EPI Galapagos held its annual festival in celebration of International Sea Turtle Day on Isabela Island. This year's fair had the usual celebratory music, games, and presentations on sea turtle ecology and conservation. But what made it particularly special were Mola Mola Eco-club members Ibrahi Rodriguez and Erick Ojeda.
For the last year, Ibrahi and Erick have taken their conservation leadership to the next level. Wanting to engage the Isabela community in green sea turtle conservation, Ibrahi and Erick developed and fundraised for their own local initiative, including winning one of EPI's Leadership Awards. To begin their initiative, they surveyed the community to get a sense of the locals' depth of sea turtle conservation knowledge. Then, they planned and held EPI-like sea turtle ecology courses for young community members. Their goal was to inspire youth to take action and protect this incredible species that relies so heavily on Isabela's beaches for nesting.
Together, these young people gathered important data on nesting activity at Puerto Villamil Beach and protected many nests. Ibrahi and Eco-club members presented their efforts to the community on International Sea Turtle Day, and Ibrahi presented at Galapagos' first Science Symposium the next week.
In recognition of his work, Ibrahi was selected to be a Youth Advisor for World Oceans Day, an international collaborative of nonprofits and networks from all sectors to help rally the world around action for our shared ocean. As a member of the Youth Advisory Council, Ibrahi is instrumental in bringing more international ocean conservation opportunities to his community.
We don't yet know what will happen to the sea turtles Ibrahi and Erick protected, but we do know that these youth will continue to be leaders in conservation, potentially shifting an entire community's ecological paradigm.
Special thanks to our partners Galapagos National Park and Intercultural Outreach Initiative for their support of Ibrahi and Erick.
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