Ceiba is a very committed conservation organisation working in areas of northwest Ecuador where little conservation actions have historically been undertaken. Their efforts to promote areas of conservation and sustainable use under management by local governments and involvement of local stakeholders might prove crucial for the long-term conservation of a transitional area between two globally important centres of endemism: the Choco rainforest of northwest Ecuador and western Colombia, and the Tumbes-Manabí dry forest of western Ecuador and northwest Peru. Conservation science has repeatedly suggested that ecological transitions are crucial for the conservation of evolutionary processes. However, the ecotone between these two endemic centres is largely overlooked in conservation planning and most of it is already lost due to agricultural development. Beyond the global importance of developing conservation actions in this important biodiversity area, there are several potential social benefits in a region under severe economic limitations, both through new sustainable production practices and education opportunities for local children and youth.
My experience with Ceiba comes from my time as an intern at Bosque Seco Lalo Loor. Although I was only there for one month, I experienced a great amount of both personal and professional growth. My goal was to get a closer look at conservation in practice, and I have to say I learned from the best. The deep connections Ceiba has formed with the surrounding communities is inspiring and shows the great respect every member of the organization has for the land and the people. I have a long way to go in my conservation career, and I couldn't be happier to have started it with Ceiba. Awesome people doing amazing work!!
My coworker works for the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation and her stories of the work that they do are great! It sounds like the organization has a powerful impact on all of the students that study abroad through them. I'm glad to see them take an initiative in the local community. The Area of Conservation and Sustainable Use is an impressive initiative that will have an incredible impact and I can't wait to hear more updates from them.
The Ceiba Foundation did an excellent job with their Covid-relief program this year. They made a huge impact in the local community and it was great seeing video updates of the recipients. I am looking forward to seeing what initiatives they bring forward in the future.
Went on study abroad program funded by Ceiba, was fantastic, got to see a beautiful country, got a sense of what they were doing there. 10/10 would recommend.
Ceiba is a exceptional organization that has deep commitment to Ecuador biodiversity and the people of Ecuador. They have made community partners and strive to empower the community leaders.
I had the opportunity to be an intern with Ceiba at the Lalo Loor reserve in Ecuador.It was an incredible experience. Every single person I met that worked with Ceiba was extremely passionate and dedicated to the conservation of the remaining tropical rain forests in Ecuador.
I participated in a study abroad program with Ceiba which was the experience of a lifetime. The hands-on learning in a completely new place took my education and passion for conservation to the next level. Ceiba is a great organization that I will continue to be a part of for a long time!
I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Ecuador through Ceiba's Tropical Conservation Semester during 2019/2020. This experience was truly once in a lifetime, as not only did I find amazing environmental experiences, but also built lasting connections with many of the Ceiba staff. I must say that they are all wonderful people who are devoted to helping the environment in any way that they can. I highly recommend Ceiba to any potential visitor or corporation and also encourage you all to visit Ecuador through their volunteer opportunities!
I studied abroad with Ceiba for a semester in Ecuador. I cannot express how much this organization positively impacted my life. Everybody is so welcoming and really wants everyone to know about the work that they do. The coolest part, I actually got to see conservation in action in South America!
This nonprofit has not only shown dedication to their work, but also to the education of others. They strive to spread awareness and instill actual change that you can see. They do a wonderful job making a change and showing that you can as well.
Este año tuve la oportunidad de estar un mes como pasante en la Reserva Lalo Loor. Esta reserva esta ubicada en Manabí, Ecuador, y esta a cargo del Manejo de Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation. Durante el tiempo que estuve de voluntaria conocí a increíbles personas, me puse en sintonía con la naturaleza y pude involucrarme en varios proyectos. Ayude en la producción de un huerto mandala, participe en reforestación y educación ambiental y fui parte del proyecto del corredor biológico. Esta fue una experiencia muy gratificante que recomendaría a todos.
This year I had the chance to be intern one month in Lalo Loor Reserve. This place is located in Manabí, Ecuador, and is part of Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation. When I was voluntter I met amazing people, enjoy nature and collaborate on several projects. I contributed in the production of a mandala garden, participated in reforestation and environmental education, which were part of the biological corridor project. This was a rewarding experience that I would recommend to everyone.
