Thursday, November 29, 2007


The CDF’s General Assembly 2007 good news


Release Date: November 19th 2007

Contact: Ivonne Guzmán

Email: / (593) 5 2526-146/147 ext. 142 (+593) 99 4818 93


The CDF’s General Assembly 2007 good news

This year Santa Cruz, Galapagos, experienced a CDF General Assembly meeting like never before. The assembly meetings included a public event in the agenda with local participation in a symposium about the past, present and future of the CDF and Galapagos. Various Assembly members, scientists and local representatives presented talks on topics to offer the community the opportunity to know more about the CDF, critical issues in the archipelago, and the chance to ask questions directly to the presenters. This event helped build more participation and communication between the CDF and the community.

Another outcome of the General Assembly meeting was the election of new members to the CDF Board. The CDF is proud to welcome four people who bring great interest and experience to help CDF’s mission of science for conversation of Galapagos.

The new members are Randal Keynes, the great-great grandson of Charles Darwin who is very active in the educational field and will link the archipelago’s schools with British schools’; Maria Eulalia Arizaga Balfour, a Galapagos resident with strong connections within the local and national community; Pablo Iturralde, whose strengths are finances and business management; and Rodolfo Rendón, former Minister of the Environment and expert in urban planning and sustainable development.

Retiring from the Board this year are four individuals who have demonstrated their passion for the conservation of Galapagos and for many years have worked hard to further the aims of the CDF. Tui De Roy, Gunther Reck, Eliécer Cruz and His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg. These dedicated conservationists will continue to work for the future of Galapagos in varying ways, including Grand Duke Henri, who is the first member of the recently created CDF President’s Council.

One of the most notable items introduced in the Assembly agenda was the planned renovation and expansion of the bi-institutional National Park / Charles Darwin Foundation visitor facilities. The objective is to work with partners in the design of the visitor experience that will meet both the expectations of foreign and Ecuadorian tourists and create a facility that will more effectively engage the local community in conservation of Galapagos. This world-class facility will use state-of-the-art technology to create interpretative exhibits and expand its overall exhibition space to improve understanding of the natural history of Galapagos and the work of the CDF and the Galapagos National Park Service.

In addition, sixty new native trees were planted as part of the final activities of the 36th Charles Darwin Foundation General Assembly meeting. Members of the Assembly and CDF staff worked together in the Foundation’s nursery located in the town of Bellavista in the highlands of Santa Cruz. Each person planted a tree and shared an unforgettable moment while contributing to the nursery’s experimental native garden.

Finally, the Charles Darwin Foundation remembered one of its past presidents by naming the Conference Room after Miguel Cifuentes, one of the conservation leaders of Galapagos, who passed away a few months ago. A memorial service was also held in his honor and was attended by Miguel Cifuentes’ wife Rosita and son, Daniel.

This new format of the annual General Assembly meeting was a resounding success and created a much richer context in which the Assembly members can partner with the staff of CDF and the local community to help secure the future of Galapagos.

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