The Charles Darwin Foundation was established in 1959 under Belgium law, the same year that the Galapagos National Park was created and the 100th anniversary of the publication The foundation has served as a leader in conservation for the Galapagos as well as conducting much needed educational and research work.
The Charles Darwin Research Station was created on in 1964, and has contributed to the culture of the Galapagos through its programs and opportunities for scientists to study the islands. Thousands of visitors make the trek to the station each month to learn more about the fragile eco-system that is home to a shocking number of plant and animal species.
CDF exists through funds donated by private sponsors; currently the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Galapagos Conservatory and the contribute significant funds each year to help the foundation pay for its research and conservation efforts.
CDF’s work has helped to and land iguanas through breeding programs. One recent effort to continue this work has focused on a captive breeding program for mangrove finches, which successfully produced offspring in 2014. Other projects have been instrumental in stopping the growth of non-native plant species like the blackberry bush while working as an advisor to National and state governments.
On the educational front, the Charles Darwin Foundation promotes its programs in local schools and has provided school scholarships for Ecuadorian students in an effort to involve more citizens who have higher education. In a partnership with Coast to Coast Education, CDF also contributes to a 12 day program in the islands for students to learn about the Galapagos and its creatures first hand, spending time exploring the archipelago and at the research station.
Other much needed work that the foundation is involved in protects sharks from being illegally fished, and concentrates on catching those who “farm” sharks for their fins. On the research side, the CDF reviews scientific proposals from experts worldwide who want to investigate life in the Galapagos.
Today, the Charles Darwin Foundation is facing a crossroads and needs further funding to continue its crucial work in the Galapagos Islands. Visiting the provides information about its work, offers people the opportunity to make a donation, sign up for a membership that gives exclusive access to the foundation and its research, or to adopt a species that is currently being targeted.