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Background (2011)

We started discussing the idea for this site in April of 2011. Seth Inman was starting to plan for his summer work while Michael Muller was already looking for flights to India.  Raxa Collective had recently been chosen as a name by a group of people in Kerala that included George M. George.

As owner of two resorts pioneering sustainable tourism in the Western Ghats and in the Backwaters, for George the name Raxa Collective resonated with his company’s tangible commitments to conservation.  Raxa, derived from the sanskrit word for protector/guardian, reflected the intent; collective reflected the process.

An organization was formed, and incorporated in India, with this name.  This organization’s core purpose is entrepreneurial conservation.  Raxa Collective is a group of hospitality businesses that adhere to this purpose; and it is a group of professionals who develop and manage hospitality businesses whose profits are invested in the conservation of natural and cultural patrimony.  George M. George’s properties were the first to join Raxa Collective.

Raxa Collective is an initiative of La Paz Group, which has been engaged in this line of work since its founding in the mid-1990s in Costa Rica. Unlike previous La Paz Group initiatives, Raxa Collective offers the means by which like-minded entrepreneurial conservation efforts around the world can be linked under one umbrella name.

Michael joined Raxa Collective for a couple of months prior to his senior year at Amherst College.  He wanted to get his “hands dirty” in sustainable development.  Seth, who had worked in Kerala during the months of 2010 prior to his freshman year at Cornell University, chose Nicaragua to extend his own work experience.  In 2002 he had camped in the hills that eventually became Morgan’s Rock, and in May, 2011 the owners of that resort invited him to work there.

With Michael in Kerala and Seth in Nicaragua–they were born in the same town, and knew each other since childhood but had never worked on anything together–both quickly assessed their locations and identified topics of common interest. They wanted their summer jobs to achieve goals, not only for the resorts where they worked and not only for themselves, but somehow for a bigger purpose.  Both knew that social media would be a useful tool.

Using skype and email they had a few short discussions about what they thought was missing in the universe of websites, blogs, aggregators, and summed it up with a couple questions: where can university students find out about alternatives to the mainstream occupations and career paths most typically offered to graduates of schools like Amherst and Cornell? Specifically, where can they learn about entrepreneurial conservation?

And so the purpose of this site was established: to facilitate collaboration among those who participate in and communicate about entrepreneurial conservation projects. The objective is to highlight and explain unique private sector initiatives in developing economies; to provide creative personal accounts of exploring the cultural and natural environments where these initiatives operate, illustrated with photography, video, music and links to supporting relevant media; to inform about these efforts and encourage travel to these places to further strengthen the resorts’ commitment of resources to these initiatives.

As part of the group in Kerala that named the endeavor, Amie & Crist Inman determined the range and depth of the topics to be covered on this site; identified the sources of information and media to fulfill that coverage; and recruited contributors. The second half of 2011 was spent getting this site launched with contributions from an excellent group of interns, mostly from Cornell University, and a small network of others.

Getting Our Groove (2012-2013)

In early 2012, George M. George contracted Raxa Collective to develop and operate several new properties.  This led to the recruitment of a new group of interns, whose contributions to both operational and social media needs of Raxa Collective would be difficult to put a value on.  With a local team of Keralites approaching 200 people, and these interns from every corner of the world for several months in mid-2012, Cardamom County was transformed into a Learning Laboratory.

From exploration of Western Ghats birds, to the improved understanding of monsoon rains’ therapeutic effects, interns working with Raxa Collective employees set a standard for collaboration in 2012. Pampa Villa and Kayal Villa came into the Raxa Collective portfolio and the team of interns based at Cardamom County helped conceive how these two private villas could be integrated effectively.  They also worked on design advisory projects for Spice Harbour and Pearl Beach.  The posts that each of these interns contributed individually, and as a team, during this period became benchmarks for what we would strive for more of in the future.

Moving Forward (2014)

With Spice Harbour opening in January and Pearl Beach in March, we continue walking the tightrope between wanting to celebrate and promote, on the one side, and keeping this site commercial free on the other side.  Help keep us on track.  Continue with your ever valuable feedback in our comments section.  Thank you for visiting!

63 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2011 1:19 AM

    What a wonderful collaboration! Margie

  2. January 29, 2012 10:10 PM

    You have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award!

    http://doudoubirds.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/versatile-blogger-awards-2/

    • January 29, 2012 10:22 PM

      Thanks Dou Dou! It’s very late here in India right now…but tomorrow morning we’ll make it “official”. Cheers!

  3. February 13, 2012 1:58 PM

    You guys are amazing! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your posts and seeing your contributions to the 3 c’s around the globe, so I have nominated Raxa for the Versatile blogger award: http://6monthstolive.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/honored-humbled-part-2/ Keep up the wonderful writings and photography!

  4. Sinclair 3168 permalink
    April 12, 2012 4:40 PM

    This sounds really interesting, I’ll be tuning back in. I just got back from my first trip to India and loved it.

