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The Puntacana Ecological Foundation, with the support of Grupo Puntacana which owns several businesses in the region, is combining development and environmental protection in unique programs to encourage sustainable development throughout the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean.
The Ecological Foundation was formed in 1988, formally incorporated in 1994, and is now led by Director Jake Kheel. Its mission is “to protect and restore the natural resources of the Punta Cana region while contributing to the sustainable development of the Dominican Republic."
The Foundation has created a climate of cooperation by linking economic development, environmental protection and community involvement. This strategy has allowed Punta Cana to develop while also establishing safeguards for its future – developing in harmony with the regional ecology.
The Ecological Foundation owns and operates the Puntacana Center for Sustainability and Biodiversity. There, researchers and scholars from universities in the United States, Europe and Latin America, including Harvard, Columbia University, Cornell University, University of Miami, Virginia Tech, and Leiden University, conduct research and educational programs related to sustainable tourism.
Through alliances with Reef Check, the Rosenstiel School of Marine Science at the University of Miami, the Secretary of Coastal Environments of the Dominican Republic and other ecological institutions, the Foundation seeks to protect and restore the coastal resources of the Punta Cana region. Its programs include monitoring of reef health and water quality, restoration of coastal habitats such as mangroves, improvements in the management of the golf courses, and stabilization of beaches.
On land, the Center recently initiated a mapping project of Veron, the rapidly growing community where many employees of the Puntacana Resort & Club live. With the help of researchers from Virginia Tech, the Center conducted a housing census to evaluate the conditions of the residents in the community and created a plan for the continued growth of Veron. The results have been integrated into a Geographic Information System and will be used to plan development that is both economically sound and environmentally friendly.
To learn more, please visit www.puntacana.org.
The development of Puntacana Resort & Club dates back to 1971 when Dominican businessman and hotelier Frank R. Rainieri and Theodore W. Kheel, the prominent New York attorney and labor mediator, created a partnership to construct a resort and real estate community that respects the natural habitat of Punta Cana while offering a world-class vacation experience. Maintaining a dedication to sustainable tourism, Puntacana Resort & Club has since grown to encompass over 26 square miles and now includes Tortuga Bay, Six Senses Spa, the Puntacana Ecological Foundation, three residential communities (Corales, Hacienda and Arrecife), a full service marina, seven restaurants, a shopping village, a P.B. Dye-designed golf course, and Punta Cana International Airport, a modern facility that incorporates innovative and eco-friendly design. In 1997, Julio Iglesias and Oscar de la Renta joined the Group as co-investors and have made Puntacana Resort & Club their home. Currently, Punta Cana is the most highly visited Caribbean destination and is easily accessible from all over the globe.
The Puntacana Ecological Foundation (PCEF) is a non-profit foundation established in 1994 by the Grupo Puntacana to protect and restore the natural resources of the Punta Cana region and contribute to the sustainable development of the country. The Foundation is endowed with a 1,500-acre ecological park and reserve, filled with an array of local flora and fauna, experimental gardens, and a petting zoo. The Puntacana Ecological Foundation works directly with the Puntacana Resort & Club and numerous partners and researchers from around the world (such as researchers from Harvard, Columbia and Cornell Universities) to protect and contribute to the rational use of natural resources and respect for nature as a model for the sustainable development of destinations. Major projects include providing education and health care to the local community as well as protecting and conserving the area’s coral reefs.
For further resort information and reservations, please call 888 442 2262 or or visit Puntacana.com