Natural Bloomington guest feedback

Slide show: 'Natural Bloomington - Year 1'  - Bloomington Press Club: March 24, 2014

I had the pleasure of sharing the Natural Bloomington journey with the Bloomington Press Club via a slide show presenation in the Coronation Room in the Indiana Memorial Union on March 24, 2014. The club president sent the following thank-you note and granted permission to post it here.
"Dear Steve: ... Thank you for sharing your time, talents and innovations with 21 members of the Bloomington Press Club. I know I speak for many in the group in letting you know what a neat project you’ve developed with Natural Bloomington Ecotours. We enjoyed what you had to say, and also were appreciative of the excellent photos that illustrated what you’re doing. All the best as you continue with that project."
Jack Dvorak
President, Bloomington Press Club

Follow the Watershed Ecotour - SPEA students: March 21, 2014

Seven guests that included graduate students in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs and their families  joined Natural Bloomington for our first ecotour of 2014. We followed the Lake Monroe watershed from the upper reaches of the North Fork of the Salt Creek to the lake and upland forests that surround and drain it. Three provided feedback on their experiences.
  • Kyle Clark-Sutton: "Thank you again for taking the time to go hiking with us. You have quite a collection of history about the local natural spaces and conservation areas, which was really interesting. I especially loved the story about the bald eagle restoration."
  • Amara Cuenca on Facebook: "A wonderful tour with friends visiting part of Indiana's natural heritage. Thanks to Steven Higgs of Natural Bloomington Ecotours for showing us all these quaint places and telling us about the interesting local history." 
  • Kate Drake returned a questionnaire with a 1.1 average on 4-point scale, with 1=Strongly Agree and 4=Strongly Disagree, on the following statements: 1/ I enjoyed the experience. 2/ I learned a lot from the experience. 3/ The tour was what I expected. 4/ The tour was the right length. 5/ The destinations we visited were beautiful. 6/ This tour enhanced my love of nature. 7/ I will tell my friends about Natural Bloomington.

Slide show: 'Natural Bloomington - Year 1' - IU Ecotourism Class: March 12, 2014

Ye Zhang, a doctoral candidate and adjunct lecturer at IU's Department of Recreation, Park, & Tourism Studies, invited me to give a talk and slide show to her ecotourism class on March 12, 2014 in the School of Public Health. In an email, she wrote:
  • "Thank you so much for joining us today and the inspiring speech. My students all loved it, and some even wrote to me and spoke about their love for the lecture. It was also a very informative conversation with you at the cafe. I hope we can keep a regular contact with each other in the future as well, maybe finding more chances to collaborate with each other."

Roads Less Traveled Fall Color Ecotour - Endwright Center: October 18, 2013

Seven guests from the Endwright Center in Ellettsville joined Natural Bloomington for our first Roads Less Traveled Fall Color Ecotour through the back roads of Eastern Monroe and Western Brown Counties. Destinations included the Stillwater Marsh Wildlife Viewing Area, T.C. Steel State Historic Site, Crooked Creek State Recreation Area and Yellowwood Lake and State Forest. Afterward, four guests filled out anonymous questionnaires for the Endwright Center.

Fall Colors Eco Tour Participant Survey

What did you most enjoy about today’s Eco-Tour?

  • Pleasant People – Great Speaker – Well Organized Trip – Nice Thoughtful Lunch Box – Upbeat/Great Info to make the countryside familiar
  • Enjoyable people on the tour. The guide was knowledgeable. A most pleasant afternoon.
  • Friendly People – Nice Bus driver too!
  • Bus ride – I drive to Nashville 2-3 times/month; but on the bus I could look around. Nice to have someone tell me what I am looking at.

How could we improve the Tour?

  • Seemed it was organized and pleasant for all
  • Keep doing the same thing!
  • More info per stop, less stops – maybe 1 too many for this group
  • More people

Was your Guide knowledgeable, professional, and responsive to your questions?

  • On the top of his game – should build a great tour system – needed to have new people learn and we who have been informed
  • Yes – Excellent
  • Yes, he was fantastic, responsive to questions.
  • The guide was just perfect

Was the cost of the tour a good value for your investment/time? *

  • Yes, Very Good
  • Yes   
  • Yes   
  • Very inexpensive

Any other comments/questions/concerns about today’s tour?

  • Lunch was great!
  • Need more trips

* Endwright guests paid $25 for the ecotour, with the Area 10 Agency on Aging's Rural Transit providing transportation and Garden Villa providing complimentary lunches.

Natural Bloomington Slide Show - IU Ecotourism class - Oct. 8, 2013 

At the invitation of professor Alison Voight, I made a presentation and slide show to an ecotourism class at the IU School of Public Health on Oct. 8. What follows is an excerpt from a thank you letter she wrote.

  • "I wanted to extend my appreciation to you, for your presentation to the Recreation Ecotourism class earlier this semester. You provided the students with some very thought provoking, as well as valuable ideas regarding ecotourism and developing one’s own business in this area. It can be done! In addition, it was very enlightening for the students to see all the ecotourism possibilities in the Bloomington area, and Monroe County. I’m sure most of them had not considered it prior to your slide show. Your presentation was timely and corresponded well with the issues we were discussing in class. Based on the many questions asked by the students, it was well received, and will be helpful in their class projects."

Full Circle Ecotour: June 8, 2013

Four Chinese students were Natural Bloomington guests for a Full Circle Ecotour, which included stops at Morgan-Monroe State Forest, Leonard Springs Nature Park, Lake Monroe, the Hoosier National Forest and North Fork Wildlife Resting Area. 

After the 6-hour journey, they filled out anonymous questionnaires about their experiences. The results are based on a scale of 1-4, with 1=Strongly Agree and 4=Strongly Disagree.

  • I learned a lot from the experience. - 1.25
  • The destinations we visited were beautiful. - 1.25
  • The tour enhanced my love of nature. - 1.25
  • I will tell my friends about Natural Bloomington. - 1.25
  • I enjoyed the experience. - 1.5

Custom ecotour: May 5, 2013

Mengwei Qin and Jingyi Zhang, IU students from China, were guests on the first Natural Bloomington Ecotour. Afterward, they wrote the following testimonials.

Mengwei: “For me, it was a great experience to get close enough to the beautiful nature of Bloomington. We spent some time visiting the Lake Monroe dam and climbing the fire tower in the Hoosier National Forest. This was the first time I got the chance to look down at the entire forest; the fog surrounded us, which was fascinating.

“I also loved walking in the woods. Nowadays, we spent most of time facing the computer and breathing the polluted air; it is valuable for us to get in touch with the nature and breathe the fresh air. The entire tour was spiritual and relaxing. I feel like it is a perfect way to get out of the normal school life in order to enjoy the beauty of green.”


Jingyi: "The best way to know an unfamiliar place is to get into it. You might not know why you are there, but when you get into it and feel it, you'll understand. It's not only a tour, but a process of finding yourself. Walking into the forest, finding some place to have a rest, and then look up to sky, you'll feel the hug from nature. That's the way it should be."



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