SST dean visits Galapagos Islands for mission trip
Ron Carter, PhD, dean of SST, hands the principal of Colegio Adventista Loma Linda, Galapagos Islands, a plaque commemorating Lester Harris, PhD.
Ron Carter, PhD, dean of the School of Science and Technology (SST), has been to the Galapagos Islands before. But that was for all work and no play. As a biologist, Dr. Carter would race off to a small island for research until the night before leaving, never getting a chance to actually tour the islands. This time his trip was different.
From August 10 to 20, Dr. Carter participated in a mission trip with World Health Services (WHS), under the leadership of Richard Bendall, EdD, president and founder of WHS. Many LLU alumni took part in this trip, as well as School of Nursing faculty member Ann Yukl, PhD, RN, and nursing student Melissa Japas.
The team provided health screenings and lectures to more than 1,000 locals on the Galapagos Islands. Dr. Carter participated by giving glucose and cholesterol tests.
In addition, he revisited the Charles Darwin Station to provide them with copies of Iguana: Biology and Conservation, a book he co-edited and authored with Bill Hayes, PhD, MS, professor of biology, SST. Some of the chapters in the book came from research done in the Galapagos.
Dr. Carter also talked with the director of an NGO organization called Galapagos ICE (Immerse Connect Evolve) about returning in the future to conduct an education workshop for local grade school students regarding conservation and their need to become good stewards of their national treasure—the Galapagos Islands.
“Much is said about research and conservation on the islands. The Galapagos is an international nature treasure, but the local people don’t feel involved,” says Dr. Carter. Both he and Dr. Hayes have conducted similar educational programs in the Caribbean to the local students and community leaders.
And, if all of that work wasn’t enough, he also met with the mayor of Puerto Ayora, and health and education leadership. “We talked about the health screening process, health findings, and ways we could assist in the evaluation of their local health care system,” explains Dr. Carter.
In addition, he honored Lester E. Harris, PhD, former professor at La Sierra University and Columbia Union College (CUC). “He was an icon for CUC’s biology program, and the reason that I am a biologist today,” shares Dr. Carter. He presented a sermon written by Dr. Harris on Sabbath evening for the occasion.
At the end of the presentation, Dr. Carter gave the school, Colegio Adventista Loma Linda, a plaque from LLU that honored Dr. Harris.
Despite all the work Dr. Carter did on this trip, he also found some time to relax. “This trip I spent each morning hiking and meditating, taking pictures, and enjoying God’s creation,” he says. “This was refreshing to my soul.”
By Patricia Thio