EVERYDAY ECOTOURISM HEROES 5: TRACEY LARKIN
Every ecotourism hero has their own unique way of inspiring others, and for Tracey Larkin, owner of Mt Barney Lodge, it’s about normalising eco-behaviours.
Whether she’s giving guests an impromptu tour of the property to show them the Glossy Black Cockatoo she’s managed to attract with her 110 feed trees (planted onsite in partnership with the Glossy Black Conservancy in 2009 in an effort to help conserve this threatened species); explaining her 3-bay commercial composting bay to someone showing interest (which composts 100% of Mt Barney’s green waste) or sharing cuttings and seedlings with guests (who promise to bring their own favourite cutting in return when they next visit), Tracey is a natural at sharing her love for nature with others.
“I strive to give guests practical examples of everyday eco actions that they can learn about onsite, then implement when they get home,” she says.
This passion extends beyond her guests to also impact the local community: a couple of months ago, Tracey instigated the involvement of Mt Barney Lodge in the ShareWaste economy, a platform which brings together people who have kitchen scraps with those who have ways to compost them.
Now, on top of composting all of the lodge and campsite’s own paper waste, garden waste, weeds and horse poo, Mt Barney Lodge also composts the food waste, cardboard and paper of other businesses in the local Boonah region. And it’s bringing the community together:
“We saw an opportunity to help [Hummingbirds Pantry and Café in Boonah] to close the loop in their business practices, as well as providing a leading example that other businesses in town and the wider Scenic Rim Council area could follow… ultimately, we want to show others that you can turn waste into new soil rather than adding yet another pile to landfill.” – so Mt Barney’s news page.
As if rallying a town around joint composting wasn’t enough, Tracey’s ‘eco hero’ actions also include implementing a ‘low carbon diet’ with tourist operators in the region to decrease their carbon footprint and creating and managing the 2011 ‘Protesters on Peaks’ action in the Scenic Rim to stop the introduction of coal and coal seam gas.
She also ensured that single use soft plastic recycling was implemented in all of Mt Barney Lodge’s buildings from 2017 and launched a single-use plastic water bottle-free July for all Mt Barney Lodge guests in 2018, which saw plastic water bottle rubbish decrease by 95%.
At every juncture, Tracey welcomes the suggestions of her team, and gladly delegates specific actions to staff members according to their own strengths and talents.
“The outcome is what’s most important,” she says.
Thank you, Tracey, for all that you do for your local community and environment, and for the leadership you show to your team and everyone around you.
For more information on our other Everyday Ecotourism Heroes, check out the other articles in this series:
- Edition 1: Ronda Green, Araucaria Ecotours
- Edition 2: Zane Robnik, Park Trek
- Edition 3: Jess Leask, Kings Ningaloo Reef
- Edition 4: Zak Kelly, Whitsunday Segway Tours
Is there someone in your business who you think is an Everyday Ecotourism Hero? Tell us about them!