An Evening In The Marine

By the Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT)

Galapagos Day

Galapagos Day © Bex Heaton

Last week we dived into the Galapagos Marine Reserve with many of our supporters at Galapagos Day 2015. Galapagos Day is our annual supporters’ event held at the Royal Geographical Society in London. This year the theme for the event was marine conservation…

Hidden away in the stunning historic Lowther Lodge, owned by RGS, is a delightfully modern theatre where our 350 guests settled for a series of talks, hosted by GCT Chairman, Dr Mark Collins. We were delighted to introduce our new CEO, Sharon Johnson, to our guests. After only a couple of days in the office, Sharon was thrown in at the deep end, but stepped up to give a wonderfully warm welcome to our audience.

As we dived into the evening, first up on stage was our own projects manager, Jen Jones. Jen took us on a whistle-stop tour of the marine reserve, sharing interesting facts on the different marine habitats, and filling the audience in on our latest updates from our projects in Galapagos.

James Brickell Talk

James Brickell Talk © Holly Forsyth

Our first guest speaker was James Brickell, a wildlife filmmaker and head of the BBC Natural History Dive Unit. James spoke about the perils of underwater filmmaking, showing us some incredible footage from his past exploits. He captivated our audience with humorous tales of diving misadventures with his film team, including one particularly entertaining story featuring Steve Backshall being harassed by a group of steller sea lions.

Monty Halls Talk_Bex Heaton

Monty Halls Talk © Bex Heaton

Up next was GCT’s President, Monty Halls. Monty took us back through time, and told our audience about his journey from joining the marines as a teenager, to becoming a world class explorer and TV presenter. We were riveted by his tales of his experiences being accepted in small communities whilst filming for Great Escapes and The Fisherman’s Apprentice. Monty spoke about the importance of utilising and engaging the local community in conservation projects for achieving long term results. For without the knowledge and expertise of the local people, the work GCT supports in Galapagos simply could not happen.

Throughout the evening, our guests had the chance to view a selection of artefacts from Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle voyage, including various maps, books and notes made by Darwin himself. We had a gallery display of the winning images from our 2015 Galapagos Photography Competition and some lucky guests walked away with some great prizes from our raffle. Our sustainability and education displays offered up everything from facts and figures on plastic pollution both here and the in the UK to tips for recycling your used tea bags. So there was definitely plenty to see!

Whilst the evening was a fantastic opportunity for us to catch up with old members and meet our newest supporters, the real cause of the evening was to raise vital funds for the Galapagos Future Fund, a platform for supporting research and conservation projects in Galapagos. So, thank you to everyone who attended Galapagos Day 2015, your contribution is greatly appreciated, and we hope you had a fantastic evening. A special thank you goes to all our volunteers who helped us out on the night – we couldn’t have done it without you!

If this sounds like your kind of event, sign up to our GCT monthly newsletter to get notifications for all our future events. Alternatively, you can keep an eye on our event page on the website, where we post event details.

Galapagos Day 2015 was sponsored by Steppes Travel, provider of luxury holidays.

The Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT) is the only UK registered charity to focus exclusively on the conservation and sustainability of the Galapagos Archipelago.


Guests_Bex Heaton

Guests enjoying the evening © Bex Heaton

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Ambassador for Ecuador_Holly Forsyth

Ambassador for Ecuador © Holly Forsyth