Education for Sustainability Program is based on the principle that conservation must be done by those who live and work in the Islands. All 7,300 students from PreK-12th grade have been able to learn core topics through month-long deep dives into important topics in Galapagos. These include sustainable food systems, food security, invasive species, sustainable energy, and marine and terrestrial biodiversity.
Sindi Velez, mother to two elementary school students, recalls that learning used to take place only in classrooms and that children did not learn much about Galapagos at school. “It is a joy to see my children outside learning, where teachers help them connect theory and practice and push them together to exchange ideas and work together as they experience their natural surroundings and man-made environment.”
Juan Carlos Valladares is a high school junior who appreciates the chance to learn more about the interplay of environmental, economic, and social realities in the Islands. “We just completed an excellent month learning about the Galapagos Marine Reserve – its most important species and the dangers of overfishing, bycatch, as well as traditional fishing methods that can sustain fisheries. We learned a lot about the environment in our community and were able to see firsthand how we can protect and conserve everything around us.
This major shift in education is centered around 430 Galapagos teachers, who have tirelessly developed new teaching strategies. There are also 40 teacher-leaders involved in professional development of their peers. Patricia Padilla is one of these leaders. She believes that cooperation is the key to success. “Six years ago, teachers from different disciplines had never collaborated. There is now intentionality in the way we interact with each other. While the teaching methods we use are fascinating, teacher collaboration and teamwork is just as important.
Galapagos Conservancy is happy to announce that it has restructured its Education for Sustainability Program this year. It will be transferred entirely to Galapagos by Galapapaguenos. Led by Mr. Lenin Rogel (recently hired), he and his team will ensure that all Islands high school students graduate as conservation-minded architects for a more sustainable Galapagos.