The 2004 tour of the Galápagos islands would not have succeeded were it not for the diligent efforts of numerous individuals. The faculty and students of GEOL388 wish to extend their heart-felt gratitude to everyone who helped make this venture a reality. We are particularly indebted to certain individuals:

It is thanks to the example, inspiration, and support of Lee Hellman of College Park Scholars and Assistant Provost Ann Wylie that we even considered organizing this program. Douglas Gill of the Department of Biology provided indispensable insights from his own experiences organizing Galápagos tours.

Grieg Stewart of College Park Scholars, Michael Brown of the Department of Geology, and Assistant Dean Deborah Bryant of the College of Computer, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences provided essential help. They showed us how to navigate the maze of university requirements for the establishing the GEOL388 classes and vigorously supported us in our interactions with the university administration.

For the actual travel arrangements of the excursion, we thank Carina Griisser and the staff of Travel-On of Beltsville MD. With their help, we traveled comfortably and without incident. Our thanks also go to the staff of the Hilton Colón Quito for getting us comfortably to the islands and back. The high educational quality of our experience in the Galápagos was facilitated by the officers and crew of the M/V San José who diligently saw to our comfort, swiftly and safely transported us to our field sites, and went far out of their way both to accomodate our pedagogical requirements and, frankly, to cater to our whimsical requests in ways that they could have refused with perfect justification.

We are, above all, indebted to the guides and consultants whose shared expertise helped us realize the educational potential of this excursion. Luis Rodriguez, our naturalist-guide from the Ecuadorian National Park Service shouldered the excursion's educational burden with fantastic aplomb and charisma, ushering us safely through field sites, explaining their natural history in cogent detail, and educating us about the ongoing struggle to preserve the Galápagos as a natural treasure. As with the officers and crew of the San José, Luis went far beyond what was expected of him, as a guide and as a companion. Thanks!

We are also grateful to the staff of Inca Tours and of Hacienda la Cienega, for facilitating our fantastic day tour of Cotopaxi volcano.

Our sincere gratitude goes to Michael Ulrich of the University of Maryland Study Abroad Office. Without his broad knowledge of the rewards and pitfalls of academic travel and his keen intuition regarding the actual capabilities of students in the field, this program would certainly not have reached as successful a conclusion. We look forward to working with him in the future. (Mwahahaha)

Above all, we are grateful to our wonderful students, who were the best part of the whole thing.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
John W. Merck, Jr.