The Galapagos Islands
Tensions Between Conservation and Development
The Galapagos Islands offer more than just an ecological adventure. They provide the perfect setting to help students make connections between abstract concepts and real issues confronting the world.
Through a blend of focused instruction, interactive activities, and real-life adventures, students gain tangible, firsthand knowledge of the ways in which shifts in variables in Ecuador and the greater world have impacted the reality of the Islands, both for the better and the worse.
Goals and Objectives
Learn how to use systems thinking and scenario planning to envision our future and navigate the complexity around environmental conservation
Evaluate specific environmental and economic challenges from the perspectives of community members, national government, and international organizations
Inspire individual awareness of the responsibilities created by the extant impacts of our actions on global systems
We explore the town of Puerto Ayora, meeting with local hotel owners, community leaders, and fishermen in order to learn how their lives are impacted by laws regarding conservation. We connect our modern-day observations to the islands’ unique “human history”.
During our explorations of the islands, students engage with local community members to learn about the benefits and costs of the regulations surrounding tourism on the Islands.
We spend a day at the Charles Darwin Research Center, where students learn about conservation efforts and spend time bonding with the magnificent tortoises.
Isabela is one of the youngest and largest islands, dominated by the dormant Sierra Negra Volcano. Our hike up to the top provides a tangible experience of the ‘wildness’ of the Galapagos.
Park rangers facilitate lessons on native, endemic, and invasive species of both fauna and flora. We visit a local organic farm and learn about efforts to introduce sustainable and non-invasive agriculture to the islands.
Drawing upon their experiences, interviews, and observations to define their views, students engage in a multi-party negotiation exercise that highlights the complex nature within the Galapagos Islands and the competing interests among the local and global stakeholders.