Andean Discovery’s Endemic & Native Plant Garden was created to help preserve the natural ecosystem in Galapagos and to regenerate areas that have been affected by introduced species. With technical support from the Charles Darwin Foundation, we have selected species that are native to the “humid zone” in the highlands of San Cristóbal Island, where our Garden is located. Andean Discovery supports the Darwin Foundation by purchasing plants from its native and endemic nursery. The Garden is part of Andean Discovery’s Galapagos Private Camps, which boast panoramic ocean views.
Thanks to student, family, and individual volunteers, we are constantly expanding the Garden and making a noticeable impact on the landscape in San Cristóbal. All Galapagos visitors and local “Galapagueños” are welcome to join us in our efforts to preserve this unique ecosystem and to create awareness in local and international communities about the threats posed by humans in the Archipelago. Guests staying at our Private Galapagos Camp have the opportunity to leave a positive trace in Galapagos and reduce their carbon footprint by dedicating an hour or more of their time to planting endemic and native species.
Why The Endemic & Native Plant Garden?
The human presence in the Galapagos Islands has had an adverse effect on its unique flora and fauna by whalers and pirates for more than four centuries. When the first colonizers arrived in Galapagos in the 19th Century, the effect on the environment was compounded; the human population increased and plants and animals were introduced and replaced native and endemic species. For example, introduced rats, feral cats, dogs, and pigs ate the eggs or young of the native birds and reptiles. By the time the Ecuadorian government declared the Galapagos Islands a National Park in 1959, three of the 14 species of tortoises were gone forever and populations of others tortoises were near extinction. Some of these alterations of the natural ecosystem started being reversed due to the efforts of the National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation, which was created in the same year. Dedicated to research and conservation efforts in Galapagos, the Darwin Foundation inaugurated the Charles Darwin Research Station in 1965, which, to this day, plays a key role in local, national, and international partnerships to conserve Galapagos.