• Patricia Hernandez

I’m going through all the photos I took while away, and realize that I am missing one type of photograph: portraits. Prior to the trip I had envisioned my project to contain portraits of Ecuadorians and Galapagos residents showing their emotions, and having descriptions that told their stories — kind of like the popular photo blog Humans of New York (http://www.humansofnewyork.com/). I got a few snaps of people at the end, but they were of people in Quito who I’ve never spoken to and don’t know their backgrounds. However, I plan on compensating for this by elaborating on the stories of those people that I did meet. One of these is Patricia Fernandez, our absolutely wonderful tour guide in Ecuador, who is pictured here with my friend Ethan and me. She used to be a school teacher before going into the tourism industry, and gave me some insight into the inevitable development in the Galapagos.

My project still remains the same: to look at the development in the Galapagos, and consequently, the loss of biodiversity, from the vantage point of the residents and to find out what locals think of it. I had the project in the back of my mind throughout the trip, and thanks to the efforts of my trip leaders who helped me translate, I was able to communicate with my homestay families. Armed with the many photos of uninhibited animals on the Islands, I have high hopes for my project as I begin to plan everything and put the pieces together with my mentor.

Until August 5, I will be away on a trip to Brazil with National Geographic, so you won’t hear from me until then! I’m very excited for the trip, because like the GLA trip to the Galapagos, it focuses on my three favorite fields: environmental science, ecology, and conservation biology.

Until then,