Ecotourism, a fast growing global trend is responsible travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas of the world. These natural and disrupted wonders strive to be low impact to leave very little carbon footprint on the earth so they can be enjoyed for generations to come. In honor of Earth Day, inspire awareness and conscientiousness in our beautiful world, consider paying homage at one of these places of environmental responsibility.

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - Fairbanks, Alaska

One of the last truly wild places on earth, this 19.2 million acre reserve in Fairbanks is home to polar bears, herds of caribou, grizzlies, wolves, marine mammals, and migratory birds. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was established to preserve unique wildlife and ensure water quality and quantity.

Photo Credit: Leonora Enking

The Rainforests of the Atsinanana - Madagascar

This collection of six national parks along the eastern side of Madagascar was named a joint UNSECO world heritage site in 2007. The parks are home to some of the rarest and most diverse flora and fauna in the world such as lemurs and primate and these relict forests are critically important for maintaining ongoing ecological processes necessary for the survival of Madagascar's unique biodiversity, which reflects the island's geological history.

Photo Credit: Island Home

Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage - Australia

One of the largest areas of temperate wilderness climate, this tract of lush land in the south of Tasmania includes Southwest, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers, and Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair national parks. Forest, scrub, moorland, rainforests, and dramatic coastal scenery home to Tasmanian devils, quolls, parrots, salamanders, and many other rare and endemic species.

Photo Credit: Anita Ritenour

Serengeti National Park - Tanzania

Two world heritage sites and a biosphere reserve are found within this system of parks that hold the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, and the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas of Serengeti National Park. The oldest ecosystem on earth, millions of wildebeests and 200,000 zebras migrate here each year. It has been called the greatest and most varied collection of terrestrial wildlife on earth, and one of the last great migratory systems still intact.

Photo Credit: Aftab Uzzaman

Galapagos Islands - Ecuador

Home to more endemic species than anywhere else in the world, the Galapagos is an ecotourism hotspot in danger from too many visitors. A biological marine reserve, the islands were made famous by Charles Darwin's study of evolution by natural selection and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. A place of special cultural and physical significance with species of iguanas, turtles and tortoises found nowhere else on the planet, it's one of the most unique ecosystem environments that require a commitment from all travelers to ensure it's thriving for generations to come.