We provide engaging educational resources, environmental experiential opportunities and field-based outreach sessions to enable the young people and wider community of Galapagos to connect with nature and experience the natural world around them, with the aim of fostering stronger conservation and sustainability values.
Research shows that people who connect with nature as children develop stronger conservation and sustainability values and are more likely to protect nature when they grow up. However, young people in Galapagos can face barriers to accessing nature within the Galapagos National Park (GNP) due to both physical barriers (e.g. some sites only being accessible by boat) and financial constraints (prices are driven by tourism).
The GNP covers 97% of the Islands’ land area, and local communities live on the remaining 3%. To ensure more young people have opportunities to experience the incredible nature surrounding them, we have developed our Connecting with Nature programme in collaboration with the Charles Darwin Foundation and the GNP. Through this programme, we provide quality experiential environmental education opportunities and support teachers and their classes with engaging resources and outreach sessions in the field, with the aim of fostering a culture of sustainable living and environmental awareness.
Our vision is one of a connected Galapagos community where there is not only a high awareness of conservation and sustainability issues, but where individuals and groups have the opportunities and support they need to take proactive steps to get involved with conservation action and sustainable living.
How we’re tackling it
Through our Santa Cruz-based Outreach Coordinator, Anne Guézou, and our San Cristobal-based Oceans Outreach Coordinator, Leidy Apolo, at the Galapagos Science Center (GSC), we are able to create these opportunities at different stages throughout a young person’s life (from primary to undergraduate students) to ensure they can experience their islands’ incredible biodiversity. Although our primary target audience is young people, we aim to bring wider community benefits by engaging families too.
We provide frequent and varied activities to connect young people with the unique ecosystems and wildlife on their doorstep, whilst providing education opportunities on key conservation issues. By offering a range of activities and support from an early age, we aim to solidify long-lasting connections to nature, whilst encouraging greater interest in conservation careers or higher education courses in marine science, ultimately building in-country capacity in these areas.
Goal 1: To improve accessibility to nature and the Galapagos National Park for Galapagos families. (AWARE & ENGAGED)
Goal 2: To support teachers to enable their classes to connect with nature. (AWARE & ENGAGED)
Goal 3: To provide hands-on extracurricular environmental education opportunities for young people to engage directly with conserving their environment. (ENGAGED & PRO-ACTIVE)
Goal 4: To develop and promote citizen science projects for local people to get involved in scientific data collection and analysis.
Goal 5: To develop outreach practitioners in Galapagos by supporting training and the sharing of resources and learnings to maximise engagement with conservation and behaviour change for sustainability.
Goal 6: To improve communication channels between conservation stakeholders and local communities to increase the impact of outreach projects.
An interview with marine biologist Dr Joanna Alfaro
An interview with marine biologist Alice Skehel
Alberto the Waved Albatross: Meet the author
Connecting with Nature webinar 2021
Through a series of short videos and talks, the webinar explored how we engage children and teenagers throughout their education, and how we encourage them to protect the Islands.
How you can help
With your help, we can safeguard the future of these Enchanted Isles.
Urban Family Gardening
"During the COVID-19 pandemic families in Galapagos faced financial hardship due to the sudden halt in tourism."
By encouraging and supporting local people as they learn to grow their own food so they can become self-sufficient, we can help mitigate some of the financial hardship the Galapagos community faces.
"We believe that today’s school students are tomorrow’s conservation ambassadors and the future stewards of our planet."
The Discovering Galapagos educational programme aims to engage and educate today’s children in the UK and in Ecuador through our bilingual websites and learning resources.