Women have long been at the forefront of conservation efforts, and Galápagos is a prime example. Galápagos Conservancy’s Women Investing in Sustainable Entrepreneurship (WISE) grant program has recently provided key support for many female conservationists in Galápagos.
One of the initiatives aiming to create a positive impact is called “More art, less garbage,” led by passionate Galápagos native Mayra Hernández. Mayra’s initiative aims to inspire the community to maintain a cleaner environment by encouraging people to reconsider their daily habits that generate waste.
With the support of Galápagos Conservancy’s WISE grant, she organized 14 workshops that benefited 250 children from Santa Cruz Island, teaching them how to turn plastic waste into art and toys. Mayra’s goal is to expand ”More art, less garbage” to schools and community colleges, reaching parents through their children. By doing so, she hopes to raise awareness about the harmful effects of plastic waste in Galápagos and demonstrate how it can be transformed into art.
Galápagos resident Mirian Silva is another WISE grant recipient for her “Native Gardens” project, which focuses on conserving native and endemic plant species on Santa Cruz Island. In addition to providing plants to local educational institutions, she aims to protect iconic flora by reforesting green areas in schools. Galápagos Conservancy supports projects like Mirian’s to contribute to the sustainability of Galápagos.
Despite the critical contributions of these and other female conservationists in Galápagos, they still face various challenges. Women are often underrepresented in leadership roles within conservation organizations, limiting their ability to influence decision-making and shape policy. Additionally, gender-based violence and harassment can create unsafe working environments for women in conservation, hindering their ability to carry out their work effectively.
The achievements of local female leaders in Galápagos, supported by initiatives such as Galápagos Conservancy’s WISE grant program, serve as a powerful reminder of women´s important role in conservation efforts. By recognizing and supporting the contributions of women in this field, we can help to build a more equitable and sustainable future for our planet.