Darwin Tour: A century-old ship sets sail on a two-year voyage

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In Stanley Harbor in the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, an unusual ship is docked on a very special voyage.

The 106-year-old, three-masted sloop Osterschild is on a two-year voyage following in the footsteps of British naturalist Charles Darwin, nearly 200 years after he embarked on his famous voyage on the HMS Beagle that inspired his theory of evolution.

The Osterschild ship departed from Plymouth, England, last August to sail a simplified version of the Darwin route from England to Australia.\

The ship will call at 32 ports around the world, including major locations visited by Darwin, such as the Galapagos Islands and the Falkland Islands. Its mission is to empower young conservationists.

A British geographer and natural history writer named Stuart Macpherson co-founded the Darwin200 Global Voyage.

He was inspired to do so by a meeting more than 10 years ago with Cayman Islands conservationist Fred Burton, who had launched a project to save blue iguanas.

“I have always loved Charles Darwin, and his work, and it is clear that Darwin changed the world with his mind,” MacPherson said. “The main message of Darwin200 is that it is not too late,” MacPherson added. “We can still change tomorrow’s world for the better.”

The ship carries a specialized team of 8 individuals, including an ornithologist, a science educator, a marine biologist, a journalist, and 7 other crew members, including sailors.

While in each port, the crew will be joined by groups of “Darwin Leaders” chosen for their passion for nature conservation and their efforts to protect the planet.

A total of up to two hundred people will participate in a week-long training program on conservation leadership at different stages of the journey.

“We have them partner with an amazing local conservation project, where they learn a lot to take back to their home countries and use in the future,” McPherson said.

Joseph Roy, one of Darwin’s captains from India, traveled to Brazil to join the ship for a week while it was docked in Rio de Janeiro in November.

Having grown up surrounded by the wildlife of the southern Indian state of Kerala, Roy has a long-standing interest in environmental conservation.

Roy is currently studying for a Masters in Ecology at the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Center for Ecology.

For Berlin Natural History Museum researcher Dr Sarah Darwin, a descendant of Charles Darwin and a major supporter of the Darwin200 mission, the project offers hope for a more positive future for the planet.

“Each Darwin leader brings different skills, and they will take with them what they need,” Darwin told CNN.

She added: “(It’s about) being part of a network, giving them the skills to continue their work, and feeling like they’re not alone.”

But the initiative aims to inspire many more people, more than just 200 Darwin leaders.

During the trip, a variety of free outreach activities, called “The World’s Most Exciting Classroom,” are provided to students, teachers, and individuals around the world, with the aim of encouraging curiosity and passion for learning.

Activities include interactive online experiences, live lectures, and interviews with environmentalists and wildlife experts.

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