In the remote Galápagos Islands, 100 dedicated women serve on the frontlines to protect the archipelago’s natural wonders, working as park rangers in the Galápagos National Park Directorate (GNPD). Among these environmental stewards is marine biologist Jenifer Suárez, a 36-year-old Galapagueña who passionately safeguards the precious coral reefs surrounding the islands.
As a child, Jenifer dreamed of exploring the mysteries of the sea. After earning her degree in biology with the help of a scholarship, she worked for several years in marine research at the Charles Darwin Foundation, where she gained expertise in Galápagos marine biodiversity. In 2014, Jenifer took on a pivotal role in marine ecosystem monitoring at the GNPD, spearheading a project supported by Galápagos Conservancy to recover coral reefs in select areas of the Galápagos Marine Reserve (GMR).
Jenifer’s work often has her plunging into the ocean’s depths to collect essential data and assess coral health. While the role can be demanding, it is also profoundly rewarding. Every dive, every data point, contributes to conserving the unparalleled beauty of Galápagos.
Recognizing the critical importance of corals for marine health, Galápagos Conservancy is pleased to support Jenifer’s groundbreaking project, which involves establishing underwater nurseries in Academy Bay, Santa Cruz Island. These nurseries promote coral reproduction and growth, aiding the regeneration of vital areas in the GMR. The endeavor not only bolsters marine ecosystems but also supports local communities and industries, paving the way for a sustainable marine future.
Jenifer believes in the adage, “No one can protect what they don’t know.” She’s committed to enlightening her community about the wonders of Galápagos ecosystems, particularly the coral reefs. By drawing attention to the privilege of living in such a unique habitat, she hopes to instill a sense of responsibility and pride among the islanders.
Jenifer’s story exemplifies the pivotal role women play in environmental conservation. As guardians of Galápagos’ terrestrial and underwater treasures, their passion and perseverance are driving positive change in the islands and far beyond their shores.