In the spring of 2016, my daughter’s professor Catherine Woodward extended an invitation to travel on a Ceiba sponsored trip to the Galápagos Islands with her study abroad class. My daughter jumped at the chance to travel with her mentor and I was thrilled they had an extra space for me. It was such an incredible privilege to experience the amazing inhabitants of this land including Marine iguanas, small penguins, sea lions, blue-footed boobies and the amazing giant tortoise to name just a few. We also learned all about the flora and fauna unique to these volcanic islands. This enchanted land is truly a gift to our planet and it’s great to know that Ceiba is working hard to spread awareness about our endangered treasures.
I love the work Ceiba does to promote conservation of plants and animals. Not only do they encourage rural land owners to participate in the conservation efforts, but they also educate many populations, near and far, on how they themselves can help with the preservation and rehabilitation of tropical habitats.
Great project to rebuild Ecuador's native forest. They take the right combination of working on the ground re-foresting, alongside influence at government level to create protected areas, as well ad running education projects for local communities and bringing all together to create sustainable approach to the wildlife habitat there.
Carried out a 4 week internship on the wildlife monitoring programme and had the best time! I was mainly involved with conducting population surveys of the howler monkeys in the reserve but also got involved with other aspects of the organisation such as setting up camera traps as part of the wildlife corridor project. The accommodation, food etc is all great and you literally sleep in the heart of the forest (which involves being woken up by noisy howlers!) All the staff are great and really helpful and there’s also cool areas to explore nearby at weekends. Overall would highly recommend if you’re interested in wildlife conservation and learning about rural Ecuador!!
Catherine and Joe are so passionate about sharing their knowledge with those who participate in their programs. My program, Water for Life, was the perfect balance of hands-on learning, interesting lectures, and fun! I always felt safe while traveling with this program and especially enjoyed the respectful and collaborative manner in which we were able to interact with the local communities. I would highly recommend any program through the Ceiba Foundation.
Ceiba is an incredible organization that is doing great work for environmental conservation. Through their passionate and knowledgeable staff, Ceiba thrives at informing the community about conservation both at home and abroad. I had the pleasure of spending two weeks with them learning about the work they do in the tropical rainforest of Ecuador. The passion they have for what they do is exciting and motivational to all those they work with. I'm excited to see the impact their work has on conservation going forward.
My semester abroad with the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation has had so many impacts on my life and was truly one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Not only did I learn more about the natural environment in one semester than I would have expected in my entire 4 years, but I learned more about myself and grew into a much better person because of the experience. The Ceiba Foundation facilitated a large portion of my growth throughout college, during the semester and especially indirectly after I came home. They taught me so much and opened my eyes to the world and many different perspectives and the pushed me to excel and do my best in everything. Aside from tremendous personal and academic growth, it was an incredibly enjoyable and fun experience. We got to run around the jungle looking for plants and diving down into the ocean to look for starfish and sharks. I also got to know my professors and classmates in such a deep and close way that I never would have expected out my collage career. We were incredibly blessed in everything, we even got to see a Jaguar! Ceiba not only does education, but they also work closely with some reserves in preserving endangered ecosystems and have been considerably effective in their efforts! I got to work close hand in their forest restoration project at their dry forest reserve for a month and got to see first hand the fruits of their labor in furthering conservation efforts in South America. Although they are small in size they have accomplished great tasks and have left countless marks on their student's lives!
I studied abroad with Ceiba through their tropical ecology semester in Ecuador and it was the best decision I have ever made. No only did I love learning out of the classroom and on the trails, but I developed my confidence in research and conservation work. Ceiba's community conservation programs are incredible and Cath and Joe, as heads of the organization, are the most knowledgable, kind, fun professionals. I miss my time with Ceiba in Ecuador every day and the experience was so tranformative in every way. I cannot say enough good things about my program or this organization!!
I studied abroad with Ceiba in 2015 and it was one of the most life-changing experiences of my life! I learned so much about conservation, Ecuador, and wildlife. Ceiba truly shaped my career goals and helped make me who I am today!
I have been in Lalo Loor Dry forest Reserve for 4 weeks, and it was absolutely amazing! I learned a lot about conservation work, forest and biodiversity. People working in the reserve are one of the most dedicated people I have ever met, and it was a great experience working with them. I recommend CEIBA foundation for everyone who is looking for a great biological adventure in Ecuador!
The amount of conservation biology you will learn, animals you will see, and fun you will have can not be described in words!
