Asheville Citizen-Times, December 15, 2005 (Return to Accolades)
By Robert Wyatt
MARION — A delegation of environmental educators from Russia came to the United States this month to visit “eco-friendly” tourism related properties, including the Cottages at Spring House Farm in McDowell County.
International House, a nonprofit organization in Charlotte dedicated to bringing Americans and Internationals to a better understanding of each other, coordinated the meeting between Zee Anne and Arthur Campbell, owners of Spring House, and the Russian delegation. The delegation traveled here through a program supported by the U.S. Library of Congress and the Open World Program. About 10 Russian professionals met with the Campbells, all of whom were involved in the field of ecotourism and environmental education and protection.
“We chose Spring House Farm because we felt they were not only right here in North Carolina but also were trailblazers in the ecotourism industry here in the states,” said Ludmila Van Dreel of International House.
Conservation tourism is more popular in other areas of the world, such as South America and eastern Asia, but this trend is gaining in popularity everywhere. Ecotourism seeks to provide a “get away” experience for travelers while placing an emphasis on preserving natural resources.
The Cottages at Spring House Farm was founded on being enviro-friendly.
“Our mission was always to provide a comfortable and secluded destination for our guests in a natural and unmolested setting,” said Arthur Campbell. “We constructed only five cottages on the 92 acres and are always thinking of ways to keep the land healthy, intact, yet still useful.”
Spring House Farm is an official eco-retreat, a member of the International Ecotourism Society and was the first U.S. member of Eco-Club. The Eco-Club is an international club based in Athens, Greece, that provides travelers with information on environmentally friendly lodging.
“After touring the farm and several of the cabins we then had a chance to exchange ideas and thoughts about such topics as agratourism, ecotourism and sustainable living,” Campbell said. “We also compared what we are doing here with what the Russians want to accomplish at home. What we are doing here is quite a new concept even here in America, and it has yet to take roots in Russia.”
Carol Price, director of the Tourism Development Authority of McDowell County, said the summit was about more than just being enviro-friendly.
“This program is a project that is put forth by our U.S. Congress to not only support environmental awareness but demonstrate what entrepreneurship and privately owned small business means in a democracy,” Price said about the meeting. “This was a very important group of Russian environmental scholars and civic leaders and, interestingly, all of the delegates were women. It certainly is a new Russia.”
The Cottages at Spring Creek Farm is an eco-retreat, a member of the International Ecotourism Society and the first U.S. members of Eco-Club, an international organization based in Athens, Greece, that provides travelers with information on environmentally friendly lodging throughout the world.
Read today’s Asheville Citizen-Times.