Giving back to the Galapagos through the Charles Darwin Foundation

AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team

The archipelago of 19 islands that form the ecological paradise of the Galapagos is home to an astonishing array of flora and fauna and several thousand marine species, 25% of which are endemic – you won’t find them anywhere else on Earth. Whether that includes Galapagos poster-creatures such as the marine iguana, giant tortoise or Galapagos penguin, the ever-present Galapagos sealions, or birdlife such as the waved albatross and flightless cormorant, a huge number of the magnificent animals that passengers travel from far and wide to marvel at are inhabitants of the Galapagos alone.

In fact, it was here in 1835 that Charles Darwin was inspired to develop his Theory of Evolution – famously inspired by his study of the 13 endemic finch species – and the islands will forever be connected with his name.

Today, The Charles Darwin Foundation, a non-profit organization formed in 1959, is dedicated to conducting scientific research in the Galapagos, promoting sustainable development and preserving this fragile ecosystem. The foundation has a pivotal role to play in protecting the Islands’ natural resources and the sharing of scientific results for the conservation of this living laboratory.

Ecoventura is delighted to have worked with a number of organizations committed to improving conservation initiatives in the Galapagos – including the Galapagos Conservation TrustIsland Conservation and Ecology Project International – and we are immensely proud of our ongoing collaboration with The Charles Darwin Foundation.

On 31 July 2017, an agreement was signed with the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Galapagos National Park (GNP), leading to the formation of the Galapagos Biodiversity & Education for Sustainability Fund (GBESF). The fund aims to boost marine and terrestrial education and conservation work run by the CDF to conserve the islands’ diverse ecosystem for future generations. The GBESF also supports the work of the Galapagos National Park authorities.

Since partnering with the CDF in 2017, Ecoventura has raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the GBESF to fund research and monitoring trips, run educational and conservation projects and acquire vital scientific equipment, and this year our efforts continue at strength.

One of Ecoventura’s three luxury expedition yachts, Theory, hosted the second Major Donor Cruise on an expedition voyage November 27-04 December 2022, with a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.  This year’s theme went beyond Galapagos, highlighting the Eastern Tropical Pacific region where a special panel convened at the Charles Darwin Research Station to discuss effective management of marine protected areas.  The expedition was attended by representatives from the Wyss Foundation, Bezos Earth Fund, as well as major anonymous donors to CDF.

A similar voyage with this same wonderful foundation took place in 2019 in celebration of the CDF’s 60-year anniversary. At the time, Lisa Nagode, Donor Relations Officer of the CDF, explained that “The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s commitment to the conservation of the Galapagos Islands has been vital in supporting CDF’s mission to provide knowledge and assistance through scientific research and complementary action to ensure the conservation of the environment and biodiversity of the Galapagos archipelago.”

Of the $236,202 grant from the Gordon and Barry Moore Foundation, $179,000 is gifted to CDF’s Ecoventura Fund for science and education programs.  With these funds being channeled into supporting the CDF and its crucial endeavors in conducting scientific research and conserving the precious islands of the Galapagos.

It seems fitting that GivingTuesday, a global movement encouraging people to give back, falls during the voyage of the THEORY on November 29th.

In that spirit, anyone keen to support the fund’s crucial work in the Archipelago is welcome to make a donation to the CDF or take part in the fund’s Sponsor a Species campaign. A precarious combination of invasive species, human activity and the impacts of climate change has left many species under threat, but it’s not too late to support the CDF’s vital conservation efforts. So why not do your bit by sponsoring a penguin, green sea turtle, giant tortoise, hammerhead shark or vermillion flycatcher today?

Ecoventura is fortunate enough to operate within one of the earth’s most extraordinary natural ecosystems and in one of the most untouched marine environments found anywhere on the planet. With such privilege comes a responsibility to play a part in preserving this unique archipelago for future generations, so we are proud to support the CDF and all the work they do across these islands.

If you’d like to find out more about visiting these wonderful islands yourself, do contact the team who will be delighted to help.