The Galapagos Science Center (GSC) is an organisation that, in addition to its fundamental mission of generating knowledge through research, recognizes the importance of responding to the needs of the community. Thus, the connection with the community, collaboration with local, national, and foreign institutions, as well as the responsibility to bring science into the homes of Galapagueños are fundamental parts of our commitments. The GSC supports the sustainable development of the islands by providing technical advice to institutions such as the Galapagos National Park Directorate, the Municipal Autonomous Government of San Cristóbal, the Ministry of Health, and the Galapagos Governing Council. This enables them to make informed decisions when managing their public policies. In addition, the GSC shares the research conducted with the local population through the various activities of its community engagement program called “Connecting with Nature”.

Connecting with Nature Program

Thanks to the partnership between the Galapagos Science Center and Galapagos Conservation Trust, the Connecting with Nature Program (CWNP) began its activities in 2019, with the aim of promoting recreational and educational activities involving community participation to contribute to the revaluation of the islands´ natural resources and giving the community a stake in their conservation.
The activities have been designed based on the methodology known as the “Theory of Change”, which argues that conservation attitudes and behaviours can be gradually promoted through various interventions in stages from childhood to adulthood. The program strives to raise awareness, engage, motivate action, and empower children, youth, and adults regarding the socio-environmental dynamics occurring in the islands, with sustainable development, climate change, and gender equity as the main cross-cutting themes.

In its first five phases, the CWNP has reached over 8,000 members of the community.

How we do it?

To raise awareness

Reading Sessions

Through reading comprehension activities, children learn about the importance of ecosystem conservation and the dangers faced by the species inhabiting them. The sessions include reading science-based stories, exercises for reflection and critical thinking, questions, drawings, and games, all of which are endorsed by the Ministry of Education. This activity has achieved the greatest reach by being carried out in schools on all the inhabited islands of the archipelago, as well as in the coastal regions of mainland Ecuador. The “Virtual Sessions” and “Teacher Mentorships” have enabled a significant group of teachers to learn about the methodologies and resources used, allowing them to replicate them with their students. The stories used are “Marti the Hammerhead Shark,” and “Tessa the Giant Tortoise,” and soon we will learn about new stories inspired by birds, sea lions, and other iconic species of the islands.
To enjoy reading sessions from anywhere and at any time, it is now possible to access the resources here and use the guides and educational activities based on the interests or learning needs of the participants. With a significant component of empowerment and autonomy, families and schools join forces to promote a love of reading and strengthen the values of coexistence and conservation which are necessary in a fragile ecosystem like that of Galapagos.
Through dynamic workshops filled with imagination and creativity, children, youths and adults learn about the importance of protecting the natural heritage of Galapagos. Reflection on ecosystem conservation and reading as a powerful tool for environmental and emotional education are essential parts of this activity, which also allows participants to develop artistic skills through drawing and painting. These workshops take place in various settings on Santa Cruz Island, such as the “Community Library for Galapagos and the World,” as well as beaches, squares, and fairs.
Through participatory talks, local and international students, as well as the general community, are informed and educated about research projects driven by the GSC on social and environmental topics of interest. National and international speakers from a variety of institutions have taken part, with technical content presented in a scientific talk format.

To engage

Citizen Science Events

Through workshops and outings to observe biodiversity, children, youths, and adults from the community learn about the importance of the balance of ecosystems and methodologies applied in the field that contribute to the development of science. This is an activity that brings scientific culture closer to society, awakening people’s curiosity, imagination, and possible scientific vocations.

Experiential Outings

Inspired by “Place-Based Learning,” this is an opportunity to delve into the world of research, learn about fieldwork, and explore the methodologies used to contribute to the conservation of emblematic species of the islands such as sharks, rays, turtles, sea lions, and others. These outings allow children, youths, and adults from the community to participate in a sea adventure and get directly involved in science-related activities. They are carried out in coordination with the Galapagos National Park Directorate, through a local tourism operator. During the experience, participants visit scientifically significant sites such as Kicker Rock and Puerto Grande and learn about the complex processes necessary for different studies that reveal behaviour patterns, feeding areas, and reproduction.

English For All

Through interactive sessions, children, youths, and adults from the community share an educational experience that includes methodologies for learning new vocabulary and communicating correctly with English speakers. It also represents a space for reflection to exchange ideas on important issues affecting the Islands, such as biodiversity, climate change, and food security. The activities are carried out in collaboration with USFQ’s Department of Foreign Languages and develops communication and teamwork skills among participants of different ages.

