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Ms. Carol Townsend and Dr. Charles “Jay” Cole may very well win the prize for most visits to the Galapagos Islands, having made more than 25 trips! Carol and Jay, both biologists with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), made their first trip to the Islands with AMNH in 1981 and returned most recently with their family in 2014. According to Carol, “We never think of a visit as the last one!”
Carol and Jay learned of Galapagos Conservancy a few decades ago while visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station, and have been impressed with the success of tortoise conservation efforts over the years. “It is wonderful to think of tortoise populations being restored to historical numbers — a Galapagos we will never see, but something exciting to support!” They also believe that the future of Galapagos conservation depends on local education. “Galapagos Conservancy’s educational program to inform Galapagos residents will help develop local and national interest in conserving the islands.”
Carol and Jay are long-time supporters of Galapagos Conservancy, having been loyal members since 1993. In addition to making annual gifts, they also have been generous monthly contributors in our Galapagos Guardians Society since 2008. And as the ultimate demonstration of their commitment to Galapagos conservation, they have joined our Legacy Society, designating a portion of their estate to Galapagos Conservancy in their will.
According to Jay, “Watching Galapagos Conservancy at work over many years, we wish all members would double their annual contributions. Their money would be put to good use!” Galapagos Conservancy is grateful for their unwavering financial support and vote of confidence. A special thank you to Carol and Jay for their continued commitment to the conservation and preservation of the wild and wonderful Galapagos Islands!
For more than 50 years, Judie Muggia has been an active member of the Winchester, MA community, serving on the town’s Board of Selectmen and supporting numerous causes and organizations. Judie has also been active in the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador — a second home to Judie, as her husband grew up in Quito before traveling to the States to study and practice medicine.
In 1998, Judie founded Galapagos Direct, a tour business specializing in personalized travel to Galapagos and mainland Ecuador. She has always been a strong believer that it is important for the Galapagos tourism industry to support conservation and to play a role in protecting the Islands. “I believe that it is incumbent upon those of us who derive both pleasure and income from introducing people to the Galapagos Islands to give back. We must both educate our clients about the fragility and importance of the islands and share our time and financial resources with local programs that ensure the long-term protection of this world treasure.”
Over the years, Judie supported a number of different education and community conservation initiatives in Galapagos, including training in different fields for promising local youths and formative after-school programs. But she was always looking for a way to have a more strategic and profound impact. In 2013, Judie contacted Galapagos Conservancy and shared her belief that education is the key for long-term conservation in the Islands. She learned about GC’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Program, which was in the early stages of development, and agreed to fund two scholarships through Galapagos Conservancy to sponsor students at the Tomás de Berlanga School, which is being developed as a demonstration school for the Islands.
In 2014, Judie helped move the ESD Program forward by funding a participatory planning process in which a team of education experts from Ecuador, the US, and Mexico worked closely with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education and the Galapagos education community to develop a roadmap for deep educational reform in the Islands. Recently, she agreed to fund the Program Director/Educational Leadership Coach who will put these ideas into action, later this year.
“For me, someone who has been looking for years for an effective way to invest in local education, the ESD Program is a dream come true! The key to its success will be the commitment of Galapagos Conservancy’s leadership to establish a partnership for lasting education reform that involves the Galapagos-based Scalesia Foundation, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education, a talented team of international education experts, local teachers and school directors, and local families in the islands.”
Judie is retiring from the tourism industry this summer, but she remains committed to ensuring that Galapagos youth are educated to understand and assume a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable society in the Islands. GC’s work in this area would be impossible without her vision and commitment.
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