Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation Inc.

Rating: 4.97 stars   29 reviews

Issues: Technology, Education, Environment

Location: 1202 Williamson St. Madison WI 53703 USA

Mission: Tropical habitats contain 50% of the world’s biodiversity, yet are threatened by accelerating rates of deforestation.  Most of the remaining unprotected lands are privately held, and new means are needed to conserve these forests.  Ceiba works to protect habitat and the biodiversity found there through a combination of land purchase and legal conservation agreements, public education about the value of wild nature, and encouragement of new means for landowners to sustainably earn a living while safeguarding habitat on their property.
Geographic areas served: Ecuador, South America
Programs: - Forest Partners program - Lalo Loor Dry Forest reserve - El Pahuma Orchid reserve - Tropical Ecosystems: Andes to Amazon summer field course - Tropical Conservation Semester: Galapagos, Andes and Amazon study abroad program

2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Today marks the last day of the Tropical Conservation Semester 2014 and I can honestly say these past 5 months have been the happiest and most fulfilling I have ever known. The professors make a huge effort to keep the program interesting and fun. We have gone to the most beautiful ecosystems known to man. Tiputini Biodiversity Station is the most amazing place on earth. The Galapagos was also mind blowing. Honestly the other trips were also mind blowing. The actual coursework is manageable and the tests are fair. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I participated in a summer tropical ecology study abroad program in Ecuador with Ceiba. It was the most amazing month of my life. They taught us about a broad range of ecosystems: plants, animals, insects, climate. As well as teaching us about the social and economic issues involved with protecting ecosystems in developing countries. The professors are intimately involved in protecting these amazingly biodiverse places with close involvement with the native people whose homes and livelihoods depend on these places. Further, they were spectacular teachers. Any and every question was welcomed and answered and every moment, activity, sighting, was turned into a teaching moment. It was truly a living classroom. My experience with Ceiba changed my life. When I returned to the U.S. I changed majors to Environmental Studies and today am in grad school in environmental studies as well. Ceiba is REMARKABLE..both in their education and environmental protection work.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

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Rating: 5 stars  

Studying abroad in Ecuador with the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation was the best decision I ever made with regards to my education. The program plunged me into many different areas of science and I saw hands-on conservation strategies going on right now around the world. With the help of my professors and others involved with Ceiba I was able to conform any of my assignments into something I was interested in. Whether you are interested in animals, plants, the community, the environment or anything you want to pursue, its possible through Ceiba.
My favorite memory was one of my first weekends in Ecuador. Our group went to Ceiba's El Pahuma orchid reserve. I was walking up a steep climb for over an hour, exhausted from carrying my pack. With every step up the mountain the clouds became thicker and the vegetation lusher. When we got to the top I remember seeing a giant bromeliad and a tree fern engulfed in fog. The scenery was magnificent, like a step back in time. I don't know if I ever would have had an experience quite like it if I hadn't decided to study abroad with Ceiba.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make the program one year long instead of only a semester.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Lucky to be a part of this world and to see all it has to offer before it gets even more degraded and impacted by humans.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

Studying with the Ceiba Foundation in Ecuador was my most rewarding educational experience. I was thoroughly impressed with how well the Foundation was organized and able to honor its goals of tropical conservation by educating communities in Ecuador as well as American university students.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

studying various ecosystems across Ecuador and taking part in local conservation projects

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

increase its funding !

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I volunteered with the Ceiba Foundation at their Orchid Reserve just outside of Quito, Ecuador. After many years of working with a local family, Ceiba created a locally owned reserve where the land-owners were able to self-manage (and conserve!) precious montane forest that would have otherwise been destroyed. Their method of conservation can succeed in the long-run because it has personal incentives for the local people involved. Ceiba is a wonderful organization working for conservation in a country that has some of the most precious landscape remaining!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

visiting the reserves protected by the Foundation and seeing rare species and abundant plant life.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

I had an excellent experience as a student on the Ceiba Foundation's Tropical Conservation Semester program. The course offers a unique combination of cultural immersion and practical instruction in field ecology. Students are paired with host-families in Quito, where they get an intimate experience of Ecuadorean culture and an intense sink-or-swim Spanish language immersion. Classroom lectures give students a nuanced perspective on biodiversity and evolution. Group discussions explored many of the complex social and ecological challenges of conservation programs in developing nations, with a sensitive look at the interests and agency of the indigenous population.

