Yellow Warbler. Photo by: Rashid Cruz, CDF

We are ready to start our 2021 Christmas Bird Count. Annually, in December, the Charles Darwin Foundation prepares a citizen science activity that helps to know the status of populations of landbird species through a census that involves the community.
For the last 6 years, and in collaboration with other institutions, from December 1 to 31 we have been carrying out the Christmas Bird Count in which citizens are the key and main actor to achieve the objectives set annually.
The CDF's goal is to involve the people of Galapagos in learning about the status of the islands' landbirds, which are not only an important part of the islands' fauna, but also important to the world, through a fun and dynamic initiative, and this is what the CDF pursues every year with this activity.
Beside sending your bird pictures during all December, December 18 you will have the possibility to participate in the official Christmas Count of the National Audubon Society (the organization that leads the activity worldwide). Join us in this field trip in the company of bird experts.
Prior to this field trip, the 11th of December, a practical workshop is planned to learn how to use the eBird application, which is the database in which the Audobon data will be stored. It is further a pretty cool app to enter any bird observations and to learn more about the birds surrounding you.

The Christmas Bird Count has been held since 2015. Photo by: Rashid Cruz, CDF
The Christmas Bird Count has been held since 2015. Photo by: Rashid Cruz, CDF

Remember, throughout the month of December we will be receiving photos of the birds found at +593 98 308 1761 or by entering the following link: https://l.x4d.info/HmK. The only requirement to participate is to be in the Galapagos Islands.
We have the support of Galapagos Science Center, Fundación Jocotoco, Ecology Project International, Galapagos Conservation Trust, Frente Insular, San Cristobal Urban Bird Program (PAU), Acción Nativa and Galapagos Infinito who have joined this year to be part of the activity.
Come and participate in the Christmas Bird Count, we will have fabulous incentives and surprises!

CDF General Assembly 2021. Photo by: Juan Manuel García, CDF.

Press release.- The 50th General Assembly meeting of the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands (CDF) was held at the recently inaugurated Inspiration Complex from November 8th to 9th, 2021. 

Board members, local and national authorities, scientists, staff, as well as special guests were, part of this meeting where important decisions were taken with implications for the conservation of the Galapagos.

The General Assembly was held in a hybrid format. "Having a hybrid meeting is quite complicated, but I think it worked well and we were able to receive important inputs from the members who attended, especially input toward the Foundation's new Strategic Plan," said Dr. Rakan Zahawi, Executive Director of CDF.

The annual reports of the Executive Direction, Science, Finance, and Fundraising teams were presented to the attendees, in addition to highlights of the most important results this year from CDF science projects.

One of the principal achievements of the institution's scientific work during 2021 concerned the project titled "Searching for control methods for the invasive fly Philornis downsi". This project made great progress researching a potential control agent of the Avian Vampire Fly, a small wasp, Conura annulifera. Investigating this wasp will continue to be part of the project’s priorities in 2022.

Dr. Charlotte Causton, principal investigator of the Philornis downsi project presenting the results of her scientific project. Photo by: Juan Manuel García, CDF.
Dr. Charlotte Causton, principal investigator of the Philornis downsi project presenting the results of her scientific project. Photo by: Juan Manuel García, CDF.

Danny Rueda, Director of the Galapagos National Park, and Joan Sotomayor, President of the Governing Council of the Special Regime of Galapagos, presented highlights of the bi-institutional work that is carried out in collaboration with CDF.

"For us, the strategic alliance with the Charles Darwin Foundation has been fundamental, because it has allowed us to carry out various management actions, based on the science generated by this organization," commented Danny Rueda during his presentation.

During the event, working groups were formed to address six important strategic foci that will underpin the 2022-2027 CDF Strategic Plan, to define future actions for the conservation of the Galapagos.
Participants of the event included the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility; the Ministry of the Environment represented by the Galapagos National Park Directorate; the Secretary of Higher Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation; the Ministry of Tourism; the Military Geographic Institute; the Governing Council of the Special Regime of Galapagos; the Ministry of Agriculture; the Agency for the Regulation and Control of Biosecurity and Quarantine for Galapagos; the Municipality of Santa Cruz; among others.

Authorities working on inputs for the 2022-2027 Strategic Plan. Photo by: Juan Manuel García, CDF.
Authorities working on inputs for the 2022-2027 Strategic Plan. Photo by: Juan Manuel García, CDF.

Andrea Moscoso, representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, cordially invited the members of the General Assembly to host next year's meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs facilities in Quito.
Since 1971, the CDF General Assembly meeting has been held annually during the month of November. The objective is to enable the organization's authorities to learn about the results of the work carried out during the past year and make informed decisions for the strategic implementation in the upcoming year.

CDF has a project researching sharks in Galapagos. Photo: Jordy Chias.

On December 2nd, 10.000 NFTs will be launched to help contribute to the conservation of the Galapagos Islands, and the Charles Darwin Foundation is thrilled to be taking part in this effort.

The Enchanted Creatures Club (ECC) is a mostly Ecuadorian team of young developers and artists working together to help conserve one of the most pristine corners of the world, and one that happens to be in their own backyard. During the last couple of years, Galapagos has been strongly impacted by the shutdown of tourism due to the Covid-19 pandemic, by illegal fishing, and the continued threat posed by invasive species. In an effort to reactivate tourism and ensure the conservation of the unique species and habitats that make up this archipelago, the ECC team has created 10.000 Galapagos-inspired NFTs (non-fungible tokens or digital pieces of art supported by the Ethereum Blockchain). These tokens will officially go on sale on December 2nd and the proceeds will go toward social and environmental causes in the islands.

