Projects manager Jen Jones writes about her month spent in Galapagos, overseeing GCT’s varied projects.
As projects manager for Galapagos Conservation Trust I visit the Galapagos Islands, on average, once a year. I started working at GCT in 2011 and am honoured to have been part of the team through an exciting period of development as we look to grow our impact in our programme areas of ‘Science & Conservation’ and ‘Education & Sustainability’ working with a great network of partners.
My trips are always full of exciting workshops and meetings, as well as spotting sneezing marine iguanas lazing in the sand and catching glimpses of flying fish skimming the waves while on the ferry between islands. Every trip, I visit the projects that GCT is funding to monitor progress, discuss future plans with our delivery partners, and to scope out potential new projects and partnerships that would support us to achieve our strategic objectives.
It is not always easy working to help a place so far away but when you can really see the impacts of the projects that are happening thanks to GCT’s supporters, it makes it all worthwhile. Here are some highlights from my trip!
Science Teacher Training Workshop with international experts
Education is an essential element of conservation and workshops are a great way to help provide quality education for 7,500 students in Galapagos. Working with many partners, including Ecuador’s Ministry of Education, this programme, led by Galapagos Conservancy, is in its second year of five. It was wonderful to attend a workshop for science teachers that focussed on participatory learning methods to promote innovation and critical thinking in student. The teachers enjoyed the workshops delivered by experts from Ecuador and the United States, and told me they loved the opportunity to meet up twice a year to share ideas and experiences. Next year, GCT will be working with partners to deliver an Environmental Education and Sustainability training course featuring our Discovering Galapagos resources – stay tuned for updates!
An inspirational youth group working to reduce disposable plastic use
GECO is a group working on San Cristobal island to empower local youth to make a positive difference to their community. I had the great opportunity to see a performance of their ‘Plastic Awareness’ drama piece that they have created to engage with local people on the issue of plastic pollution. With a focus on reducing plastic bag use, they are working on ideas for campaigns in shops, tourist areas and their schools with a goal to reduce plastic bag use by 50% in the next year.
Farms in Floreana
The Floreana Restoration Programme is one of our identified flagship programmes for the next three years. Working with Island Conservation and other partners, we are supporting the ambitious, world-leading project to restore Floreana island – eradicating introduced rats and feral cats to enable the recovery of threatened native species such as the critically endangered medium tree finch. A major part of this programme is community engagement and visiting the different types of farms on the island was a highlight as I learned about sustainability measures and what a huge difference this programme will make to the farming community.
If you would like to visit Galapagos…
Enter GCT’s raffle before 23 October for only £2 a ticket! This year, the winner will receive an amazing prize: a five day cruise in Galapagos offered by our partners Metropolitan Touring along with flights for two people! Buy your tickets now to be in with a chance of swimming with sea lions in a few short months, whilst supporting Galapagos conservation (all proceeds will help us with our work towards a sustainable future for the Archipelago). If you are not lucky enough to win this great prize, why not join GCT on a special conservation cruise next May where you will benefit from meeting experts as well as experiencing the most amazing nature that the Islands have to offer.
If you are interested in finding out more about any of these projects, please get in touch