In October, Cushing Eco-Rec Resources Inc., was established and conducted business as “Cushing Lodge” (DBA) in the Municipality of Thorne (Ladysmith), Québec. The company's focus was on ecotourism, outdoor recreation and nature education. Among the attractions offered were dog sledding, snowshoeing, hiking, skiing, and skating. The facility was also recognized as having one of the longest private ice-skating tracks: 1000-meters that circled Indian Lake. The resident and wild animals surrounding the backcountry of Indian Lake allowed Cushing Lodge to be one of the first eco-tourism-based businesses in Canada. The newly established Bed & Breakfast (B&B) was in high demand to the French, German and English markets.
Cushing Lodge was the first step in becoming a recognized environmental school. Earth Studies itself did not take form until many years later. In those days, nature education was not a priority to the public sector or the National Capital Region.
In the mid 1990s, Cushing Lodge began taking steps away from being a B&B and more of an outdoor education focused business. The founders were also in the makings of developing their animal husbandry and wildlife rehabilitation programs. The construction and completion of Cushing Mews; a centre dedicated to the rehabilitation of birds of prey and conservation, helped distinguish this unique family enterprise. Cushing Mews is still one of the only birds of prey facilities in Québec caring for eagles, hawks and owls.
1998 – 2001
With a greater focus on working with educational institutions, the Cushing family and their B&B days came to a close. The Cushing’s changed their brand image and name to “Cushing Nature Retreat.” It focused more on education than tourism. On September 11th, 2001 the world and society changed, causing tourism behaviour to evolve.
2001 - Present
In the spring of 2001, the Cushing family decided the Planet required more entrepreneurs with environmental literacy and visions to change the world and secure natural places for future generations to co-exist with the Land.
To do this would require greater respect and love for animals and sacred places. Earth Studies was founded with such a mission. With an already extensive international clientele base, the family-enterprise quickly became a business offering an amazing service for young adults. The facilities soon went from accommodating married couples and families to housing students between the ages of 14 -22 years.