ATA Staff Out in the Community


Tourism Cares Event in Gettysburg, PA

Tourism Cares Event in Gettysburg, PA

Times are tight, and our business is asking us to do more with less. Being smart with every penny is the message of the day, both at home and at the office.  When stress is high, where do we turn to for a much needed break?

Despite the gloomy economic news, Academic Travel Abroad’s staff has found ways to kick back while giving back, and creating the “feel good” sensation along the way. 

Within the last few weeks, ATA staff has participated in several exciting community activities that provide a much-needed break in these demanding times. 

On April 17th, several staff members participated with Tourism Cares in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to help renovate and clean up historic Spangler Farm. Used as a Union field hospital, it is the location where General Lewis Addison Armistead died after being mortally wounded in Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg. ATA staff joined 300 other volunteers in clearing out underbrush on the fields and removing invasive, tangled vines across the property. As day’s end, everyone departed with a sense of community and sharing. 

On April 22nd, Earth Day, several more members of the ATA staff joined the Nature Conservancy on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail for some trail clean-up.  They spent the afternoon clearing out more of the invasive vines that harm the ecosystem of woodland areas. With a little sweat and determination, they made a “green” dent in a small section of the trail.

Just yesterday, several more of our staff ventured out in the afternoon for a special tour of the National Gallery of Arts Dutch Cityscapes of the Golden Age led by Eric Denker, Senior Lecturer at the museum, and ATA’s Venice study leader.  The paintings were magnificent and rave reviews came back regarding Eric’s insight and knowledge of the artwork.

Participating in community events, volunteering time, and simply enjoying some of the amazing local museums – whether individually or with staff members – can be a terrific way to recharge our batteries!

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Academic Travel Abroad Leadership Attends Tourism Cares Event Honoring Bill Marriott

Kate Simpson, David Parry, Amy Kotkin and Chase Poffenberger

From left to right: Kate Simpson, David Parry, Amy Kotkin of Smithsonian Journeys and Chase Poffenberger

Last week, ATA staff members David Parry, Kate Simpson, Chase Poffenberger, Whitney Kulesz and Sandy Bremer attended the Tourism Cares gala dinner celebrating Bill Marriott’s induction into the Tourism Hall of Fame. The Tourism  Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who, among other business accomplishments, have made significant personal contributions to travel and tourism through philanthropic, volunteer, and mentoring activities. Mr. Marriott exemplifies all of those attributes and more, and has been a generous supporter of Tourism Cares since its founding in 2003, as the tourism industry sought to rebuild itself after the devastating events of September 11, 2001. Bill Marriott donated hundreds of hotel rooms in Manhattan to house the first group of volunteers who descended on New York to clean up Ellis Island in the spring of 2003.

It was a chance to touch base with colleagues in the tourism industry who flew in from all parts of the country. We mingled with tourism professionals who represent organizations as diverse as tour operators, non-profits offering tours as a benefit of membership, tourism architects and planners, World Bank analysts, airlines, tourist boards, hotel companies, and research firms.

ATA is looking forward to volunteering with the 2009 Tourism Cares for America project at the historic Spangler Farm in Gettsyburg, PA. Spangler Farm was used as a field hospital for thousands of wounded soldiers during the Civil War’s Battle of Gettysburg. Today, the property is one of the last field hospitals kept intact as it was in 1863. We will be painting, replacing fencing, demolishing modern structures, clearing brush, repairing the outbuildings, and much more!

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