Puerto Rico’s new Ritz-Carlton Reserve is teaming up with renowned environmental champion Jean-Michel Cousteau to create an environmental education and eco-adventure program using Dorado Beach as the natural classroom.The alliance aims to introduce travelers to Puerto Rico’s extraordinary natural wonders and cultural heritage at the resort.
The program will debut in December, when the highly anticipated first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the Americas opens its doors to guests.
“We are thrilled and extremely honored to partner with this extraordinary property dedicated to environmental education, ecosystem sustainability and marine conservation,” said Alejandro Helbling, general manager at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
“The launch of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program will be a significant enhancement to the guest experience at the resort and will demonstrate our longstanding commitment to our community and the environment,” he added.
Designed for adults, families, and children, participants in Ambassadors of the Environment can discover Puerto Rico’s natural wonders both on land and sea, including coral reefs, a diversity of birds, wetlands, and traditional Taíno culture through exciting and memorable adventures and activities, such as snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and exploring an archaeological site directly on property. Also featured in the program is the historic Rockefeller Trail originally conceived by Laurance Rockefeller in the 1950s to create a walkable, open-air sanctuary through the resort’s surroundings.
“Our aim is to provide guests with the opportunity to become advocates of protecting and preserving the environment for future generations by using our surroundings as a natural classroom,” Helbling said. “Dorado Beach offers the perfect backdrop for this celebrated environmental program with its fascinating Sardinera Bay, biologically diverse coral reefs, lush tropical forest environments, Taíno culture and the rich Laurance Rockefeller legacy, the pioneer of the environmental preservation philosophy still embedded in the property’s footprint.”
Cousteau is the son of legendary marine explorer Jacques Cousteau.
“As we embark on this new and exciting collaboration we will create custom-designed programs that incorporate the local community and Puerto Rico’s environmental and cultural heritage,” said Cousteau.
At the helm of the program’s development is marine biologist and environmentalist Dr. Richard Murphy of the Ocean Futures Society.
“The Ambassadors of the Environment program is designed to share the wonders of the natural environment. We will focus on how a variety of species collectively create healthy and sustainable ecosystems. With these ‘lessons from nature’ we explore how humans can create more sustainable communities for ourselves,” Murphy said.
“It is through this lens that we explore the beautiful ecosystems around Dorado Beach. This ‘total immersion’ will promote deep connections to other species and the natural world and through that immersion inspire and motivate guests and local participants to protect and conserve our natural heritage because what is good for nature is good for us,” he added.
Led by expert naturalists, the program’s epicenter is Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment Center, a 5,000 square-foot facility surrounded by living examples of Dorado Beach’s geological setting. Integrating the program’s environmentally-conscious philosophy into the building’s infrastructure, the center is designed to adhere to the highest standards of the U.S. Green Building Council, aspiring to achieve LEED Platinum Level Certification with a variety of sustainable efforts including regionally-sourced materials, renewable energy, organic and sustainable finishes and furniture, and monitoring systems to reduce the buildings overall energy usage.