ECOLOGY PROJECT INTERNATIONAL

Rating: 4.54 stars   13 reviews

Issues: Animals, Environment

Location: 315 South 4th Street East Missoula MT 59807 USA

Mission: Ecology Project International improves and inspires science education and conservation efforts worldwide through field-based student-scientist partnerships.
Results: Over the last 10 years, EPI has involved over 6,000 people worldwide in conservation and science education at our four field sites. Of these participants, more than 2/3 were local residents, many of whom have also participated in community workshops and conservation activities after the field season.
Target demographics: High school students, ages 14-18, with special emphasis on youth from Costa Rica, Galapagos Islands, Baja California Sur, Mexico, and Montana.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,500
Geographic areas served: Costa Rica, Galapagos Islands, Mexico, Montana
Programs: This program site is situated near one of the world’s most important andactive nesting sites for Leatherback sea turtles. This location putsyouth at the nexus of conservation and local culture, where they will beface-to-face with the environmental, scientific and cultural forcesthat shape the region. Each night during the Leatherback nestingseason, participants accompany instructors and researchers in search ofturtles and their nests to study population trends and protect thenests from tides, poachers and other threats.

During their time in the field, participants volunteer withLatin American conservation institutions conducting vital,difference-making research. Without the work of these groups,Leatherback sea turtles might already be extinct. Students conceive,develop, analyze and present a field-based research project and attendbiology, tropical ecology, art and journaling classes. Scientists willuse this work to help improve conservation efforts for turtles.

More than half of our program participants are Costa Rican. Youth from different countries share perspectives and ideas, learn howturtles fit into Costa Rica's culture, and discover why turtles were valuedhistorically and how that’s evolving. This cultural interaction isoften among the most memorable student experiences.

2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

EPI connects students with scientists and the natural world, inspiring them and giving them the tools to take care of the earth. I have walked in the dark (no flashlights) alonga Carbbean beach monitoring leatherback sea turtles as they emerge from the water to lay their eggs... and I have seen the transformation in the young people I was with, as they took data... counting eggs, measuring the turtle, and learning about this animal and its threatened existence. EPI's experiences leave a profound impact. These students go home motivated to talk to others about not eating turtle eggs, and about preventing plastics and pesticides from polluting the ocean. And they go home with a better understanding of how science works, ready to learn more.

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

seeing one of these students go on to be a science teacher in his community, helping his community be more scientifically literate and committed to conservation.

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

increase the number of students who are able to learn about science and conservation in the field.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I have lived in Costa Rica for most of the last 30 years. I have watched the degradation of the biodiversity and natural environment here, including the forests and the oceans, as the country becomes increasingly

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

The number of nesting leatherback turtles is rising at the Pacuare Nature Preserve for the first time in 10 years. That is the amount of time it takes for a female to begin to reproduce. This is thanks to 10 years of EPI students protecting turtle eggs.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

train tens of thousands of students throughout the Americas to be scientifically literate, active conservationists, and leaders in solving environmental problems including climate change.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

As a biologist and a high school teacher I have found that Ecology Project International (EPI) complement much of what I teach inside the classroom. The trips I have organized with them have helped me provide my students with experiences and expose them to activities that are almost impossible to do during a normal academic year. Their curriculum is intensive, well designed and balanced between field work and class time. Their locations offer access to (natural) resources ideal for science oriented and conservation activities. The professionalism of the instructors cannot be questioned.

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

...the way it has helped the college application process of the students that have taken part of this program. ...the way I teach, I have been able to bring their knowledge and expertise to my school.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

I loved the Galapagos trip I took back in March and April. I worked hard and had a blast meeting new people and learning about everything. It was worth all the hard work to come up with the money and I would trad a lot just to go again. When I was on the Islands I was able to work with little 3 month old turtles and stomp through the forests to measure and take data. The plant species and counting was something I have never done and it was different to see and learn how people have to find and record their data. When we went to see the turtles we were able to go into the baby turtle hatury areas with the 3 month old turtles. Our group had to weigh, measure and record our data for the place. Once all the hard work was done we got to hang out with students at the BEACH!! It was warm, fun and hard to communicate sometimes because I don't know much spanish but we found other ways to communicate. Everyone is so nice and the animals don't run away like they do in my town. I could go on forever but I recomend that anyone who doesn't grab on to this opertunity is going to regret it forever! This was an expirience I will never forget!

