 2008, for the challenge; other offerings are now ongoing.

Details: Taxes are an additional 13.25 percent. Based on double occupancy.

Contact: 877/707-2752,

More Eco-Conscious Hotels: We recommend Fodor's new book “Green Travel,” which reviews 120 ecolodges and environmentally friendly hotels around the world and advises people how to be more socially conscious on vacation.