Serena Beach Hotel & Spa in Mombasa, Kenya is this year's winner of the coveted Eco-warrior Awards 2012. The resort was given the recognition at a ceremony held at the Nairobi Serena Hotel, one that saw several competitive entries in the Eco-tourism Enterprise of the Year - Holiday Homes and Villas category.
Serena Beach Hotel & Spa has for the past 19 years embarked on turtle and butterfly conservation as a model of sustainable tourism. The dedication towards practising sustainable tourism, as well as being crowned Eco-tourism Enterprise 2012 in the Holiday Homes and Villa category, and receiving Silver and Bronze eco-rating by Eco-tourism Kenya was well worth the effort this resort has employed over the years.
The turtle conservation in Shanzu has continued to grow tremendously since 1993. The overall objective of the scheme has been to provide a safe haven for turtle eggs, and to transfer these eggs to safety while providing incentives to the local fishermen who help in protecting them. To date, the scheme has successfully rescued over 10 000 hatchlings.
Local fishermen who participate in harvesting the turtle eggs are paid thus boosting their income and benefiting their families. The hotel also offers turtle conservation lectures to guests, done by a resident naturalist on site. The butterfly farm on the other hand has to date successfully bred 57 species of butterflies to save some of Kenya's 870 species of butterflies, 35% of which are to be found in the coastal forests.
In keeping with the continuous need to understand and protect the environment in which it operates, Serena Beach Hotel & Spa offers environmental training to both staff and the communities around in a bid to create understanding of the importance of environmental responsibility. Besides this, the onsite naturalist who is based at the resort provides training to all staff members on environmental policies and practices.
To ensure sustainability of these projects, the resort not only engages in the turtle and butterfly conservation, but has equally employed direct funding into water conservation, proper waste disposal and a monthly environmental clean-up. The resort is fitted with water meters and the amount of water being drawn from local water sources is measured daily to ensure that the water saving initiative is making a difference.
The hotel also has a desalination plant and borehole. Proper waste disposal and management is ensured by sorting waste at the source and recycling of glass and plastics. The food remains are collected by contracted local pig farmers from a nearby village, who also benefit from the compost pit as a source of manure instead of using fertilisers.
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