Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea arrived yesterday at Puerto Ayora, the capital city of Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands. The crew will be joined by a contingent of teachers and students from Hawaii as well as representatives from The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International for an educational visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Site. During their stay, the crew and participating schools will engage in activities to further their understanding of the area’s fragile ecosystem and how its preservation aligns with the Worldwide Voyage’s Malama Honua mission.
Situated in the Pacific Ocean more than 600 miles from the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and the surrounding marine reserve have been called a unique “living museum and showcase of evolution.” Similar to Hawaii, the Galapagos Islands is an isolated volcanic archipelago known for its endemic species and rich biodiversity. The location became famous after naturalist Charles Darwin visited in 1835 to study the area’s rare animal species which led to his theory of evolution by natural selection.
This stop on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage will be an opportunity for the voyage mission crew to learn about the Galapagos Islands’ conservation management and environmental sustainability efforts while bringing attention to science, evolution and the importance of protecting the earth’s most fragile resources.
Educators and students from Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School, Kamehameha Schools, and James B. Castle High School will all be present throughout Hokulea’s stay in the Galapagos. Groups will engage in a series of land tours, dives, and a Hoike event, or final presentation, to showcase their scientific findings and share the potential impacts the learning from this visit could have on education in Hawaii.
The learning journey will include visits to the Charles Darwin Research Center and the Tomas de Berlanga School, which focuses on developing a sense of stewardship in its students for the society and environment in which they live. The school was launched in 1994 by a group of Galapagos residents who believed that improved education was a prerequisite to a more sustainable Galapagos. They sought to launch an educational model that could serve as a showcase of best practices and as a future training ground for educators from other schools on the islands.
After the Galapagos Islands, Hokulea will continue on her voyage to Rapa Nui and French Polynesia for further community outreach and opportunities to share the Malama Honua message. In June 2017, Hokulea will make her long-awaited return to the Hawaiian Islands with a historic homecoming ceremony at Magic Island