Photo by: Jordy Chias.
CDF has a project researching sharks in Galapagos. Photo: Jordy Chias.

The Charles Darwin Foundation has partnered with the ECC to help carry out conservation work in Galapagos through our science projects. With 62 years generating scientific knowledge for conservation of the Galapagos Islands, CDF continues to be a leader in regional marine and terrestrial research.

Photo by: CDF
Galapagos giant tortoises are the iconic species of the Archipelago. Photo by: Juan Manuel García, CDF.

The support provided by ECC will strengthen CDF’s work to save iconic species from potential extinction, such as the Little Vermilion Flycatcher, the Mangrove Finch, Galapagos Penguin, and a number of iconic keystone shark species. Additionally, funding will support our Education and Community Outreach ECO-Program which aims to inspire and empower local students and adults to be leaders in Galapagos conservation.

Photo by: Daniela Vilema, CDF
CDF Science Club "Shark-ambassadors". Photo: Juan Manuel García, CDF.

For more information about ECC please click here. You can follow them at @ecclubNFT on Twitter and Instagram.

For more information on NFTs you can check out this article.

Official inauguration of the Inspiration Complex Marine Research Center. Photo by: Rashid Cruz, CDF

Press release.- On Sunday, November 7, we inaugurated the new Marine Research Center of the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF). The Inspiration Complex is a renovated space located in what was formerly known as Biomar.

During the event, our President, Hans Van Poelvoorde welcomed all the institutions present, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility; the Ministry of the Environment represented by Galapagos National Park Directorate; the Secretary of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation; the Ministry of Tourism; the Military Geographic Institute; the Governing Council of the Galapagos Special Regime; the Ministry of Agriculture; the Agency for the Regulation and Control of Biosecurity and Quarantine for Galapagos; the Municipality of Santa Cruz, among others.

Hans Poelvoorde, CDF President, during the welcome. Photo by: Rashid Cruz, CDF.
Hans Poelvoorde, CDF President, during the inauguration of the facility. Photo by: Rashid Cruz, CDF.

"This is not just a building for marine scientific research, but a center of inspiration for conservation in the Galapagos," said CDF Executive Director, Rakan Zahawi during the inauguration of the Inspiration Complex.

The construction of the Inspiration Complex took approximately five years and became a reality thanks to inter-institutional collaboration, CDF staff, and the generosity of our major donor, the COmON Foundation from the Netherlands.


Danny Rueda, Director of the Galapagos National Park, emphasized the importance of the facility. "This infrastructure will facilitate to the conservation efforts of the current and newly created protected area, as well as others in the region," he said.

The Inspiration Complex will also be a space for the community, where education for Galapagos children and youth will be promoted in coordination with the Charles Darwin Foundation's Education and Community program.

From left to right: Yolanda Kakbadse; Ángel Yánez, Mayor of Santa Cruz; Ana García, Deputy Minister of Tourism; Rakan Zahawi, CDF Director; John Loudon, COmON Foundation CEO; Hans van Poelvoorde, CDF President; Marilyn Cruz, ABG Director; Danny Rueda, GNP Director; and Andrea Montalvo, SENESCYT. Photo by: Rashid Cruz, CDF.
From left to right: Yolanda Kakabadse; Ángel Yánez, Mayor of Santa Cruz; Ana García, Acting Minister of Tourism; Rakan Zahawi, CDF Director; John Loudon, COmON Foundation CEO; Hans van Poelvoorde, CDF President; Marilyn Cruz, ABG Director; Danny Rueda, GNP Director; and Andrea Montalvo, SENESCYT. Photo by: Rashid Cruz, CDF.

The design and construction of the Inspiration Complex took nearly 5 years and is a reality thanks to inter-institutional support, CDF staff, and the great heart and generosity of one of the institution's major donors, the COmON Foundation of the Netherlands. The design and architectural direction of this Marine Research Center was led by Fabian Salame, a Galapagos architect with more than 16 years of experience.

Offices and laboratories of the Inspiration Complex. Photos by: Juan Manuel García and Rashid Cruz, CDF.
Offices and laboratories of the Inspiration Complex. Photos by: Juan Manuel García and Rashid Cruz, CDF.


"There is a lot to say about the Inspiration Complex, For example, the old Dinning Room represented a spiritual link for many researchers who enjoyed and spend time at this site; many important scientific ideas emerged here," said Hans van Poelvoorde, CDF President.

"For the COmON Foundation it is a privilege to support the Charles Darwin Foundation and Galapagos in the construction of the Inspiration Complex, which will undoubtedly support cutting-edge marine research in the Eastern Tropical Pacific region." reflected John Loudon, CEO of the COmON Foundation.

This event took place in the context of the CDF's 50th General Assembly meeting for the Galapagos Islands, which is held annually every November.

The ‘Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands’, in French ‘Fondacion Charles Darwin  pour les Iles Galapagos’, Association Internationale sans but lucrative (AISBL), has its registered office at Avenue Louise 54, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Trade Registry # 0409.359.103

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