Ecology Project International (EPI), is a non-profit NGO based in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz that 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.
EPI arranges for students who live in Galapagos students to participate in a 4-10 day wildlife ecology course with a field science curriculum where they are trained to develop critical thinking skills and a conservation ethic. The students 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 2018, the total number of student participants was 283 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, by 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 2003, Ecoventura has sponsored over 60 students in the EPI Wildlife Ecology Program giving their support through scholarships. Ecoventura passengers can make donations at the EPI web site.
Every year, Ecoventura invites EPI students chosen by their instructors to participate in one-week “career mentorship” 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. Through career shadowing, the students have 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. This program provides a valuable link to motivate and encourage local students to choose a career in tourism.
Guests on board Ecoventura’s designated family departures will have the chance for a cultural exchange or scientific project with the local students. We meet up with the EPI camp “Reserva Parajo Brujo” where you will collect and analyze data from tortoise dung and learn seed dispersal research protocol. On the walking tour of Santa Cruz, EPI students will guide our guests through the highlights of their hometown while sharing stories, legends and traditions of the Galapagos. Participate in community conservation efforts by using handmade nets to keep the beaches and bays safe for marine life. Activities will vary and are not offered on every cruise.
You too can Sponsor a field ecology course for a local high school students living in Galapagos to study conservation and ecology-related issues. The program is under the auspices of Ecology Project International, a non-profit NGO that has benefited over 600 Galapagos students since 2003. Students spend 50 hours in the field directly involved in conservation actions concerning invasive species and the health and release of turtles into the wild. Galapagos cruise. A $500 donation makes the course possible for one student. www.ecologyproject.org/donate.