Planet Forward in the Galápagos

In late January 2022, four Planet Forward Storyfest 2020 winners traveled with Lindblad Expeditions to the Galápagos by way of Guayaquil, Ecuador. The journey also marked a return to storytelling expeditions for Planet Forward, as it was the first since the pandemic started. Our adventurous travelers, who all in that time had graduated and begun work, were itching to get back out into the world to explore, and share stories. 

Deepti Bansal Gage, Jake Meyers, Cate Twining-Ward, and Avery Van Etten share those stories here, of endemic species and the human inhabitants on the Galápagos, and on changes in protected areas, and how the role of a naturalist has evolved since Charles Darwin's time.

Learn more below — and take a virtual journey of your own... to the Galápagos archipelago.

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Hub Content

A curious Galápagos sea lion swam circles around the lumbering snorkelers invading their waters. (Deepti Bansal Gage)

Planet Forward Senior Correspondent
The Galápagos Islands are famous for being the inspiration of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. These days, legal mechanisms protecting the ecosystems surrounding the islands themselves are also evolving.

A pelican spreads its wings to dry in a darkened alcove in the Galápagos. (Photos by Cate Twining-Ward)

Planet Forward Senior Correspondent
When we think of the Galápagos islands, we think of the incredible biodiversity that once inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution. But what many of us don’t learn about is the humans who also live here.
Planet Forward Senior Correspondent
Endemic species exist in just one geographic location in the world, and the Galápagos Islands are home to many of them, fighting to survive in the place that inspired "survival of the fittest."

Juan Carlos Avila, a naturalist and expedition leader aboard the National Geographic Endeavour II, is also a farmer. (Photo courtesy Juan Carlos Avila)

Planet Forward Senior Correspondent
Juan Carlos Avila grew up on a farm in the Galápagos Islands. Today, he works to help conserve the archipelago as an Expedition Leader and Naturalist Guide aboard the National Geographic Endeavour II.
Associate Director, Planet Forward
It was a trip two years in the making. At the end of January, four graduates who won Planet Forward Storyfest 2020 at long last boarded planes around the country to begin a storytelling adventure with Lindblad Expeditions.