Galapagos Conservancy’s members are an inspiring group of people dedicated to ensuring we accomplish our conservation goals in Galapagos. In this section, we feature some of the people, past and present, who help make our work possible. Learn more about becoming a member of Galapagos Conservancy.
2018 Featured Members
Don and Sandi McVay
Galapagos Conservancy counts on the deep commitment of our supporters and friends, and that commitment is often born of a personal experience in the Islands. In recent email correspondence with GC President Johannah Barry, long-time donors Don and Sandi McVay casually mentioned their 1970s research project in Galapagos! Intrigued, Johannah asked thetwo for more information and below is their story:
“Our Galapagos research began when we attended an American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Francisco in 1973 where the focus was Galapagos. At the time, we were both teaching biology — Don at a community college and Sandi in high school. We were intrigued about the possibility of contributing in some way, as both our Master’s theses were in organismal biology (fish and amphibians). At the meeting we met Dagmar Werner, who was currently studying the Galapagos lava lizard, and we offered to volunteer (and pay all our expenses) to be involved with her research. She added us to her permit and assigned us to work on Española Island in autumn, as she was always teaching at that time and was interested in comparing her results with what we might find. We were both granted sabbaticals from our teaching assignments for September – December 1974.
Dagmar sent us some equipment and instructions, and we managed to procure other equipment at the Charles Darwin Research Station after we arrived. We spent from October 2 until November 17 on Española camping on the beach, and bringing all our food and water with us. After a week at the station to re-supply our food and water, we spent 11 days on South Plaza compiling our data, we departed for home on December 9th. All told, it was a marvelous experience and life-changing in many ways. As we read about today’s Galapagos, it is hard to believe how different it is now. In Puerto Ayora there was one dusty unpaved street, a few guest houses, and a general store where we were able to buy a few canned goods to take on each project.”
We’d love to hear from our intrepid supporters and learn about your Galapagos adventures. Thank you, Don and Sandi, for more than thirty years of support and this delightful story.
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