Sustainability & Wellness in Door County

by Grace Johnson, Celebrate Water Administrative Coordinator

On February 5 I attended the free Sustainability/Wellness in Tourism/Hospitality Workshop (SWW) being held at Crossroads at Big Creek. It was a collaborative program put together from the ideas of Celebrate Water Door County and Crossroads at Big Creek, with the support of the Door County Visitor Bureau. The SWW was presented by Amber Beard, who has had years of experience in the tourism and hospitality fields, with a focus in sustainability and wellness.

While a three-hour workshop might seem daunting, I could have sat there all day and listened and learned more about sustainability and wellness, and how that can be translated into our community. It would be difficult to sum up the entire contents of her presentation, so instead, here are the three main takeaways I had after the SWW.

  1. It is possible. It is possible for Door County to become a sustainable and wellness based place, not just for tourists, but for the local population as well. While this might seem like an odd takeaway, during the presentation I was reminded of all of the good things already happening in our county. However, it takes more than pretty pictures and hashtags to actually live life with sustainability and wellness as a focus. We have a lot to work with, it’s just a matter of reworking how we perceive and understand these ideas, to really embody the county’s slogan, “Live Life Well.”
  2. Sustainability isn’t about getting everything done at once. It is about setting small goals that help drive you towards something bigger – your long-term goal. One thing that Amber emphasized is the importance of celebrating your small successes. Don’t get bogged down if you can’t get everything done at once. That just makes sustainability seem unattainable. So one year set your goal to reduce your energy intake by 2% and the next year reduce the amount of waste you produce. You can tailor your ‘journey to sustainability’ to your needs and abilities. One size does not fit all.
  3. Wellness is not just for the elite. While Amber did use a lot of luxury spas and resorts in her examples of wellness, it was only because that has been her previous work experiences. One thing she made to point out though was that these ideas are not just doable with top dollar spending. These are all things that are achievable in the county, at all levels, as well. Wellness means “the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.” Wellness travel has increased over the years as people look for ways to bring balance back into their lives. Wellness means different things to different people. Taking a kayak tour of Cave Point, hiking the trails of Peninsula State Park, enjoying a treatment at a spa, dining out at a restaurant that utilizes local produce – these are all examples of what could be somebody’s idea of wellness. It’s all about how you talk about and market it.

During the SWW, Amber covered everything a person would need to know to start a sustainability/wellness journey. Another presentation is in the works for April, and she will also be at our June Summit, presenting on these topics. If you were not able to attend, I encourage you to check her out and learn why travelers are seeking places that focus on these two important topics.

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