The program's time in the field constitutes a second kind of cultural immersion. Students explore an incredible diversity of landscapes. They learn to identify the organisms, observe patterns, become comfortable in the field, and design and execute experiments.

The program culminates in a month-long internship with the conservation-related organization of the student's choice. It is a phenomenal opportunity for hands-on, direct action, and it endows students with a sense that they have the capacity to affect positive change. It also provides them with unique insights into the human experience of poverty in an environment rich in endangered natural resources.

Above all, they grow their own visceral sense of biophilia; the experience as a whole nurtures a deep appreciation for the intrinsic value of biodiversity. Students will carry this appreciation with them to any future career, and it will color their opinions about conservation and their decisions as workers, donors, citizens, and voters. I cannot overstate my gratitude to the Ceiba Foundation for my experience as a student, and I cannot recommend the program highly enough.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I spent several weeks at conservation sites managed by the Ceiba Foundation. They maintain the integrity of precious ecosystems, offer a unique educational and recreational experience for visitors, and establish a mutually beneficial relationship with the owners of the site.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I have no complaints. The organization's model is so admirable that I only wish it had the resources to expand the scope of its operations.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Absolutely. I made many cherished new friendships. I improved my Spanish language ability, learned to identify and appreciate flora and fauna in novel ways, learned the fundamentals of organic agriculture, and designed and executed field experiments.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

I radically reassessed my concept of what I was capable of, what changes I could affect in the world, and how happy I could be.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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Rating: 5 stars  

I studied abroad with Ceiba the spring semester of 2010 and long story short it was a life changing semester. I met really great people who I'm still in contact with including students from the trip and both of my host families. Traveling to the cloud forest, paramo, dry forest, rainforest and the galapagos. At the end of the classwork we all had internships of our interest. I worked in the cloud forest with 2 Ecuadorian students collecting caterpillars and studying there parasitoids. My months in Ecuador were life changing and I learned so much. Before my trip I never understood how important conservation and all the facets that are needed to make a successfull program.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

A further understanding in tropical ecology and conservation. I've also taken more interest in environmental education and ecotourism and in January will leave to Guatemala for two years. My experience with Ceiba was a great factor in making this decision.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn't change anything

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Rating: 5 stars  

Cieba is a fantastic organization that far exceeded my expectations. Not only do the two founders do an amazing job at helping students learn as much as possible but they also are huge contributors to the local community and offer an amazing foundation of support.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

personal relationships with the professors and those in Ecuador that have directly benefited from their kindness and support

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make sure that more university students outside of U of Wisconsin knew about this program! Thanks Joe and Cath!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I was able to travel with Ceiba to Ecuador for a semester long tropical conservation program. It was an experience of a lifetime. Not only was I taught to appreciate the wildlife but I was also introduced to a culture extremely different than my own. I see the world differently now and am truly a better person because of it.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

A semesters worth of education and a lifetimes worth of knowledge.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn't change a thing.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The trip was just like entering into the discovery channel. We went all the way to the Amazon, saw parrots, sloths, snakes, armadillos, river dolphins, frogs, peccaries, Ceiba trees, and so much more while learning about the ecosystem of the rainforest. With hands on mini experiments, we learned more than we could ever by reading a text book because while we were there, in addition to the science course, we saw the impacts of humans, how locals viewed the forest, and how the government and corporations are changing the landscape.
But this is maybe like 20% of the trip. It gets better, much better.
The Galapagos, after the cold nights in Quito, was like a vacation inside a 'vacation'. And I say vacation, because even though we learned A LOT, it was much much more fun than the amount we learned. The instructors have experience, they know how things are done, they know what they're talking about, and they know how to enliven their students. The internship at the end was a very nice way to tie up all that we had learned and to use it practically in a way that each of us wanted to, because we could choose from a variety of programs dealing with a variety of things. There was a lot of freedom for such a structured program, which I personally loved.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the direction i plan to go after graduation and my ability to speak Spanish.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

... I enjoyed every part of it.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I was a student studying abroad with Ceiba and it was undoubtedly the most influential and amazing semester of my college career. The things I learned and the people I met changed my life. My favorite parts were getting to see and experience the conservation projects that Ceiba has undertaken in the country and the huge impact that each project has had on the communities in which they have been located. Ceiba is an amazing organization.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The impact that Ceiba had made on my outlook on life. They have changed the way I view different cultures,conservation efforts, and the impact that I can make in the world. I learned an amazing amount from Ceiba and its workers.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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