Project

Galápagos Marine Education Programme

Species
  • Rays & Skates
Years funded
  • 2017, 2018
Status
  • Active
Project types
  • Conservation
  • Education
Description

The Galápagos archipelago is the sharkiest place in the world! This year Daniela and her team will continue their work to conserve the sharks of the Galápagos by encouraging local communities to protect these wonderful species through a marine ambassador’s education programme.

Galápagos Marine Education Programme

Daniela Vilema

Project leader
About the project leader

Since I was a kid, I have enjoyed being surrounded by nature. I always loved going to the beach, and collecting shells on the shore was one of my favourite activities. Then when I started scuba diving, I became aware of the wonderful life that exists underwater. I will never forget the first time I saw a hammerhead shark while diving in the Galápagos Islands; it was amazing to watch this shark coming closer, gently moving its strange head. That was when I realised how marvellous and special these animals are. Soon afterwards, I got involved in a project to...

PROJECT LOCATION : Galápagos
All news about this project
By Daniela Vilema, 6th March 2019
Marine Mornings start in the schools in Galapagos
Between October and December 2018, more than 1000 students from Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristobal Islands have participated in the “Marine Mornings” initiative, one of the components of our marine education project that takes place in Galapagos with the participation of the different schools.…
By Daniela Vilema, 14th February 2019
Exploring Marine Ecosystems with the Local Community
When living in an archipelago, it is common to think that all people visit the beach frequently, that they swim or that they snorkel as many of the people who visit the islands to get to know one of the most pristine places in the…
By Luis Cevallos, 4th February 2019
A gap year spent volunteering in marine education in Galapagos
Growing up in downtown Guayaquil, the biggest city in Ecuador, my days were spent surrounded by colorful buses, honking cars, and taxis screeching to a stop. I remember how I wanted the weekend to start, so I would convince my parents to go to the…
By Daniela Vilema, 13th July 2018
Celebrating World Oceans Day with a Marine World exhibition
After 18 years, an exhibition with the theme ‘Marine World’ has been re-opened in the Van Straelen Interpretation Center at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Thanks to the support of the Save Our Seas Foundation, we were able to paint the walls, design new information…
By Daniela Vilema, 16th April 2018
A New Shark Educational Exhibit in Progress in the Galapagos Islands
With more than 80,000 visitors annually, the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) is one of the most visited places by tourists in the Galapagos Islands. The Van Straelen Interpretation Center, part of the visit to our Research Station, is a space where different exhibits about…
By Daniela Vilema, 20th February 2018
Experience and fun – tools for learning about sharks in the Galápagos Islands
The first time we met our group of shark ambassadors for 2017, all the students were curious about the activities that would be part of the programme. I remember asking them why they chose this particular programme instead of another. Some admitted that they were…
By Daniela Vilema, 30th January 2018
Galápagos shark ambassadors in action!
Motivated students and the ocean around us are a perfect combination when it comes to doing conservation work. When you’re at the beach, have you ever lifted a rock to find out what is under it? Have you touched sand to discover whether there is…
Project details

Galápagos Marine Education Program

Key objective

To involve local students in a marine education program to learn about the importance of ocean conservation, mostly focused on sharks, through experiential activities.

Why is this important

Sharks suffer from a poor public image that makes their conservation somewhat difficult. However, sharks are hugely important for the Galapagos, generating millions of dollars for the tourism industry and keeping oceans healthy by maintaining populations of commercial fisheries. The aim of this project is to transmit knowledge through experience to local children who are the future of the Islands and the next agents of change. The knowledge and experience they acquire will be passed to the next generation, allowing them to understand the importance of protecting one of the last remaining, pristine places on the planet.

Background

The archipelago is an isolated place with approximately 25,000 inhabitants, based on the last census in 2015. It is a little known fact outside of the Galapagos that local communities here face social problems. A growing proportion of young people are likely to come into contact with drugs or become involved in anti-social behavior rather than learning about the unique place in which they live. Regrettably, to date there has been very little information published on this subject, or even support to tackle these issues on the Islands. However, it is clear that teachers and parents have concerns about the future of their children growing up in the Galapagos. It is vital that young people living here are given the opportunity, encouragement and motivation to learn about the pristine place they call home in order that they can develop positive and productive activities in their free time. Empowering children to feel a sense of responsibility for the place where they live, influences their interests, their way of life and through them, has an influence on their families and the wider community too.

Scientific research is often disseminated and communicated in a way that is difficult for non-experts to understand. CDF’s current educational program communicates marine research in a way that encourages the involvement and participation of the Galapagos community. This project is unique. It is the first marine education program for the Galapagos Islands which is focused on sharks. Sharks suffer from a poor public image that makes their conservation somewhat difficult. However, sharks are hugely important here, generating millions of dollars in the tourism industry and keeping oceans healthy by maintaining populations of commercial fisheries. The aim of this project is to transmit knowledge through experience to local children who are the future of the Islands and the next agents of change. The knowledge and experience they acquire will be passed to the next generation, allowing them to understand the importance of protecting one of the last remaining, pristine places on the planet.

Aims & objectives
  • Continue with a second year of the shark ambassadors program as a support for local students to complete 100 hours of compulsory volunteering time to obtain their high school degree.
  • Open the shark educational exhibition center for students, tourists and the local community to learn about sharks.
  • Invite local teachers and students to participate in CDF’s marine mornings for schools.
  • Create a monthly shark club with local students to teach them about marine life through experiential activities with monthly topics.
  • Provide Outreach support for the CDF’s shark research team.