Inspired by the Blue-Footed Boobies to Contribute to the Conservation of Galapagos

After three years of incredibly successful fundraising efforts to contribute to the scientific research and conservation of the blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos, Will Gladstone was finally able to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and learn about research and conservation work first-hand.

Students from the Fessenden School in Massachusetts visit the CDF’s Marine World exhibit to learn about different shark species in Galapagos. Majority are wearing Blue Feet Foundations socks
Students from the Fessenden School in Massachusetts visit the CDF’s Marine World exhibit to learn about different shark species in Galapagos. Majority are wearing Blue Feet Foundations socks. Photo by: Juan Manuel García, CDF

On June 13th, the Charles Darwin Foundation team welcomed a group of students from the Fessenden School in Massachusetts that was visiting the Galapagos Islands as part of their Ecuador expedition. We were looking forward to meet the famous fourteen-year-old who, together with his brother, has been passionately supporting our research!

The idea for the Blue Feet Foundation was born after Will learned about this iconic and Galapagos native species and the threats that it is facing from his 5th grade teacher, Mr. Banister. Together with his brother Matty, Will began selling socks that match the color of the blue-footed booby’s feet and have a special design!

Since the beginning of this innovative initiative three years ago, all the profits, which sum up to over $80,000, have been donated to the Galapagos Conservancy and the Charles Darwin Foundation to contribute to the scientific research and conservation of the blue-footed boobies and the Galapagos Islands in general. What is more since 2019, the socks are made in Ecuador, contributing to the local economy!

Will Gladstone, founder of the Blue Feet Foundation and David Anchundia, CDF’s landbird investigator
Will Gladstone, founder of the Blue Feet Foundation and David Anchundia, CDF’s landbird investigator. Photo by: Liza Nagode, CDF.

The group visited our vertebrate natural history collections and the herbarium, as well as the Marine World exhibit to learn about various shark species in the Galapagos and the outreach work that the Charles Darwin Foundation carries out.

Most excitingly, the visit was joined by David Anchundia, our landbird investigator who conducted his master’s thesis research on blue-footed boobies, in collaboration with Dr. David Anderson from the Wake Forest University. He was thrilled to be able to share his knowledge of this species with the passionate group of students, particularly Will. David later commented:

“Thanks to the funds raised by Will and Matty, we were able to collect more data on blue-footed boobies during 2017 and 2018. During these expeditions we also collected data from the Galapagos martin, an endemic bird to the Galapagos.”

Visit to the CDF’s vertebrate collection
Visit to the CDF’s vertebrate collection. Photo by: Juan Manuel García, CDF.

The Charles Darwin Foundation is incredibly grateful for the generous support provided by Will and Matty Gladstone through the Blue Feet Foundation! To purchase the socks please visit their website: bluefeetfoundation.com. All the proceeds will be donated to the Charles Darwin Foundation.

The group at the CDRS’ entrance
The group at the CDRS’ entrance. Photo by: Daniel Unda, CDF.

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 Chaussée de la Hulpe 177 Bte 20 (rez) - 1170, Brussels, and is registered under the trade registry of Brussels under the number 0409.359.103.

© 2019 Charles Darwin Foundation. All rights reserved.