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

everything I say and do now

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

Make the trips longer and let people have some music.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the people I met

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

AMAZING!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand to more places around the word

Ways to make it better...

I had music

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the lack of people interested

One thing I'd also say is that...

it was more fun than I have ever had on any other trip and I learned about what everything was like and about for these people

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-3-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

With Ecology Project International, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be hands on involved in marine biology. I spent five days living on a boat with four marine biologists, studding whales in the Baja Gulf of California. A typical day consisted of waking up on a beautiful beach, eating breakfast and working on research projects, observing the ocean for signs of whales, seeing a whale, chasing a whale, getting a biopsy of the whale, dissecting the biopsy, eating yummy lunch, continuing research projects, seeing another whale, getting another biopsy, set up tents at another amazing beach, eat dinner back at the boat, present the daily research projects, and fall asleep under the stars. EPI made this whole opportunity possible. I will never forget the amazing things I saw, the wonderful people I met, or the vast amounts of knowledge I learned. I’m still in total awe at what I witnessed and the entire experience feels like a dream! I mean, since when can you be ten feet from the largest animals to ever live on this planet? Or how is it possible to swim with 300 wild dolphins in the morning and that afternoon have a wild sea lion touch your leg while swimming with them? As I said, I still am in shocked that I experienced that! The lesson I learned that will stick with me forever is, that there is so much more to our world than just what is on the surface.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

all of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences I was able to participate in because of this program.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very helpful, kind, fun, silly, loving, and amazing people!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Provide scholarships that could allow students to participate in this program that would allow them to pursue their dream in marine biology.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-3-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I traveled with a group of my Spanish students, all aged 13, on an EPI trip to La Paz and Espiritu Santo Island. We were thrilled with the success of the trip. Although it was a pilot course for middle school cultural interaction combined with science and ecology, we felt as if the instructors had been doing this sort of trip all along. They were helpful, responsive, caring, knowledgeable and fun. There were a couple of times when an activity might have gone on too long, or the students may not have been clear on what was expected of them, but I would be hard-pressed to find any such experience that is perfect. Specifically, during Each One, Teach One, some students read directly from the informational cards with which they were provided, rather than preparing a synopsis with a quick interactive presentation. This was not due to the instructor's lack of direction; on the contrary, he was very clear about not reading straight from the card and about involving the other students by asking questions. The only way to fix this would be maybe to have an adult with each group or to give the students a template for their mini-presentation. The only thing that was stressful throughout the entire trip was air travel. I know that EPI doesn't have control over that, so I was prepared to deal with it. I would try to avoid tight connections, since our group missed our final flight home due to a flight delay.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The broad educational, cultural and ecological experience that I was able to share with my students.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

caring, knowledgeable, fun, responsible.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Provide scholarships for frequent exchanges between the countries involved in their projects. Public school kids from different countries could interact on a regular basis while gaining a greater appreciation for ecology and human impact.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I participated in the Costa Rica turtle conservation program, and I can easly say it was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. I made life-long friends with my crewmates and with the research assistants, and I will never forget sitting behind a turtle's cloaca, colecting her eggs. I was also able to obtain a partial scholarship to go on the trip.

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

the way i think about consumption and disposal, every day! I am always thinking aiut the best ways to be good to the environment

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

give it more funds so that it could give out scholarships to willing participants

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

my bonds with the staff and my crewmtes, the AMAZING food, the AMAZING FACTS I LEARNED

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

kind, funny, patient, wonderful, compassionate, understanding, intelligent, knowledgeable, genius, awesome, great educators

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

save the world from ecological degradation and save the sea trutles, as well as educate everyone on how to be green!

Ways to make it better...

