Doreen is not your typical 82 year old. She's adventurous and spunky beyond belief. Her idea of fun is to travel for a day and a half from Canada to the Galapagos Islands and then take part in hikes, tours, and snorkeling. She kept up with her daughter and her grandchildren, and sometimes even led the way.
One of the first stops when the family reaches Santa Cruz Island was a rehabilitation and breeding centre for giant Galapagos tortoises. These animals had once been pushed to the brink of extinction. Thanks to centres like this one, their populations have rebounded and these wonderful creatures have made a comeback. They now roam free on the island and live and breed as nature intended. This sanctuary allows the tortoises to live a more protected life and to benefit from the social advantages provided by more concentrated populations. The young are also raised in a protected environment to allow for a greatly increased survival rate. Otherwise, predation by birds, rats, and wild dogs would present serious challenges to the populations.
Along with breeding programs, the centre provides educational opportunities with displays such as this one where guests are able to touch and even climb inside the shells of tortoises. This experience provides a very interesting chance to fully understand the enormous size of the animals as well as the weight of their giant shells.
Noit missing a chance to take part in the fun and to entertain her family, Doreen not only manages to wriggle inside the shell, and back out, but she does so while playfully refusing the help of her grand kids. Doreen is a great sport and a constant source of inspiration to her family. Despite being a little past middle aged, she hasn't slowed down much. Doreen has been a big part of this family's adventures for many years.