Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism & Sustainability
The Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism & Sustainability is a nonprofit organization founded in partnership with the City of Gulf Shores in 2018. The Center was formed in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the subsequent RESTORE Act which aims to restore and protect coastal ecosystems and economies. The City of Gulf Shores was awarded a RESTORE grant to build the Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism & Sustainability (“Eco Center”) on city property adjacent to Gulf Shores High School and Gulf State Park.
Scheduled to open Fall of 2024, the Eco Center will offer a suite of community programs including youth camps, field studies, public classes, workshops, and recreational programs. The campus will feature a farm and garden complex, art center, habitat restoration demonstrations, bicycle hub, wetland lab, event space, and challenge course. The campus will employ the latest in green building design and aims to achieve LEED Gold certification.
"The mission of the Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism and Sustainability is to promote sustainable tourism, raise environmental awareness, and encourage the stewardship of natural resources in order to increase community resilience, strengthen the coastal economy, and enhance the quality of life of the residents and visitors of the Gulf Coast Region."
Board of Directors
The Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism & Sustainability is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of community leaders representing the fields of education, conservation, land stewardship, tourism, business development, and sustainability.
President: Phillip Hinesley
Vice President: Dr. Matt Akin
Secretary: Ryan Shamburger
Treasurer: John Fitzgerald
Members: Tina Miller-Way , Blakeley Ellis, Tyler Thull
Ex-Officio: Steve Jones (City of Gulf Shores), Phillip West (City of Orange Beach), Matt Young (Gulf State Park), Beth Gendler (Gulf Shores Orange Beach Tourism), Chandra Wright (Valor Hospitality)
Past Members: Carolyn Doughty, Herb Malone, Gary Ellis, Bill Bender
Ambassadors of the Environment
The Eco Center programming has been developed in partnership with world-renowned diver and film-maker Jean-Michel Cousteau, making Gulf Shores the newest hub for Cousteau’s global Ambassadors of the Environment program. With sister programs in Hawaii, California, Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Maldives, Ambassadors of the Environment programs immerse participants in the natural world and inspire them to become leaders in their home communities.
Gulf Coast Ambassadors of the Environment programs are now being offered at the Learning Campus at Gulf State Park and in partnership with Gulf Shores City Schools and the City of Gulf Shores recreation department. To learn more, visit www.gulfcenter.org or contact Travis Langen, Executive Director for the Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism & Sustainability, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (251) 210-8721