The GV2050 Program nourishes not only plants!

Patricia Jaramillo Díaz
20 Feb 24 /

Ecological Restoration is a long process and in Galapagos each plant represents a story of effort, endurance, and why not, also contribution. Life does not exist in isolation, and any plant is a testimony of the aid needed to restore it. From fungi and insects that interact with it, to the hands that sow the initial seed.

Despite the adversities of restoring on Galapagos, the “Galapagos Verde 2050 Program” is close to reaching the milestone of 20.000 planted individuals. Today, we want to share a story that reflects this big endeavor. Not the story of the plants, but the story of the people that made this cumulative hard work possible.

In these 10 years of restoration, more than 300 people, between staff and volunteers, have contributed. Simultaneously, the GV2050 program has achieved more than just nurturing the restored plants. It has also been a significant educational experience for numerous professionals, fostering in them a deep sense of purpose.

Here we compile what remarkable previous GV2050 staff and volunteers have to say about their experience in the program. This space honours their narratives, illustrating the profound impact GV2050 has had on their careers and life’s direction. Join us as we celebrate these voices, integral to the program’s legacy and future inspiration


number of volunteers, staff and other contributors to the GV2050 program over the last 10 years

Akiko Hansaki
Akiko Hansaki – 2015-2016

Occupation: Staff member of JAGA (Japan Association for Galapagos). Supports the conservation activities of the Galapagos ecosystem from Japan.

At first, I was going to research the Red-Lipped Batfish (Galapagos Batfish), but at that time there were no vacancies for volunteers at Biomar, and Patty invited me to Galapagos Verde 20250 Project. Although it was a coincidence, it was a wonderful opportunity for my life. Thanks to my days at GV2050, I recognized the importance of native and endemic plants in ecological restoration. In 2022, I published a book about the batfish. The book is mainly analysis, discussion, and records of observations of the fish, but it also describes the activities of GV2050 and what I learned there. I would like to continue speaking to many people in Japan about the wonderful ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands.

Patricia Jaramillo-CDF

Evy Vandebosch – 2016

Occupation: Technical Manager Seeds at Arvesta in Belgium.

Participating in the volunteer program of GV2050 at the Galapagos Islands was a once in a lifetime experience. I was honoured to work in such a fantastic atmosphere and environment. I learned to communicate in different ways and gained a lot of field knowledge. Processing the field data and visualizing them in the most interesting way is something I can still build on today.

Antonio Picornell
Antonio Picornell – 2016.

Occupation: Postdoctoral Researcher PAIDI 2020. Department of Botany and Plant Physiology. University of Malaga.

The tasks I did within the program enhanced my skills as a Botanist and taught me the intricacies of planning fieldwork and data generation. The experience was truly remarkable, highlighting the crucial role of ecological restoration and reinforcing in me the notion that substantial ecosystem changes are achievable through dedicated efforts. These invaluable experiences are still supporting my research as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Málaga.

Patricia Jaramillo/CDF
Patricia Silva – 2016

Occupation: Biology and Geology teacher in Málaga, Spain, focusing on these subjects and Environmental Education

My experience in the GV2050 program was life-changing. Working with researchers like Patricia Jaramillo was unforgettable and enriching. I learned about efforts to conserve unique, threatened plant species and now share these insights with my students. I've also participated in the "Como tú" project at the University of Málaga, promoting scientific interest among students. Soon, I plan to resume my botanical studies of native Iberian species, further dedicating my life to botany. Thank you for your inspiring work and dedication to making a difference.

Brandon Polzin

Brandon Polzin, Ph.D. – 2017

Occupation: PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Current: Analyst at a non-profit organization focused on clinical genetic testing.

The GV2050 program played a significant role in shaping my career path as a researcher. It offered me invaluable insights into applied, collaborative science, especially after witnessing the program's scale and the diversity of researchers involved. It also provided opportunities to build skills relating to communication and community engagement by performing outreach to both local citizens and tourists. This experience fuelled my passion for pursuing a career in the biological sciences and I am extremely grateful I was able to participate in it.

Isabela Tapia
Isabela Tapia - 2018

Occupation: Conservation Biologist from the Galapagos Islands, specialized in GIS. MSc in Biodiversity Conservation from the University of Southampton.

My professional development was significantly shaped by my experience with the GV2050 Program. Volunteering with this program before my final undergraduate year in Biology provided a comprehensive understanding of ecological restoration projects.... The program was instrumental in supporting my undergraduate thesis on the description of the diet of a new species of Galapagos giant tortoise, supporting me with their remarkable expertise in botany and plant identification... In essence, the GV2050 Program has greatly contributed to my career, steering me towards a path of innovative and community-driven conservation approaches.

Patricia Jaramillo/CDF
Yasmin Redolosis – 2018

Occupation: Conservation technician in the Azores Islands.

