Tofino Botanical Gardens developed the Ecolodge in order to offer visitors to Tofino the kind of accommodation they would expect in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a place for learning and education. Thus, we welcome teachers, students and individuals of all walks of life and provide access to the gardens with each stay in one of our rooms. Educational opportunities abound for all ages on the property, and we can help arrange visits for a variety of groups sizes and interests.
We strive to improve our performance each year in four major areas: energy efficiency, protecting the natural environment, conservation of natural resources, and support of our local community. All of this, of course is in the context of providing our guests with a very comfortable and convivial experience.
Energy efficiency begins with our building which is thoroughly insulated, has double glazed windows and uses individual thermostats for each room. Most lighting is by way of compact fluorescent lamps. Our electricity comes from hydroelectric projects throughout BC, but most recently from a Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations micro-hydro project located on Canoe Creek about thirty miles from Tofino. Lighting and tool battery recharging in our tool shed is powered by a solar panel. We lodge has no TVs, to reduce energy use, but has an excellent library and several common areas for activities.
Protection of the environment begins in the garden which is thoroughly organic. We have never used chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. All kitchen waste is composted in bins that are part of our public education programs. Herbs and greens from the garden are available for guests to use in the kitchen and are used in our own Darwin’s Café. Native plants comprise more than ninety eight percent of the biomass on our twelve acre property.
All cleaning supplies in the lodge are non-toxic and biodegradable. We have policies against the use of plastic cutlery and bottled water. We encourage sensible use of linens and towels. Recycling is a participatory activity at the lodge. The property is located midway between the village of Tofino and Chesterman’s Beach, about a thirty minute walk either way.
Our water conservation program includes dual flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and the use of rainwater for gardening and other outdoor uses.
Tofino Botanical Gardens is a local organization and has been involved in the community since its founding in 1997. George Patterson, who created the gardens was a co-founder in 1991 of the Clayoquot Biosphere Project and has been involved in efforts to encourage research and educational activities in the area for more that twenty years. Patterson served as a director of the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust for the first five years of the CBT’s existence.
Tofino Botanical Gardens is actively involved in several initiatives addressing indigenous peoples’ governance and economic development. We are an active supporter of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations Tribal Park initiative. In May of 2010 we co-hosted the 12th Biennial Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology – an organization devoted to the conservation of bio-cultural diversity. More than 350 participants from 55 different countries attended the week long event.
The Ecolodge’s history as The Clayoquot Field Station for research and education programs demonstrates its commitment to increasing knowledge and understanding of the area. We continue to host study groups, conversations and retreats on a broad range of subjects. Philosopher’s Retreats, Sustainability Camps, yoga workshops, Master Gardening courses – the central theme coming out of all these diverse topics and activities: “How do we live in a place without diminishing it?”