Tropical escape with botanical artists - 

Reflections on the Galapagos Islands

Beautiful underwater video of sea turtles and giant manta rays, blue-footed boobies and other exotic birds with no fear of humans, brilliantly colored crabs scampering on rocky shores, and giant tortoises. These images from the tropical Galapagos Islands greeted members on a gray January day in Minnesota, at an informal talk by GRC member Carlyn Iverson.  She spent six weeks in the Galapagos in 2016, offering drawing and photography lessons to tour group participants. More recently Carlyn designed an exhibit hall that will be a social and cultural center for both tourists and residents of the Galapagos.
The Galapagos Islands are a Pacific archipelago 563 miles west of the coast of Ecuador, of which they are a part. They are the site of an astonishing diversity of endemic plants and animals  --  that is, species that are found nowhere else in the w
orld. More than 30% of the native plants there are endemic. Charles Darwin made the islands famous in his book The Voyage of the Beagle; his studies of species differentiation there contributed greatly to his theory of evolution by natural selection.
Even though the Galapagos are protected as a national park and marine reserve, this beauty and abundance are fragile. The krill and other tiny nutrients in the sea that form the base of the food chain flow to the Galapagos on cold ocean currents from Antarctica, and these currents may be perturbed by global climate change.
Carlyn Iverson is a professional science and nature illustrator. She is also employed as a data visualizer by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
The talk, open to GRC members and the public, was graciously hosted by the Visitor Center of the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge, in Bloomington.

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