Small Actions making a Great Impact for the Conservation of Galapagos

Sophie is a 9-year-old girl from Switzerland that was inspired by the story of Lonesome George in her first trip to the Galapagos Islands two years ago and wanted to make a difference so that the planet does not lose any more species. 

Sophie at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Galapagos
Sophie at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Galapagos. She delivered her donation with a personal note for our staff. Photo by: Juan Manuel García, CDF.

Sophie was on a family holiday onboard of Lindblad-National Geographic two years ago on the MV/Endeavour which offers a great program called Global Explorers developed between Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Education for kids and teens. So that when they visit the different destinations around the world they are engaged and can learn with fun activities at the same time.

Sophie was inspired by her naturalist guides during her trip to the archipelago Lenin, Ixora, Paola, Socrates who told her that even if she was not a grown-up she could make positive changes if she really wanted to. So when Sophie went back home she started with small fundraising efforts with a garage sale, then she started selling small items she got back from another holiday, then she asked for her birthday gifts to be donations instead of presents, and with her parents support she decided to open her own website at GoFundMe and make a personal appeal.

Sophie posing next to the Charles Darwin statue
Sophie posing next to the Charles Darwin statue. Photo by: Juan Manuel García, CDF.

Sophie was very successful and she raised $2,690 to support conservation projects at the Charles Darwin Foundation, and she also inspired the staff at Lindblad Expeditions. She had the opportunity to come back to Galapagos again onboard of the Endeavour after her first trip. This time Sophie came back with her donation and more inspired than ever to continue her dream of becoming a field biologist.

Sophie was welcomed by our Science Director, our Communications Manager, our Seabirds Senior researcher who thanked Sophie for her amazing achievement. Gustavo Jimenez, Senior Researcher said, " Thank you, Sophie from the bottom of our hearts, because your donation has helped us buy the pit tags to continue our penguin research for the next couple of years, the tags are individual ids for the penguins so that we can do our monitoring job." Sophie delivered her donation with a personal note she left for our Research Station staff.

Sophie and Gustavo Jimenez, Senior Researcher, at the Charles Darwin Collections Room
Sophie and Gustavo Jimenez, Senior Researcher, at the Charles Darwin Collections Room. Photo by: Juan Manuel García, CDF.

During her visit of the Research Station last week, Sophie and her parents were taken to our Marine World Exhibit, she saw the new plastics sculpture being created by a national artist and the outreach team, she met the scientists working in our Philornis lab (fly breeding lab) and was taken on a behind the scenes tour of our Natural History Collections. She met many of our female researchers who told her about how they became scientists. Like our Science Director who worked with monkeys in the rainforest at the start of her career.

Sophie was so happy to know her donation was actually making a difference, she said: " I raised 2,690 dollars and I am very happy that I am helping the penguins, I started with small efforts and then everything grew".

It was a delight to have Sophie and her family visit our Research Station, but also we are extremely grateful for her donation and having her inspire us to continue to do our work. Nine-year-old Sophie is an amazing representative of the new generation that will grow to continue to ensure the conservation of our planet.

The “Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands”, in French “Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association International sans but lucratif (“AISBL”), has its registered office located at Drève du Pieuré 19, 1160 Brussels, and is registered under the trade registry of Brussels under the number 0409.359.103.

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