At the beginning of August, a group of adventure-seeking PALCS students and high school science teacher Mrs. Emily Intelicato made their way to the Galapagos Islands for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The 10 day trip allowed students to walk in Darwin’s footsteps to explore the historic islands and sites.

A handful of PALCS students ranging from grades 8-12 attended the trip that took place from Tuesday, August 1, through Wednesday, August 9, 2017. Students were immersed in educational topics and disciplines, such as biology, social studies, geography and earth science.

Video showing scenes from the PALCS Student Trip to the Galapagos. View on YouTube.

The students began their extended stay trip by flying in to Quito, Eduador, to learn about its culture and history. They meet their tour director and explored sites that Quito had to offer, including the Intinan Museum and Government Palace. They learned about native inhabitants, the Incas, who lived in the region before it was heavily populated. They even had a chance to pose for photos on the Equator and stand on both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. Students also learned about the equator in terms of its native meaning, “Middle Earth.”

They then flew to Baltra and began their exploration of the islands. They visited the largest of the Galapagos Islands, Isabela Island, where they had the chance to go on a volcano walk and visit the Charles Darwin Research Institute. They learned how the islands were created through volcanic action. During their trip to a breeding center, they were even able to see giant tortoises, and while snorkeling, they saw sea lions, flamingos, penguins and iguanas.

Next up was Santa Cruz Island, where visited the Santa Cruz Highlands and saw tortoises in the wild. On days 6 and 7, they traveled to San Cristobal Island where they hiked up the Tijeretas Hill and visited the interpretation center. While there, they snorkeled and walked along the La Loberia Beach. They talked about how living things interact and influence one another in ecosystems, discussed how populations change due to outside influences such as over-hunting, and learned to explain aquatic and land biomes in terms of their biodiversity by hiking and snorkeling.

Returning to Quito, Ecuador for their final day, they explored several volcanoes and had a chance to get a glimpse into traditional Andean culture. With their trip coming to an end, they flew back to Philadelphia, forever inspired from their journey.

A huge thank you to Mrs. Emily Intelicato for organizing this wonderful trip and journeying with our students to explore the islands, as well as the students’ families and hardworking parents for allowing them this wonderful opportunity! In addition to the YouTube video, you can view a photo slideshow of the trip here.