In 2020, UNC Center for Galapagos Studies, Universidad San Francisco de Quito and the Galapagos Science Center created REACTT which funded 7 local proposals through donations made to GiveUNC. The goal was twofold – to further conservation and island sustainability efforts while also supporting locals in Galapagos during a tough economic time.
“Reforesting My Island,” one of the funded projects, focuses on a sustainable coffee farm and is being led by Nicolas Balon. Out of Nicolas’ nearly twenty-two acre farm, approximately 5 acres has now been dedicated to accomplish his vision of showing that conservation is possible alongside sustainable agriculture. His crop of choice was coffee.
The benefits of Nicolas’ REACCT project are plenty. Besides growing coffee beans that when roasted and ground make a mean cup of coffee or even the broader conservation implications of removing invasive plants and planting endemic species, the funds from REACCT were also able to benefit 4 families who have helped clear and work this land during the trying times of the pandemic.
“These funds not only helped me during the extremely difficult economic times of the pandemic but also other families that relied on tourism for their income. This project gave us hope and continues to provide hope for the future,” said Nicolas.