As part of Virtuoso’s ongoing commitment to sustainable travel, we’re profiling the experts, trendsetters, and industry leaders making a difference in sustainable tourism today. Here, a conversation with Laura Turner Seydel, the co-owner of Ted Turner Reserves, a million-acre-plus reserve in the Southwestern United States.  

Laura Turner Seydel

A childhood in nature: Growing up as Ted Turner’s daughter, my childhood was filled with learning about nature. My father is a conservation champion who leads by example: We’d go for walks when I was young, and he’d teach me not to be afraid of bugs or the sounds and smells of nature in the forest. “We need to save everything,” he frequently said, and he taught me that small actions add up. He would stop to pick up litter on our walks and then explain the importance of protecting the environment.

Her father’s sustainability accomplishments: Although my father is perhaps best known as the founder of CNN, he’s especially proud of launching Captain Planet and the Planeteers, a cartoon series educating children about the importance of saving the earth, seen by millions of kids worldwide. He also established the Captain Planet Foundation to support youth environmental education and funded numerous wildlife documentaries and Jacques Cousteau films. He bought up large ranches in North America to rewild habitat, restore ecosystems, and save endangered species, such as the American bison. That led to the creation of Ted Turner Reserves, which now consist of more than 1 million acres of spectacular landscapes, ranging from snowcapped peaks to arid deserts.

Ted Turner Reserves - Costilla Lodge
The view from Costilla Lodge at Vermejo, a Ted Turner Reserves property.

Conservation in action: I’m most proud of my father’s work with a $1 billion donation to establish the United Nations Foundation, which promotes global health, nuclear disarmament, and conservation of wildlife, including critically endangered species such as the Mexican gray wolf. Visitors can see his conservation work up close at Ted Turner Reserves, which have the largest bison herds on private land in the world. I’ve just returned from three days at Vermejo, a Ted Turner Reserve located on the New Mexico-Colorado border, where you can just feel stress melt away. It’s like having your own private national park. It’s healing and rejuvenating being surrounded by such majestic natural beauty, truly a place where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play. – Interviewed By Costas Christ

Top Photo: Sean Fitzgerald/Ted Turner Reserves