I don't think it could have been better. If it was any better, I might have exploded.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

lack of funds

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2006-4-01

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Rating: 4 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I went on the EPI trip to Costa Rica to help save and preserve the Leatherback sea turtle population. It was truely an experience of a life time. To be able to touch the gentle, prehistoric, giant turtles was crazy! With that in mind this trip was no vacation. Everyone worked hard walking for 4 or more hours during the night paroling the beaches. I would say that if anyone is going to go on this trip they should be a person who loves animals and wants to help them. If this description doesn't fit you, I don't think you will fully enjoy the experience. I loved this trip so much that I have signed up for another trip this summer in Yellow Stone National Park. I fully look forward to the people I'll meet and the animals I'll see.

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

none

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I get to work with animals and feel like I am making a difference. I want to eventually be a big cat veterinary researcher and going on these trips have help me realize that this is the career that I really do want to persue.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

we really nice. They were helpful and actually listened to what I had to say. They did not make me feel like I was just some annoying teenager on a trip. Plus they knew their stuff and I actually learned things! :)

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

save the animals species of the world for the next generation to enjoy.

Ways to make it better...

I loved everything nothing should be changed

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

none

One thing I'd also say is that...

this program is fabulous and I hope everyone else has as great of an experience as me!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I went to Costa Rica with EPI through my high school and the experience changed my life. It gave me the opportunity to do hands-on research of the leatherback sea turtles when I was only 14. It increased my awareness of environmental issues and it sparked my passion for wildlife biology and environmental science.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I got to work hands-on with an endangered species, helping to preserve it into the future generations.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

increse awareness of environmental issues around the globe and help locals preserve their environment.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-4-01

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Rating: 4 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

Going to Costa Rica in high school with Ecology Project International was my first trip out of the States and what a trip it was! Our leader from our local area and the teachers and guides we met in Costa Rica were beyond wonderful. They were so knowledgeable and trust-worthy which is exactly what you need when you're taking teenagers out of their home country. The work was challenging - both physically and emotionally - and the whole experience was so eye-opening. My desire to learn more about environmental problems was heightened and the realization that even at 16 years old I could make a difference changed my entire way of thinking. I highly recommend EPI trips for young adults and hope someday to go again.

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

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the hands-on experience I got. Working with the endangered sea turtles completely changed my life and what I want to do after college. I see now the kind of difference one person can make.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

amazing. They were great with teenagers and dealing with all of our issues and drama while also being so knowledgeable and warm.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world faster than it does now. That money could help them increase the number of kids who get to go on these trips. I know they work hard to provide scholarships and that would help so much.

Ways to make it better...

we had had more time before the trip to get to know the other kids going. There were groups from two high schools and more interaction beforehand would have helped our friendships.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2005-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

During my trip with EPI, I discovered the beauties of a culture completely different than the one I know in America. In Mexico, everything has a twice-used feeling, and though this may be in part due to Mexico's lack of money, it is interesting how people can get along with so much less than we do in America, and still support a vibrant culture. At the camp where we did whale research, I learned that using renewable energy is really more of a problem if you can't make the change in your head, because once the changes tangibly manifest themselves, using a composting toilet or re-using your water doesn't seem hard at all. I learned that all people are excited to share their culture, that even whale researchers who spend months whatching whales are excited when calves come up close, and that speaking Spanish is something I wish I could do.

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

my perspective. I've realized that traveling with people who are well educated is cool because you learn a lot without trying.

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

not change anything.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the memories our group has. I haven't laughed that hard in a while.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly, youthful, and seemed to be knowledgeable about everything.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

take kids who couldn't pay for the trips on their own to exotic places, to learn about the importance of preserving our enironment.

Ways to make it better...

I hadn't gotten sick from the food we had to eat in transit. This is just a part of the experience, though, and I wouldn't have exchanged eating granola bars from home for eating out.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the scope of the trips. So much traveling costs a lot of money, and some groups may balk at the prices of the trips.

One thing I'd also say is that...

There's nothing better than petting a whale!! I will hold onto the feeling forever.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

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