Internship in Rural Community-Based Tourism (ADISL)

Authored by:
Vanessa Correa

Vanessa Correa

Written by Morgan Oliva (University of Colorado Boulder), Internship in Sustainability and the Environment

For my internship, I worked to help the San Luis Community Organization improve tourism at the local field station. This association was formed to better organize and uplift the San Luis community back in 1976.
Upon hearing about the internship for the first time I was excited to help develop ways to improve the field station of San Luis. After picking this internship I was challenged by the association to construct multiple products such as social media posts, a map of the area, and a proposal for proper signage of the station. I was also joined by another classmate who also chose the same internship as me. We both worked on the main products together and then each came up with our own additional product.

Me and my partner Sarah. Photo: Orlando Calvo

The additional product that I came up with was to construct a diagram explaining the benefits of small scale hydropower systems, which currently power the field station. The small hydropower system at the station uses the flow of water from a nearby river to transform it into electrical energy. This makes the station energy independent and being able to create a medium to explain this can better educate that implementation of small scale renewable energy sources can be vastly beneficial. If approved by the Association the diagram will be printed and posted at the field station for all to see.

Hydropower diagram

I am also proud of the map that my classmate and I constructed. The online map is intended to show those that stay at the station points of interest, trails, and places to eat or visit. The goal of this map is to incentivize local consumption of products, which reduce overall emissions that go into the production. Each reference point on the map gives distance and approximate walking time to each place in regards to the station. I am super proud to have been able to construct a map that will be used by tourists to better orient themselves with the community that surrounds the station.

My interest regarding this internship includes the curiosity I have for rural tourism and my curiosity for better environmental education to those that know nothing about it. Therefore my time spent working for the community has helped me to better understand the inner workings of rural tourism and how crucial it is to have local community associations. I have learned that together communities are strong and can accomplish goals to create a more sustainable living and to progress community programs.

Meeting San Luis community. Photo: Orlando Calvo

By providing more information about the field station and educating visitors more about how it's powered opens the door for tourists to see that living more sustainably isn’t difficult. This also promotes more tourism to the area as a tourist can gain better insight ahead of time about the community of San Luis and its value to the surrounding environment. I am hopeful that the work I have done for this internship will help to boost rural tourism to the San Luis area.

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