AUTHOR Caroline Eaton
Last year Ecoventura invited two Ecology Project International students for a full week cruise to be mentored onboard by our guides. After last years success, we opened up two spots again this year! Joel and Erick were selected by EPI directors due to their strong dedication to conservation through the ecology club Mola Mola. They were able to learn from our guides and crew, who showed the two boys what it is like to work on board onboard a tourist vessel and what a career on a tour boat entailed.
The career shadowing is an experience that allows the students to observe professional naturalist guides as they perform their job duties to help determine their career path. All of these kids are raised in the Galapagos, but many aren’t exposed and equipped with the knowledge of why it is important to preserve where they come from.
The guests loved having the boys on board to hear about life as a local and to ask questions about the boy’s experience first hand on the island.
The boys had the opportunity to give our passengers a tour of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, their home town. They were proud to show off their city and excited to learn more about the country where they live. They were able to see the wildlife up close and travel further within the islands than they had before. They both left with a stronger appreciation for the land and a better understanding of the Island’s history and the care the park has taken to preserve it.
Cecibel Guerrero, one of our naturalist guides and mentors, helped with the translation during the tour and enjoyed sharing the guests questions with the boys and letting the boys pass on their insight.
“the boys are great! They did the city tour and all of the passengers were fascinated. It is very rewarding to have these kids on board. As I tell our guests, awareness is what will make these kids appreciate where they live and in the end, they will be the ones working with the preservation on these islands. Thanks for making me part of this, I feel I am helping my Islands”
After the cruise EPI informed us that Joel (pictured above participating in a local recycling program) wants to start working towards a career path as an EPI instructor or naturalist guide, but first he wants to study English abroad in the US or UK for at least one year.
“EPI has changed my life and that of many young people, it has taught us to know or home and the importance of keeping it. They also taught us love and respect for the environment” – Joel
We are working with EPI to help Joel find a scholarship to reach his goal to learn English. He graduates in January 2016 and we hope that one day he will be guiding visitors in Galapagos!
If you would like to join with us to help support Joel in his efforts to learn English and return back to the Galapagos to become a naturalist guide, please reach out to us.