My participation in various actions of the program was a revealing journey that defined my perspective and left an indelible mark on my life both professionally and personally, as it was an essential step as the beginning of my professional career in nature conservation. I met great friends who still remain despite distance and time. From the moment I joined the GV2050 team, it was clear that I was supporting a space where commitment and dedication are the norm, and the good results are evident. My involvement in their program laid the foundations of my work, always prioritizing effort and motivation to protect vulnerable ecosystems, leading to my current stage as a conservation technician.

Patricia Jaramillo/CDF

María Guerrero – 2017-2019

Occupation: PhDc with the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and the University of Malaga,

Working on the GV2050 Program for almost three years had a significant impact on my life, as it helped me to discover my vocation for studying the flora and fauna of oceanic islands. As a result, I have decided to dedicate myself professionally to biodiversity conservation

Angel Cajas

Angel Cajas – 2019

Occupation: Leads agroforestry-reforestation in Napo province's Kichwa communities and oversees a project on Melipona eburnea hive management to integrate meliponiculture into agroforestry systems.

I am extremely grateful to have worked on the GV2050 program, as during the course of my university life the incredible experiences I had as a volunteer represented a significant guide in finding my true passion. Similarly, having worked on this program as a professional provided me with invaluable knowledge and opened many doors that have led me to successfully and enthusiastically carry out my current actions to preserve and recover valuable ecosystems. In me, there will always remain the inevitable personal satisfaction and admiration one acquires by going through GV2050.

Esme Plunkett – 2018-2020.

Occupation: Fundraising at Cornwall Wildlife Trust

My time on the program was pivotal, both professionally and personally, solidifying my career in conservation and experiencing some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. When I wasn’t in the field carrying “chimbuzos”, Patty gave me the opportunity to fine tune my writing skills through blogs, a book and research literature. These are skills that I’ve taken into my current fundraising role. I felt consistently inspired working on GV2050, and I feel very privileged to have been a part of such an important program.

Felipe Cornejo

Felipe Cornejo - 2019 - 2020.

Occupation: Productivity Analyst at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock on the Amazon Productive Transformation Agenda Project, which aims to promote sustainable agriculture practices and address climate change impacts in the agricultural sector.

My experience at the CDF was pivotal for my professional growth as it motivated me to pursue a specialization in Climate Change and Sustainable Agroecosystems, with the aim of deepening my knowledge and the experience I gained from the GV2050 Program. Additionally, working in such a specialized environment dedicated to scientific research provided me with the opportunity to refine my technical skills and acquire a profound understanding in my field. I am grateful for the valuable experiences I gained from the GV2050, which undoubtedly have substantially contributed to my professional development.

Luka Negoita

Luka Negoita – 2018-2021

Occupation: Senior data scientist at Nutrisense, focusing on research, data infrastructure, and modeling to identify ideal customers in health tech.

It was the first time I was able to apply my research and data skills in an applied context—in this case restoration biology. Working with the complexities of ecological data alone is a powerful learning experience for any scientist, but here I had the opportunity to learn how to balance pure science with applied science. The skills I learned in this process were exactly what I needed to progress my career into data science, where I continue to have the privilege to do science while also using data to providing actionable insights to the people that need them. Having the opportunity to work in the biologist's paradise of Galapagos for those years was the perfect stepping stone. Though I am very happy in my new job, part of my heart will always be among the awe-inspiring plants and wildlife of the Galapagos.

Darlene Chirman – 2022

Occupation: retired restoration biologist.

As a retired restoration biologist, I came back to Galapagos after 14 years. I volunteered with Galapagos Verde 2050 for 3 months. I worked with staff producing plants in the GNPD nursery and planting in Floreana, while also had the opportunity of meet other islands as Baltra. One of my special tasks was help developing the Restoration Plan for the remote islands recently approved by the National Park Directorate, and nearing completion. I have loved my time in the Galapagos Islands, and I feel that I have made some significant contributions to the recovery of the island's ecosystem.

GV2050 not only restores Galapagos ecosystems but also shapes emerging professionals. We extend a warm invitation to anyone interested in contributing to this significant effort. Who knows, your visit might offer you a new way to perceive the world, ¡and changing it one individual at a time!

Join this incredible journey with the GV2050 Program: adopt a plant and contribute to keeping the Galápagos Islands a stronghold of protection. By doing so, you won't just be preserving this unique paradise but also supporting the education of future generations. Envision a future where not only is there a Green Galápagos 2050 transforming the world, but also a Green Spain, California, Japan, Norway, and a Green Amazonia by 2050.

Your participation is the seed to cultivate global change! Be part of the story we are writing together!

Patricia Jaramillo Díaz

Principal Investigator - Galapagos Verde 2050

View bio
Andres Cruz

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