    • April 12, 2012 4:53 PM

      Muchisimas Gracias! Loved the “no photographs” photograph in your Kerala post. Were you on a houseboat? If not you’ll have to come back for that experience. We would love to hear how you heard about us. Cheers and come back soon!

      • Sinclair 3168 permalink
        April 12, 2012 4:59 PM

        Yes I’ll be going back for the houseboat experience and for many more experiences I hope. What a place! I saw you had ‘liked’ a post on someone’s blog, thought the name sounded intriguing and came to have a peek. Look forward to seeing future posts :)

      • April 12, 2012 5:04 PM

        Well, glad you were intrigued by both the place and our site! Let us know when you’re coming, we’d be happy to help you craft your experience! Cheers.

  5. April 17, 2012 4:14 PM

    Hello Hello! just nominated Raxa for the Sunshine Award! :) Cheers!

    • April 17, 2012 4:31 PM

      Thanks J! That’s so sweet of you! Since we’re a group of multiple contributors it’s difficult to respond to awards the way an individual would (i.e. the list of questions, etc.) but please know that we really appreciate it! Cheers!

  6. April 22, 2012 12:03 PM

    Hi Raxa Collective! Always enjoy your posts and photography. I’m completely updating my blog with a new website (in time for the new “6 Months” web show, 5.1.12) and would love to feature photography with a link to the photographer and their website. Since so many of your contributors are fantastic photographers, wanted to see if any of you were interested. You can learn more here: http://6monthstolive.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/lets-start-a-movement/ or you can email me at sixmonthstolive@gmail.com Thanks!

  7. March 15, 2013 7:32 PM

    Wishing you well in your endeavour, and may your ‘Collective’ energy spread out like the ripple effect to encourage others to look at their communities and unite together in the conservation of our Planet and to enhance self sufficiency and help more become aware how we are polluting not only our planet but ourselves in the process..
    Namaste.
    Sue

    • March 16, 2013 2:19 PM

      Thanks for your well wishes Sue, it’s great to hear from people who are on the same wavelength. Have you visited our facebook page? I try to touch on other items on that site. we’d love to see you there!

      • March 18, 2013 9:26 PM

        Many thanks, but no I am not a member on Facebook..

        While I think it has many great uses for spreading good, I feel it is also a tool for spreading much negativity within peoples personal lives and question the FB politics of those who make millions from it.

        But I do so wish you well as It is also a great place to get your message out there..

        Namaste
        Sue

      • March 18, 2013 9:44 PM

        Hi Sue, In many ways I agree with you about Facebook, but as you said, it’s a good way to get our message out.
        Cheers,
        Amie

  8. May 3, 2013 2:34 PM

    I have nominated your blog for the Super Sweet Award for bloggers. Thank you for sharing such uplifting and inspiring stories about successes in nature and conservation :)

    • May 3, 2013 3:14 PM

      Thanks jaetomk–that really is Super Sweet of you, and I’m not being ironic! We really appreciate hearing that our work is both uplifing and inspiring. Because we write as a collective it’s difficult for us to respond with the usual “5 things about me” and nominees, but please accept our heartfelt thank you for the nomination!

      • May 3, 2013 3:26 PM

        Totally understand :) look forward to reading your next collective blog posts!

      • May 3, 2013 3:30 PM

        Thanks–we roll them out daily, let us know which you enjoy!

  9. May 16, 2013 12:50 PM

    Congratulations, Raxa Collective!

    I have nominated your blog for the Best Moment Award.

    More about this nomination is at

    http://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/best-moment-award-thanks-tazein/

    • May 21, 2013 12:56 AM

      Dear Kitty, Thanks so much for the nomination–we’re honored that you chose us! Because we write as a collective it’s difficult for us to respond with the usual “5 things about me” and nominees, but please accept our heartfelt thank you for the nomination!

  10. June 26, 2013 8:44 PM

    What a beautiful and inspiring vision! I always enjoy seeing your beautiful posts on my Reader feed. More power!

  11. August 16, 2013 12:01 PM

    Hey thanks for dropping in on my blog and following me…I’ve added you to my links->friends cheers Don Charisma

  12. September 18, 2013 3:32 AM

    Very interesting, I’ll check back for all your posts. Cheers, Dan

  13. October 13, 2013 10:26 PM

    Your purpose and its accomplishment are admirable. Many interesting posts with great photos. Thank you.

  14. November 12, 2013 10:53 PM

    Great blog, thanks for liking my cheese post. I look forward to reading your many adventures.

    Laurie

  15. November 29, 2013 11:15 PM

    Hi, My friend let me know about your blog through Milo. I am a conservation biologist, educator and social entreprenuer in Peru. I would love to contribute an article that I think is a nice fit.

  16. December 11, 2013 2:10 AM

    Hi I have a question about your blog. Could you please email me when you get a chance? Thanks!!

