Professor and Chair of the Undergraduate Studies program at Antioch University Santa Barbara Dawn A. Murray, PhD, led an eco-cultural trip to the Galapagos Islands in December 2018. Murray is a marine biologist and a board member of The Tribal Trust Foundation, preserving global indigenous cultures. She has studied deep-sea jellies and the effects of climate change on intertidal communities. She recently returned from a year teaching in Bhutan, Costa Rica, and the Galapagos and was thrilled to have the opportunity to share the amazingly biologically diverse land and seascape with a group of Antioch students.
The weeklong trip, from December 9th to December 16th, 2018 was a 3-credit course intended to promote lifelong learning and transformative, immersive experiences such as snorkeling, hiking, and walking. “Going to the Galapagos with Dawn Murray was a once in a lifetime experience,” said student Gioia Marchese. “I was challenged mentally and physically and returned home feeling proud of myself and forever touched by the journey. Seeing up close a place where life is simple and natural ecosystems are protected, where humans and animals coexist in harmony was truly inspiring.”
Highlights of the trip included watching marine iguanas cross the road to get from the estuary to the ocean at lunchtime in Isabela Island Galapagos and walking through caves that were formed by volcanic activity. The group participated in a community clean up and picked up over 3,500 cigarette butts and six huge bags of trash in two hours. They helped with data collection for the town’s proposal to add butt receptacles and an educational campaign about trash.