The Galapagos Conservation Trust offers engaging educational resources, environmental experiential opportunities, and field-based outreach sessions to empower the young people and wider community of Galapagos, enabling them to connect with nature and immerse themselves in the natural world, all with the goal of fostering stronger conservation and sustainability values.
Studies indicate that individuals who establish a childhood bond with the natural world tend to develop more robust conservation and sustainability principles, increasing the likelihood that they will become protectors of the environment in adulthood. Nonetheless, the youth in the Galapagos often encounter obstacles when it comes to engaging with the natural beauty found within the Galapagos National Park (GNP). These challenges stem from physical limitations, such as the need for boat access to certain locations, as well as financial limitations influenced by the tourism-driven pricing structure.
The Galapagos National Park (GNP) encompasses 97% of the Islands' land, leaving 3% for local communities to inhabit. In order to create more opportunities for young individuals to connect with the remarkable natural environment around them, we have established the "Connecting with Nature" program in partnership with the Charles Darwin Foundation and the GNP. Within this initiative, we offer high-quality hands-on environmental education opportunities and assist teachers and their students with captivating resources and field-based outreach sessions, all aimed at cultivating a culture of sustainable living and raising awareness about the environment.
The Galapagos Conservation Trust vision entails a unified Galapagos community marked by not just a profound awareness of conservation and sustainability concerns, but also by providing both individuals and groups with the resources and encouragement necessary to actively engage in conservation efforts and adopt sustainable lifestyles.
With the assistance of their Outreach Coordinator, Anne Guézou, situated in Santa Cruz, and the Oceans Outreach Coordinator, Leidy Apolo, based at the Galapagos Science Center (GSC), the organization facilitates the creation of these opportunities for individuals at various points in a young person's life, spanning from primary to undergraduate students. This strategy is designed to guarantee that young individuals have the chance to fully immerse themselves in the remarkable biodiversity of the islands. While the organization primarily focuses on young people, they are dedicated to extending these benefits to the broader community by actively involving families as well.
The organization offers a diverse array of regular and versatile activities designed to foster connections between young individuals and the distinctive ecosystems and wildlife within their local environment. Simultaneously, they provide educational opportunities concerning critical conservation topics. Through the provision of a wide spectrum of activities and support from an early age, the objective is to establish enduring bonds with nature while stimulating heightened interest in careers related to conservation or advanced studies in marine science, ultimately contributing to the development of in-country expertise in these fields.
Goal 1: Enhance accessibility to the Galapagos National Park and nature for Galapagos families, fostering awareness and active engagement.
Goal 2: Empower teachers to facilitate nature connections within their classrooms, promoting awareness and active engagement.
Goal 3: Offer hands-on extracurricular environmental education opportunities for young individuals to directly participate in conservation efforts, encouraging active engagement and proactive involvement.
Goal 4: Establish and promote citizen science initiatives for local residents to engage in scientific data collection and analysis.
Goal 5: Cultivate outreach practitioners in Galapagos by providing training, resource sharing, and knowledge dissemination to maximize involvement in conservation and promote sustainable behavior change.
Goal 6: Enhance communication channels between conservation stakeholders and local communities to amplify the impact of outreach projects.