Michael F. Devine, Superintendent
180 Harborview Road
Hull, MA 02045
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Contact: John Guilfoil
Hull High School Students Head to Galapagos Islands for Ecology Project
HULL — Seven Hull High School students will head to the Galapagos Islands this summer as part of an ecology program to conduct field-based research on giant tortoises.
In July, HHS “Galapagoers” — sophomores Olivia Ball, Christina Murphy, Tess Froio, Hannah Duran, Audrey Lofgren, Jimmy Regan and Shelby Craig — will participate in the Galapagos Islands Ecology Program, where they’ll collect data for the Galapagos National Park (GNP) through an adult tortoise monitoring program. The trip is organized by biology teacher Sheila Blair through Ecology Project International
Giant tortoise populations are threatened by invasive species like goats, rats, pigs and ants, in addition to plants that out compete native vegetation critical for tortoise survival.
To carry out conservation efforts, GNP works with students to collect data that better allows them to understand the status of tortoise populations. As part of the project, students will also assist world renowned tortoise experts who are studying tortoise migration and diet.
“We’re extremely excited to be going on this once in a lifetime trip to work with scientists and researchers on the tortoise monitoring program,” Blair said. “Students will have the opportunity to put classroom instruction into practice while immersing themselves in a new culture that they’ve only read about in textbooks.”
HHS students will spend the first four days of the project on the Santa Cruz Island, and will then travel to the tortoise breeding center near Puerto Villamil. Throughout the 12 days on the islands, Galapagoers will complete 40 hours of classes in the following subjects: desert and marine ecology, island biogeography and ecology, conservation and protected-area management, tortoise biology, evolution and species adaptation, introduced versus endemic species and the scientific process.
In between their studies and research, students will have the opportunity to spend time with their peers from the Galapagos and explore the waters and islands through snorkeling, hiking and kayaking.
To assist in funding for Ecology Project International, HHS received $10,500 through fundraising and grant allocations. The trip wouldn’t be possible without the support and extremely generous donations from the Hull PTO and Boosters Club