IGTOA Donates $15,000 to Educate and Empower the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders in the Galapagos


This year, IGTOA and its member companies were proud to contribute $80,000 to four organizations working on the front lines of Galapagos conservation. Ecology Project International (EPI) received a $15,000 grant in support of its efforts to educated and empower young people to become the next generation of conservation leaders in the Galapagos Islands. The following is a thank you letter from EPI that explains how IGTOA's funds will be used to safeguard and protect the Galapagos Islands in the coming year. 


Dear IGTOA Members,

Thanks to your generous support, Ecology Project International (EPI) engaged more than 2,345 local youth from the archipelago in environmental education, conservation service, leadership, and community engagement activities during the 2016 field season. This represents overall growth of 80% over 2015!

EPI’s program in the Galapagos Islands is helping to build a cadre of youth who have the desire, motivation, and skills to be active in conservation throughout their lifetime. Through our multi-day field program and community outreach activities, we immerse high school students in the Galapagos Islands’ spectacular natural outdoor classroom to learn about and help protect threatened species and habitat. Our programs are building critical support for conservation – one student at a time. 

“I really liked the way we worked together in teams. I learned how to interact with people and work together to accomplish our goals. I think this skill will help me in the future, whether at work, school, or when I participate in other conservation projects.” ~ Jonathan, local Galapagos participant

Jonathan is one of the 180 local Galapagos teens who contributed to research and service projects focused on conservation of the iconic Galapagos tortoise and their habitat while participating in one of EPI’s multi-day residential field courses. Working directly with the Galapagos National Park, he and his peers collected data, restored habitat, and learned about the ecology of the islands. This year, participants were especially thrilled to be invited to help Galapagos Park rangers collect data on the newly discovered tortoise species, Chelonoides donfaustoi.

We placed special emphasis this year on increasing opportunities for youth to participate in activities after their field course that build capacity for protecting Galapagos’ unique biodiversity. EPI facilitated service projects like beach clean ups, workshops, festivals, field trips, and an Eco-Club that provide ongoing mentorship for high school students. Participants connect with peers, act as guides for U.S. students and tourists from other parts of the world, and network with conservation professionals in Galapagos. Thanks in part to IGTOA’s contribution, 2165 students and community members participated in these alumni and outreach activities - double over last year.

We sincerely appreciate IGTOA’s leadership and support that made it possible for youth to connect to nature, become aware of their impact, and create a personal conservation ethic. Together, we are building the next generation of conservation leaders in Galapagos.

Matt Kareus

Matt is the Executive Director of IGTOA.

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