We Interrupt This Program for A Special Report from Galapagos

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my daughter, Rebecca Detrich, was honored to be one of 35 educators selected to be 2915 National Geographic Teacher Fellows, who, in cooperation with Lindblad Expeditions, were sent on various expeditions around the world. This is the report from Rebecca and her fellow Fellow on the Galapagos.

Shasta and Rebecca with giant tortoise on Galapagos

Galapagos National Park, El Trapiche & Tomas de Berlanga, Santa Cruz
Sep 29, 2015 – National Geographic Endeavour


As Grosvenor Teacher Fellows on board the National Geographic Endeavour for this expedition, we (Shasta Bray and Rebecca Detrich) were particularly excited about the activities of the day. Along with our fellow guests, we spent the morning exploring the Galapagos National Park Tortoise Rearing Center and Charles Darwin Research Station. There we viewed tortoises and land iguanas that are part of the captive breeding program while the Naturalists shared information about the most successful program of restoration of emblematic vulnerable species in the Galapagos.

Afterwards, some guests opted to bike through the highlands before joining others at the El Trapiche sugar cane mill, where they sampled locally grown coffee and island-brewed spirits. A smaller group of us visited the Tomas de Berlanga school that Lindblad supports. The school’s director, known to his students as Mr. Matt, and several of the eldest students showed us around the facilities, including classrooms, sports fields and a new library. The school was of particular interest to us as educators. It’s always fascinating to see the similarities that exist in schools across the globe. While the students were focused on exams, they still had plenty of smiles to share with us.

Later in the afternoon, we visited wild tortoises in the highlands. What a humbling, breathtaking experience! We counted 29 tortoises scattered across the grassy field as soon as we stepped off the bus. Donning our rubber boots, guests roamed through the fields, composing photographs. Some even lay on their bellies to gain a better perspective. Outdoor educator, Rebecca, quickly sketched a tortoise using techniques learned from Lindblad’s Artist-in-Residence, Carlyn Iverson. She hopes to bring the skills back to students at Westminster Woods where she directs an environmental education program. As an informal educator at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Shasta, was especially excited about seeing the same tortoises displayed at the Cincinnati Zoo here in the wild. It has been another wonderfully exhausting day, and we’re ready to tuck into our shells and dream of tortoises.

Giant tortoise close up

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