The holidays bring out a lot of giving in people. Giving gifts, giving time and giving support.
Ecoventura has partnered with Ecology Project International (EPI) to inspire conservation in young children through education and mentoring with a career shadowing program. While cruising the Galapagos Islands this year Josh and I had the opportunity to meet two of these high school students while aboard the Letty. I loved listening to their stories about growing up on the Galapagos and their passion to be involved in their environment whether through becoming a naturalist or a scientist.
This new initiative is for high school students age 15-17 who live in the Galapagos islands. The program is meant to assist them with exploring career options by shadowing an Ecoventura naturalist guide. I think this is such an amazing way to help the locals in the Galapagos gain an appreciation for their islands. It surprised me to learn how many families living there had yet to explore the archipelago.
The Galapagos does an impressive job of conservation. The National Park takes a lot of precaution ensuring that fishing is under control, and nothing is overrun by tourists. This is one more step in making sure the kids start at an early age taking care to protect the land.
To participate in the career shadowing program the kids had to complete the EPI course and write an essay explaining why they are interested in becoming a naturalist guide. A $400 donation makes the course possible for one student. Ecoventura encourages passengers who may also want to help to make donations at: www.ecologyproject.org.
Not far from the Galapagos Islands, Angels of the Amazon are making big moves in the Peruvian Amazon. They work to provide aid to the 8,000 indigenous people living in the 12 communities of the Tahuayo River basin. We visited the Tahuayo Lodge with Amazonia Expeditions and got to meet some of the communities throughout the week as well as visit the clinic they support in Esperanza Village.
AOA has slowly been making improvements to Esperanza Clinic, the only medical service along the Tahuayo. They started by adding concrete floors and an emergency room and have now added maternity rooms and electricity through solar panels. With one main doctor, a few nurses and an average of 20 patients per day, the staff here is on call 24/7.
In addition to helping with the clinic, AOA helps provide school supplies, tutors, books and nutritional breakfast to the elementary school in the village. While we were with Amazonia Expeditions a group of 6 visiting tourists (one was a teacher from the US), spent the day with one of the classes reading them letters from the US and having them write back to the students.
Both Ecoventura and Angels of the Amazon inspired us and left an imprint on our hearts.
What organizations have you worked with while traveling that have inspired you?