World Wildlife Day/Galapagos Kids

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It’s World Wildife Day – and when I think of places where wildlife really defines the lives of children, the Galapagos Islands immediately spring to mind. Children are taught about environmental issues such as indigenous species vrs  ‘introducidas’  almost before they learn their ABCs. And rightly so, since the unique flora and fauna of the Islands is extremely delicate, world-famous – and the thousands of tourists who flock to the Islands to witness the untouched wildlife bring in a substantial amount of income.

I was there a few years ago, doing a story about two young boys whose lives would be shaped by environmental policies – Jonathan, a fisherman’s son, and Tairon, the son of a (tourist) ship captain. But I didn’t do the story alone. Emily Pozo from the non-profit ICE was an enormous help in getting the ball rolling, as were the two schools in Philadelphia, who ‘joined’ me through a website put up by MAGPI/Uni of Penn. The schools put together packages – including books introducing themselves –  for their ‘partner’ schools in the Galapagos, and in turn, the Island kids made their own packages. The last I heard, the schools were all still in touch with one another. The USA schools followed my trip by producing detailed timelines and their own stories – at the end of the project, they were well-versed in the intricate and complex issues of the Islands, and spoke with consummate ease about iguanas, tortoises, blue-footed boobies and frigates. It was an amazing example of learning through doing. I wish I could have schools ‘accompany’ me on every trip. Here are a few images from the Project (see more images under Galleries>Stories>Galapagos Islands)

 

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When a local school puts on a ‘traditional’ dance, the girls proudly wear outfits that are screen-printed with the Island’s most famous wildlife.

 

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Wildlife is a favourite theme when kids draw

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There are introduced animals like the goat, that eat the food of the tortoise, and cause damage to the vegetation. Or more than this are the dogs, cats, pigs and rats.
Before there were many more sharks, but now that its prohibited to fish them, I hope that they won’t disappear

a book about the 'enchanted islands'

a book about the ‘enchanted islands’ – with lesson plans, and information about the Island’s unique flora and fauna

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Jonathan – a fishman’s son – drew of dolphins in a blue sea.

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More animals by Jonathan

Children drawing the Islands

Children drawing the Islands

murals in the classroom

the wildlife is everywhere! Even in the classroom. Murals show the unique wildlife

The timeline by Brandywine school

The timeline by Brandywine school, who followed the trip via a website, and put together their own Galapagos Project – and stayed in touch with schools in the Galapagos

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