The Role of the Charles Darwin Foundation

 

The Role of the Charles Darwin Foundation

The Galapagos Islands have become a highly aspirational destination for wildlife lovers and those interested in the history and geology of our planet. Thousands of visitors arrive every year to embark on a wildlife cruise in Galapagos, for the opportunity to encounter the unique species of flora and fauna for which it has become famous.
There are few places more important than this remote archipelago in terms of evolutionary biology. It is here that British naturalist Charles Darwin arrived in 1835 (as part of his five-year voyage of discovery) to collect and study the specimens that would lead to the formulation of his theory of natural selection. In fact, it’s possible that the rest of the world would never even have heard of the region had it not been for the monumental discoveries of Darwin, which revolutionised our understanding of the natural world.

 

The Charles Darwin Foundation

In 1959, a team of conservationists established the Charles Darwin Foundation to “provide unique scientific solutions” to protect and preserve the islands. The foundation is a not-for-profit organisation working closely with the Ecuadorian government to promote and secure the conservation of the habitat and wildlife of the islands.

With the support of UNESCO, almost 60 years later the dedicated team at the foundation continues to work to raise awareness on a local and global level of the need to conserve this unique and fascinating area.

The Research Station

At some point in their itinerary, every visitor on a wildlife cruise in Galapagos will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz. Established in 1964, the station is administered by the CDF and operates as an active breeding centre for the Giant Tortoises, one of the highest-profile animals in the archipelago. Visitors can see the tortoises at every stage of their growth – from hatchlings to the massive full-grown adults.

The valuable research undertaken by scientists, naturalists and conservationists at the CDRS includes specimen collection and archival work, monitoring wild populations, breeding programmes, and developing innovations into the sustainability of the region.

The National Park Directorate

The Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) began operating in 1968, working with the foundation to establish the 14 rules of sustainability and responsibility, which all visitors are expected to respect. Working together, the GNPD and the CDF discovered the last remaining Giant Tortoise on Pinta Island, who came to be known as Lonesome George.

Other Work

Some of the other important conservation projects the CDF has helped to facilitate over the past 60 years include:

? The recognition by UNESCO of the GNP as a Natural Heritage Site for Humanity and a Biosphere Reserve ? Establishment of a scholarship for Ecuadorian students, many of whom have gone on to work on local conservation projects in the archipelago ? Repatriation and breeding programme for the Land Iguana ? Launch of Project Isabela (which covered the restoration of Isabela and Pinta ? Establishment of the Environmental Education Centres on Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristobel ? Successful extension of the World Heritage designation to encompass the Marine Reserve

Recognition of Service

The valuable work of the CDF has been recognised by a slew of international conservation awards, including the prestigious BBVA award from Spain and the Cosmos International Award from Japan. In addition it has been bestowed with the highest honour of Distinguished Achievement in Biology from the Society of Conservation.

Support for Conservation

Those who explore the region on a wildlife cruise in Galapagos can be confident that supporting sustainable ecotourism to the region helps to raise awareness of the valuable work undertaken by the CDF and the other agencies that administer the islands. If visitors commit to travelling mindfully and respecting the rules of the GNPD throughout their stay, this “living laboratory” will survive for future generations to enjoy.

Upgrade Your Pro Ski Gear in La Plagne

Upgrade Your Pro Ski Gear in La Plagne

No matter how up to date your ski gear is, there is always room to upgrade. If you are anything like me, then only the latest and best equipment will do, and you know that hav-ing the most current gear is a great way to optimise your performance on the slopes. It is also the best way to turn heads!
In my opinion, the best place to upgrade is always at a ski resort, instead of back home or online. La Plagne is an excellent place to do this, as there are many fully stocked shops. What’s more, it is also one of the best resorts for a holiday with superb skiing and the option of booking a luxury chalet. La Plagne is a much better place to upgrade than back home for the following four reasons:

 

1. Experts on Hand

For me, the primary reason for upgrading at the resort is that you can get the opinion of experts to find the best and latest gear that is right for you. It can be daunting to shop for skis, boots, helmets, clothing and other gear when there is so much variety. An expert will be able to guide you through what is available, and help you to find the right equipment for your age, gender, height, weight and personal preference.

2. Range

Another reason to buy at the resort is because of the wide range that’s available to you. Modern ski gear is catered to different terrains and personal tastes, so it is helpful to be in the store and browse a selection. This could be cross-country skis, race skis, mini skis, slope, all-mountain or another type.

3. Try Outs

A huge benefit of buying in La Plagne is that many places will allow you to try out the gear before making a purchase. You never really know how the equipment will perform until you are on the mountain, which is why buying at home is a huge gamble that may not pay off.

4. Shops

La Plagne has a selection of sports shops that are full of the latest gear and have friendly staff to assist you. Here are a few of the best!

Zig Zag – This is a very friendly sports store that’s run by the welcoming and helpful Yannick, who will happily spend time with you to find the right gear. This is very handy, as they have a huge selection of products, stocking all of the major brands like Stockli, Drake, Fisher and Northwave.

Elpro – There are four Elpro stores around the resort, so chances are there will be one close to your chalet. La Plagne’s most experienced skiers come here to shop, as the store always has the very latest equipment and offer everything that you need to hit the slopes in style.

Guidon Sports – Guidon Sports is a popular shop which is conveniently located right in the heart of La Plagne. Guidon also offers high-end clothing and ski equipment with the chance to make huge savings with the generous discounts usually on offer.

Belle Plagne Sports – Belle Plagne Sports renews their skis, snowboards, clothes, boots and accessories each year, so you will always find the latest here. There are three stores around the area, and each has equipment for all abilities. There are plenty of staff members on hand to offer sound advice.

La Plagne is a superb place to upgrade your gear, and it is also a great choice for skiing and relaxing. Thanks to the option of booking a luxury chalet, La Plagne attracts avid skiers from all around the world – so if you are looking to buy the latest gear, this is the best place to do so.