Darwin Station on the Precipice

The non-profit Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS), the oldest and largest scientific operation in the Galapagos Islands and an iconic visitor site, is at a high risk of forever closing its doors before the end of 2014 according to its director, and CNH Tours friend, Swen Lorenz. 

Why?  It boils down to the sticks being put in its fundraising wheels by the local mayor Leopoldo Bucheli, who is under pressure by small t-shirt shop owners to prevent the Station to operate its own Station store.   The recently refurbished store opened in May this year, selling almost exclusively Ecuadorian products.  The unrestricted funds so generated were part of a strategy developed three years ago to deal with the major cash-flow issues at the Station, which runs a $3million annual operating budget (it's internet connection alone costs $3,500 per month, let alone the high cost of electricity, water supply, maintenance, management of large collections of animal and plant collections, the most important research library on Galapagos in the world, waterfront facilities etc. etc.).

The Station, previous run by intelligent and well meaning scientists, had gradually been run to the ground over the past 10 years for lack of concerted attention to the bottom line.  In 2011, Swen Lorenz stepped in as a volunteer at first, recognizing the tremendous turn-around potential of the Station.  A London financier, Swen had a knack for business and succeeded in dealing with many of the financial "hangover" issues he had inherited.  The Station store was on track to get back into the black, relying in good part on the generation of up to US$300,000 of unrestricted cash flow per year from the Shop, to cover all those costs associated in the operation of a remote research station, and that are hard to pay for from research grants or for other fund-raising efforts.  

CDF urgently needs your support.

A fundraising plan is in place to raise signficant funds to transform the Station. However unless the Station raises funds now, its entire operation will not survive until the end of 2014.

​The Charles Darwin Foundation needs to raise $1,000,000 before the end of 2014 to avoid bankruptcy and secure funding to continue our work in protecting these Islands and their natural inhabitants.

Please, to enable nature and science to have a voice in Galapagos:

  • Donate what you can using this link here
  • Purchase a CDF online membership here
  • Share our cause with your friends and supporters online by downloading our fundraising and awareness media pack: here 

CNH Tours donated $1,000 to the Station a few months ago this year, and we are encouraging others to help in any way they can to ensure that this beacon of good science.

You may also wish to send a note to the town of Puerto Ayora's mayor, letting him know that without the Station working in town, you would see no reason to visit Puerto Ayora at all during your Galapagos cruise and ask him not to obstruct the Station store operations.

Leopoldo Bucheli:  leopoldobucheli@hotmail.com

Let's be sure the sign below can be removed soon.

CDRS Closing sign

 

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