Kiawah Island Golf Resort – An Eco-Friendly Vacation Choice
Picture yourself at a lush island resort. The melodic call of sea birds and the sound of breaking waves beckon to you. Nature’s splendor surrounds you in all directions. Three bountiful meals await you at your choice of 12 dining venues. Your hotel room features luxurious furniture and every amenity you could ask for. The golf course is minutes from your door. If this sounds like an idyllic vacation spot, it is; South Carolina’s Kiawah Island Golf Resort is all this and more.
When I received a press release about Kiawah Island Golf Resort, I have to admit, I was reluctant to write about what appears to be a pricey destination that uses an inordinate amount of resources. It just didn’t seem to be in line with the mission of Blue Planet Green Living. But the more I read about the resort’s environmental policies, the more interested I became.
As a person who has spent plenty of time at conferences, sales meetings, and conventions, I’ve stayed at my share of resorts and hotels. I’ve watched as items that have barely been used are carted off to the dumpster with no regard for the environment. I’ve seen waste on a scale that makes me blush with embarrassment, knowing I was part of the problem. So, no, I wasn’t interested in promoting a resort on our site.
But then I read the press release. I found that Kiawah Island Golf Resort does more than just pay lip service to environmentalism. What follows is some of what I’ve learned by reading through the materials provided on the Kiawah Goes Green portion of the resort’s website. If you like what you see here, consider booking your next vacation or event — or even your wedding — at this eco-friendly venue.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort recently earned a 2 Green Eco-Leaf Rating (“Good”) from I Stay Green, which describes itself as the “online social network of environmentally friendly travel.” The resort was evaluated after completing a comprehensive, 70-point self assessment. Conservation measures include: energy-efficient lighting; energy sensors; optional reuse of bedsheets for multiple-night stays; water conservation practices; low water consumption in landscaping; recycling in guestrooms and on the property; paper products made from recycled materials; and more.
But the travel industry isn’t the only group that’s interested in the resort. Audubon International has certified the hotel grounds and the five golf courses as Cooperative Sanctuaries. “To achieve the Audubon Sanctuary Certification, our golf courses and The Sanctuary [Hotel] demonstrated a high degree of environmental quality in a variety of categories, including Environmental Planning, Wildlife Habitat Management, Resource Conservation, Waste Management and Outreach and Education,” according to the company’s website. Following are a few examples of environmentally friendly choices made by the resort and the town.
Oyster lovers who eat at any of the restaurants on the property — or who attend an oyster bake — are asked to recycle their Oyster shells. Why is this notable? Here’s how it’s explained on the resort’s website:
In the summer, adult oysters release millions of fertilized eggs. During their development, larvae (young, free-swimming oysters) may travel great distances. When development is complete, young oysters must attach to a hard substrate, ideally another oyster shell. If no suitable substrate exists, the oyster dies. South Carolina has a critical shortage of oyster shells. To properly manage the state’s oyster beds and maintain these important oyster habitats, we must continually replace the oyster shells that are removed from the state’s oyster beds.
The entire island says “lights out” to streetlights (there are none) to avoid confusing sea turtles that nest on the beaches.
The resort offers several reverse-osmosis, water-refill stations on the property for guests who bring — or buy — reusable water bottles.
Classroom nature programs offer guests and their children the opportunity to learn about local snakes, turtles, alligators, and other wildlife. The Nature Center provides information about recent wildlife sightings as well as instruction about how to respect the animals and preserve their habitats.
Anyone who fishes is encouraged to recycle their fishing lines in special collection tubes placed at popular fishing spots and at the resort’s Nature Center.
The tennis center provides a reuse/recycling program for worn tennis nets and balls. Schools and nursing homes are the beneficiaries of much of the old netting and balls. Even guests dogs get in on the fun, when they receive old tennis balls for playing catch. Some 16,200 balls are recycled in a year from the resort’s guests.
With all of the information I read about eco-friendly policies on the resort’s website, I am tempted to visit this family friendly venue. But a look at their booking calendar makes it clear that 2010 is pretty well filled. If I’m going to go, it had better be this year. Perhaps you, too, are interested in a visit to Kiawah Island Golf Resort; 2009 might just be the year for your island eco-vacation. If you do get the opportunity to visit Kiawah Island — or if you take any other eco-friendly vacation, please write and let us know what you think.
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