The Houston Zoo is proud to partner with organizations around the world that actively save wildlife. We have been working in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador for many years, providing expertise in veterinary medicine as well as environmental education.
This past week, Houston Zoo staff visited the Galapagos to help facilitate a 3-day workshop with local teachers who wanted to improve their skills and knowledge in environmental education. 8 educators from 3 different islands attended the workshop. Most of these teachers are not only in charge of their day-to-day classes, but also lead Eco-Clubs after school with children of various ages.
In collaboration with our local partners, Ecology Project International (EPI) and Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Program (GTMEP), as well as the Galapagos Conservation Trust and the St. Louis Zoo, we led various activities and trainings focused on conservation education and engaging students in hands-on science and research. Thanks to our partners, we even had the opportunity to bring these educators out into the field to track wild Galapagos tortoises and learn about radio telemetry!
In addition to tracking tortoises, a favorite activity from the workshop included hearing from several local teenage students about their experience participating in EPI’s successful after-school environmental club. In this club, students play a major role in determining club activities. Students in this program complete beach cleanups, work with the Galapagos National Park to count and monitor green sea turtle nests on local beaches and carry out plastic campaigns, visiting local schools to talk about the importance of not only recycling, but using less plastic in general. EPI’s environmental club was an incredible model to show to the participants of the workshop to help generate more ideas for activities they could take back and use on their respective islands.
In total, the workshop was a big success and the participants walked away with more knowledge and tools to engage their students in environmental education!