To inspire action

“Friends of Science” Club

Through a multi-session program, children and youths awaken their curiosity and become acquainted with the tools and methodologies used by scientists in research, both in the field and in the laboratory. The goal is to spark an interest in science and conservation from an early age, providing the opportunity to put this new knowledge into practice and increasing participants’ interest in pursuing a career in science in the future.

Family Science Events

In a dynamic space and through simple language, community members learn about topics related to scientific research carried out at the GSC. This activity takes the form of stalls where participants engage in playful activities including challenges, exhibitions, and games, to offer the community a place to learn while having fun as a family. Each event involves the participation of GSC researchers, USFQ Galapagos students, and members of other local institutions as presenters, and they are held in public spaces such as parks, beaches, or squares.

Annual "Shark Day" Event

With over 10 years of experience, this emblematic annual event offers the community educational experiences focused on learning about topics related to marine species, with special attention given to the sharks that inhabit Galapagos. Through a full day event that takes place every July, including several stalls that combine knowledge and fun, empathy for these species is encouraged. Visitors use a “passport” that is marked with fun stamps at each stall.

Galapagos DNA Sessions

This is an online educational activity aligned with the Galapagos Barcode project and aimed at promoting learning about new methodologies used in research. The theory and practice of the sessions include topics such as genetics, evolution, fieldwork, sampling, technology, and tools used for the study and conservation of biodiversity. During this experience, young community members complement their knowledge and generate greater interest in science-related areas.

To empower

Dragons in Action

A space specifically aimed at USFQ Galapagos students, these activities were created as an opportunity to connect them with other community members through their direct participation in the development and implementation of various activities of the PCCN. Participants apply knowledge acquired during their academic period in the creation of various resources that they share with children, youths, and adults during events or in local schools. Additionally, they build important skills and abilities for their personal and professional development.
We want to inspire and reach other communities located in continental Ecuador and the Eastern Tropical Pacific marine corridor. We will continue to motivate our children, youths, and adults towards small positive changes that promote the protection of biodiversity and the sustainable development of Galapagos.
We extend our gratitude to everyone who makes it possible to continue with the activities, especially to the GSC-USFQ team who accompany us on each adventure!

For more information, click on the following video:

Follow Us

Scroll to Top

In 2022, the Galapagos Science Center (GSC) and the broader UNC & USFQ Galapagos Initiative will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. We are proud to announce the World Summit on Island Sustainability scheduled to be held on June 26–30, 2022 at the Galapagos Science Center and the Community Convention Center on San Cristobal Island.

The content of the World Summit will be distributed globally through social media and results documented through papers published in a book written as part of the Galapagos Book Series by Springer Nature and edited by Steve Walsh (UNC) & Carlos Mena (USFQ) as well as Jill Stewart (UNC) and Juan Pablo Muñoz (GSC/USC). The book will be inclusive and accessible by the broader island community including scientists, managers, residents, tourists, and government and non-government organizations.

While the most obvious goal of organizing the World Summit on Island Sustainability is to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the GSC and the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, other goals will be addressed through special opportunities created as part of our operational planning of the World Summit.

For instance, we seek to elevate and highlight the Galapagos in the island conservation discourse, seeking to interact with other island networks in more obvious and conspicuous ways to benefit the Galapagos Islands, the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, and the world. We will seize the opportunity to further develop the I2N2 – International Islands Network-of-Networks. Further, we wish to highlight and emphasize multiple visions of a sustainable future for the Galapagos Islands and we cannot do this alone. Therefore, engaging the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Tourism, the Government Council of Galapagos, the Galapagos National Park, and local Galapagos authorities, including government and non-government organizations and local citizen groups, is imperative.

The Galapagos Science Center on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

Borrowing from Hawaii’s and Guam’s Green Growth Program and the Global Island Partnership, we wish to examine existing global programs that emphasize island sustainability and their incorporation into life, policies, and circumstances in the Galapagos Islands. We will also seek to enhance our connections with the institutional members of our International Galapagos Science Consortium and expand the Consortium through the recruitment of other member institutions. We will also work to benefit islands and their local communities by working with citizen groups as well as important NGOs who seek to improve the natural conditions in the Galapagos and diminish the impact of the human dimension on the future of Galapagos’ ecosystems.

Lastly, we will use the World Summit to benefit UNC & USFQ and our constituencies through a strong and vibrant communication plan about the World Summit, creating corporate relationships as sponsors, identifying funding goals through donors, and benefiting our study abroad program for student engagement in the Galapagos Islands. We plan to develop and issue a Galapagos Sustainability Communique after the World Summit that includes the vision and insights of all its participants for a sustainable Galapagos with applicability to global island settings.

We are eager to hear your perspective and have you join us at the World Summit on Island Sustainability!