Highland region of San Cristóbal, Galápagos Island, 45 minutes by car from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno;
Escape to Ecuador is working to develop reforestation, habitat reconstruction, and agroforestry activities utilizing native species. Consistent with past work, one of the objectives of this station is to develop the technology to reconstruct native habitat in the highlands on San Cristobal, and to serve as a centre for similar projects in the highlands on other populated islands in the Galapagos chain. The remaining native highland forests on the populated islands is quite limited due to farming activities in general, and the introduction of useful, but very invasive species from the mainland such as tropical cedar and Cinchona.
The foundation has established a Plant Conservation Center for the production of native plant species for this work. Regarding the habitat restoration aspect, the reserve is dedicated to eradicate invasive species of plants, especially a type of invasive raspberry, in order to plant native trees and vegetation. The reserve is currently implementing a biological corridor going from 150 m.a.s.l. to 550 m.a.s.l. to demonstrate the different native vegetation at different gradients of the island. In addition, the foundation works collaboratively with local landowners to develop clean agricultural alternatives for the production of vegetables and fruits to sell to local universities, restaurants, and hotels.
The station is composed of two houses with a mix construction (native bamboo and cement) containing 11 rooms each and resting areas. Separated from the houses you have the dining and the kitchen. The accommodations are rustic, with room for groups of up to 35 people. Researchers can obtain needed permits with assistance from the foundation. The reserve has electricity, but there is no internet or telephone access.
ACTIVITIES FOR THE VOLUNTEERS
- Habitat restoration: removement of introduced vegetation
- Reforestation with native species: seed collection and classification, nursery work, reforestation lines maintenance
- Organic agricultural activities and agroforestry to help maintain and secure food production for the station
- Station maintenance
- Personal project (develop your own project or support different conservation projects that are being developed at the station at the time)
- Trail maintenance
- Sign elaboration for trails
- Basic construction activities
- Help clean fresh water supply
- Help in kitchen Petrel’s observation: nests finding, clearing around the nests to facilitate the mother’s entrance, bird’s behaviour
- Fenology studies and flora inventories: observation and classification of native, endemic and invasive species
- Bird’s observation at the reserve to determine if they are native, endemic or invasive
- Germination Project: Determine the most effective method for germination in vegetable production and other species
- Coffee production to see the possibility of exportation coffee
RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT LIST
1. Luggage: a rucksack is preferable to a suitcase if you intend to travel after the project. A day-pack is necessary for everyday use.
2. Sleeping: sleeping bag, mosquito bed net, towels
3. Clothing: Walking boots, Rubber / Wellington boots – these are essential. You can bring them with you or buy them in Quito for less than US$10, Sandals/comfortable shoes, Flip flops / rubber sandals (which can get wet), Raincoat / rain hat (essential – you will get wet!), Long sleeve trousers and shirts to offer the best form of protection in the evenings, Face net (to keep mosquitoes off), ‘Work clothes’, Sun Hat, Sun Glasses, Swimming costume
3. Medical kit: It is always useful to carry a small personal medical kit. This should include: Plasters, wound dressings and bandages, personal medication to last the duration of the expedition, anti-histamine cream/ tablets, fungicidal foot power/cream, antiseptic cream/solution, Immodium tablets (x10) and rehydration (e.g. dioralyte) sachets (x 20), mild pain killers (e.g. Paracetamol), tweezers, scissors etc.
4. Personal equipment: Camera, Torch, Alarm clock, Penknife, Gardening Gloves, Sun Cream, Biodegradable Insect, repellent (this is essential – you will need it! Bring enough for your entire stay), Water bottle, Clothes washing soap, Zip lock bags.
5. Other items (non essential): Binocular, batteries for any electrical appliances, sewing kit, Money belt, pens, pencils and station
Itinerary You choose your dates: after booking this package we will contact you and ask for your flight itinerary so we can plan your trip accordingly. Includes
- All accommodations
- Airport transfers
- Flight from inland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands
- Private transportation to and from station
- Three meals a day
- 300$ donation
- Entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park
- If Spanish lessons option chosen: airfare, transport and dorm included
- Registration free
- International airfare
- Personal expenses