The Galapagos Islands — a UNESCO World Heritage Site Since 1978

Journalism student Benjamin L. Schwartz, originally from Glenview, Illinois, expects to graduate from Ohio University in 2019. Throughout his time at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Illinois, located on the north shore of Chicago, Ben L. Schwartz enjoyed working for his school-affiliated radio station. Ben Schwartz travels extensively with his family and particularly enjoyed a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

The Galapagos Islands were added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List in 1978. UNESCO encourages the identification, protection, and preservation of cultural and natural heritage sites around the world.

To be included on the list, a site must meet one of 10 stringent criteria. The Galapagos Islands meet four of UNESCO’s criteria:

- The islands have areas that exhibit exceptional natural beauty (criterion vii). The beauty and diversity of the marine life among the coral reefs in the Galapagos Islands is unparalleled anywhere else in the world.

- The islands represent outstanding examples of significant stages of the earth’s history (criterion viii). As geological processes continue to impact and change the Galapagos Islands, clues regarding the origins of the area are continually revealed.

- The islands represent the continual development of ecosystems on land and in water (criterion ix).

- The islands are habitats for endangered and threatened animals (criterion x). Threatened species include 12 native land animals, 36 types of reptiles, and numerous marine animals.

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