Kathryn Metzker

Director of Projects and International Programs, Galapagos

Why IOI:

Metzker profile pic.jpg

In 2012 as a University of Miami undergraduate student, I studied abroad in Galapagos with IOI. I loved the academic and cultural experiences—studying turtle behavior, learning to make ceviche, and understanding how IOI and the community contribute to a healthy ecosystem for all on Isabela. I told my mother in jest that I wanted to leave school to work full-time with the team in Galapagos; she said that if it was meant to be, a position would open after I finished my degree. It took a few extra years, but in the end, that actually happened. I seized the opportunity to join the IOI team because their philosophy and practice of working with, for, and as part of the community resonates with mine.

My IOI role:

I started working for IOI in early 2018. As Director of Projects and International Programs, every day brings something different. I lead conservation, education and community outreach projects, so you might find me talking to national park rangers, meeting with staff at the ministry of agriculture, or holding a class for the fishers’ co-op. I might be setting up veterinary clinics, planning an environmental education curriculum for schoolchildren, or visiting farms in my bright yellow boots.

Our international programs include individual volunteers and study abroad. Hosting international volunteers, you might see me with a group monitoring turtle nests at dusk, or pairing volunteers and local farmers for sustainable agriculture projects. On exciting days I accompany study-abroad university students snorkeling in lava tunnels, or hiking to Sulphur mines on an active volcano. Sometimes people even find me behind a desk at a computer.  I love helping visitors explore the Galapagos, learn as much as they can about these beautiful islands, and have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Life prior to IOI:

Love of different cultures, countries, languages and tropical coastal areas have led me to different places and projects. I earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami in Environmental Science and Anthropology and a master’s degree from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in Geography as a Graduate Degree Fellow with the East West Center. Previous research and jobs have led me to study treeline ecology in Alaska, human trafficking survivor-rehabilitation in India, teach organic agriculture in Hawai’i, and work in community development in the Dominican Republic.

Just me:

In each place and in every project, I’ve loved the people. Building community and friendships, and ensuring food security (making sure we all have plenty of fresh, sustainable food to eat) has been part of my life and as part of my family growing up. My friends and family refer to me as a professional adventurer. So living and working in the Galapagos is a wonderful experience!