    • December 13, 2013 7:50 AM

      Hi Sam, thanks for contacting us. We’ll be writing shortly. Cheers and stop by again soon.

  17. December 22, 2013 9:30 AM

    Hello,
    It is my honor and privilege to nominate your blog for the Awesome Blog Content Award. If you already have the award, please excuse my mistake and accept the nomination as a sincere statement of my appreciation for your excellent work.
    I posted the requirements for the award on my website: http://garryrogers.com. They are in the second post on my home page.
    Garry

    • December 22, 2013 9:39 PM

      Hi Garry, thanks so much for the nomination. Since we write as a group it’s difficult to respond to nominations the way an individual would, but that certainly doesn’t lesson our appreciation of the shout out! Cheers and happy holidays!

  18. December 23, 2013 6:25 AM

    I do understand.
    Best wishes to all for a great holiday season.

  19. January 15, 2014 12:00 PM

    Loved your blog and amazing work!!!

  20. January 18, 2014 7:47 AM

    Though I wasn’t born in Kerala, my parents are Keralites (Malayalees), and I had the privilege to live there for about 7 years (age 9-15). My daughter, aged 9, just returned from visiting her grandmother in Mallappally (in central Kerala) for the first time in her life, and is eager to go back. She was so excited about the trip that she gave a talk in her class (Grade 4) sharing photographs and souveniers that she had brought. I can understand her nostalgia. What I really want to ask, though, is: how is Raxa pronounced? Is it pronounced as Reksha/ Raksha (save/ protect) or as Raxa (as in Ax)? Just curious.

    • January 18, 2014 7:58 AM

      Hi Johnny, Great family stories, thanks for sharing!
      Our name is based on Raksha, but we’re pronouncing is RAXA as in Ax. So same meaning, different pronunciation. We thought that the “SHA” sound gave it too much of a mouthful. Plus, we love the opportunity to explain to people who we are and what we do!

  21. January 26, 2014 11:14 AM

    Awesome blog. I enjoy reading your stories about conservation and nature. It looks like I’m not the only one that’s inspired by your stories!

  22. February 20, 2014 1:47 AM

    Your blog is so awesome and inspiring! I happened to stumble upon you as I was looking for some facts /pics on kerala for an article I wanted to post on my blog(I blog about Kerala and other recipes). Your tea stall pic showed up and brought me to your blog! Keep up the terrific work on environmental protection and conservation.

    • February 20, 2014 8:27 AM

      Hi Indira, thanks so much for your comment and support–we look forward to your visits! (additionally, it’s great that you’re spreading the word about Kerala culture and cuisine in Connecticut–you keep up the good work, too!)

  23. SouthernWild permalink
    March 13, 2014 11:48 PM

    A wonderful and amazing idea!

  24. August 5, 2014 4:46 AM

    Congratulations, I have nominated your website for the Liebster Award! I wanted to thank some of the writers I have talked with on WordPress.

    The Liebster Award is used to recognize writers, and allows each nominee to nominate additional website writers/blogs. The tradition of the Award is for each each nominee to: (1) list 11 facts about their writing; (2) answer the 11 questions asked by the writer who nominated them; (3) ask 11 new questions; and (4) nominate 11 additional websites/blogs, and inform them of this and the rules; they will then answer your questions. This can be done as a Page on your website, or it could be completed in a comment box. To see the new questions I have asked, visit the Awards and FAQs Page on my website Eusociality Blog.

    • August 13, 2014 4:13 PM

      Hi Christopher, thank you so much for the nomination! Because we’re a collective of writers and not a single blogger we don’t accept Liebster or other awards. We appreciate your support!

  25. August 17, 2014 2:16 AM

    Congratulations Raxa Collective, I’ve nominated your blog for the Very Inspiring Blog Award.

    See more about this nomination at:

    http://pedroagdcalado.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/sociotechnowledge-nominated-for-the-very-inspiring-blog-award/

    Keep up with the good work on your blog :)

    Best regards,
    Pedro Calado

    • August 17, 2014 6:42 AM

      Hi Pedro, thank you so much for the nomination! Because we’re a collective of writers and not a single blogger we don’t accept these types of awards. We appreciate your support and hope you’ll continue to enjoy our site!

  26. August 27, 2014 4:29 PM

    It’s great that this organization is involved in national patrimony preservation. Congratulations.

  27. August 27, 2014 6:04 PM

    nice to meet you! your site is interesting :)

  28. September 6, 2014 5:49 PM

    Thank you for creating this blog. It’s an inspiration for me.

Trackbacks

  1. Guardians « Raxa Collective
  2. Story’s It « Raxa Collective
  3. Crowd-sourced Project Finance 101 « Raxa Collective
  4. See Sophie, Support Story « Raxa Collective
  5. Awesome Blog Content Award | Garry Rogers Conservation and Science Fiction: #EcoSciFi
  6. Documenting the Conservation Story | Raxa Collective
  7. Documenting the Conservation Story, Part 2 | Raxa Collective

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