Ecoventura helps to instill the importance of conservation for the next generation by providing support to various projects of Ecology Project International (EPI), a non-profit NGO based in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. EPI provides a unique opportunity for youth and the local community in Galapagos to participate in local conservation efforts. By raising awareness and educating the community about conservation in Galapagos, the environmental challenges, local youth take action and develop as conservation leaders to help facilitate positive change in the world and in their community.
Since 2003, over 2500 Galapagos students have been trained to develop critical thinking skills and a conservation ethic during a 4-10 day Wildlife Ecology Course that engages both US and Galapagueno students in an inquiry-based, field science curriculum and in volunteer service on an authentic conservation and research program focused on the iconic Galapagos giant tortoise. Participants complete more than 25 hours of research in the company of Galapagos National Park rangers as well as 60+hours of coursework, exploring the natural features of these unique islands where evolution is witnessed first hand. In 2015, the total number of student participants was 428 from nine local schools.
EPI also provides a unique opportunity for youth and the local community in Galapagos to participate in local conservation efforts through their Alumni programs and community outreach by establishing the Mola Mola Eco-club, with 1058 participants offering community monitoring of the green sea turtle on a public beach, documentary film screenings, park and beach clean ups, and a festival for local students, teachers and scientists.
Since 2013, Ecoventura has sponsored over 60 students in the EPI Wildlife Ecology Program giving their support through scholarships. A $500 donation makes the course possible for one student to participate.
Ecoventura passengers can make donations at the EPI web site.
Every year, Ecoventura invites two students from the Mola Mola Eco Club to participate in a career shadowing cruise aimed at assisting them with career exploration by offering the opportunity to “shadow” Ecoventura naturalist guides and crew. Guides serve as mentors to the students in the field during a week-long cruise aboard an Ecoventura first class 20-passenger yacht; Eric, Flamingo or Letty. The students are selected by the EPI staff based on the student’s essay explaining their interest in becoming a naturalist guide or working on board a tourist vessel. Through career shadowing, the students selected to participate will get the chance to learn first-hand what a professional naturalist guide, chef, engineer or Captain does on a typical work week. By observing the nature of the work and being able to ask questions of the mentors, students can acquire insight into a career field and determine the suitability of that career. This program provides a valuable link to motivate and encourage local students to choose a career in tourism.
Ecoventura also lends their support to EPI through the donation of a one week cruise for EPI instructors for a field study program, contributing a cruise for two to the annual EPI Fundraiser in San Francisco and selling cabins on recoup.com resulting in a contribution of $700 to EPI for every cabin sold. Santiago Dunn, President of Ecoventura, serves on the Board of EPI, based in Missoula, MT.