I studied abroad in Ecuador in the spring of 2017 and had an absolutely amazing experience. Words can not express how incredible Ceiba is. The work that they are doing in Ecuador is so important, and Joe and Cath do a fantastic job with both the organization and students. You can tell how passionate, intelligent, experienced, and skilled they are in everything that they do. Some highlights included Lalo Loor, a research site of Ceiba, and our trip to the Galapagos. I cannot recommend this semester and experience enough. If you can't study abroad with Ceiba, you should definitely look into volunteering at Lalo Loor or any other Ceiba affiliate.
The 2 months I spent interning with the Ceiba Foundation in Ecuador were educational and life changing. I spent the majority of my time there working on the forest dynamics project measuring trees and evaluating their health in two plots to contribute to a long-term data study. I learned the protocols, conducted a lit review and had many unique experiences being out in the field. Additionally, I had the opportunity to get to know the community and even presented on marketing fundamentals to the local businesses at the end.
The internship I had at Ceiba was self-directed. While the staff is there if you need them, what you get out of the experience is what you put into it. I came out with a fresh perspective on field work, knowledge about forest dynamics protocols, knowledge of the local fauna and conversational proficiency in Spanish. Ecuador will always hold a place in my heart thanks to Ceiba.
I am an alumnus of Ceiba’s Teoioical Conservation Semester and this semester absolutely changed my life for the better in so many ways. Never had I been so intellectually stimulated and so interested in what I was learning. Cath and Joe are exceptional professors with an unparalleled ability to teach effectively. This program teaches terrestrial and marine ecology from the field in some of the most biodiverse places on the planet. To say I recommend this program or this organization is a massive understatement.
I was a student with Ceiba's Tropical Conservation Semester for the spring of 2015. It was with out a doubt the best 4.5 months of my life. I met life long friends and had a truly unique experience. I learned so much from the two most knowledgeable and caring professors I've ever had. Whether I was navigating the streets of Quito, hiking through the cloud forest, bird watching from the crown of a 45 m tall ceiba tree, swimming with caiman in the Tiputini river, swimming with sea turtles and sharks in the Galápagos Islands, or just relaxing on the beach, I was always aware that Ceiba had thrown me into the adventure of a lifetime. That list seems pretty good but it doesn't come close to capturing all the experiences I had in my semester in Ecuador. This trip changed my life. Do yourself a favor and just go.
I interned with Ceiba in the summer of 2016, and could not have asked for a better experience. As an intern with the water quality project, I took river samples to test for water quality, and worked on a community education day to promote clean water. Interns were given some freedom in designing their own projects, but staff members were also able and willing to help shape and assist with the projects. I learned so much, and was surrounded by an incredibly supportive community of staff and interns. Ceiba does great work, and I highly recommend working with them!
Thank you Becca! We enjoyed working with you at the Bosque Seco Lalo Loor.
I studied abroad with Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation in the spring of 2016. Choosing this program was one of the best decisions of my life. The semester was the most busy and enjoyable experiences I have had in my entire college career. I have nothing but positive words to say about Ceiba and fantastic experiences to speak of. From day one Joe and Catherine were always very welcoming and made everyone feel like family. They cared more about us than any other professors could have. Their genuine care extended past the scope of the classroom, they wanted to make sure we had a good life with our host families both on the mainland and on the Galapagos Islands. The intensive Spanish immersion, cultural immersion, opportunity to visit multiple habitat types, and being able to participate in an internship were the reason why I chose to study abroad with Ceiba. Traveling to the many habitat types allowed me to get a better sense of all the things going on around me (from flora to fauna). Spending a lot of time in nature was one of the best parts of the program because it gave everyone the opportunity to reflect on themselves and figure out what things are actually important to them. The internship was a fantastic opportunity. It mainly involved organic agriculture and eco construction. I was able to spend it with three other program members. Since we did not have much access to electronics we became a very close-knit group. After all of the experiences I had in Ecuador I can honestly say that I could always trust and relay on every member and instructor of the program. Please do not hesitate to be part of something great with Ceiba, I know it will something you will not regret.
We're grateful for your review, Zach. I'm glad you had a great experience during Ceiba's education program. Thanks for participating!
Asistí para un curso a la Reserva Lalo Loor, quede muy contenta por el trato hasta las maravillas dentro del área es un Bosque Seco Tropical bien cuidado, que puedes observar hermosas aves y por la mañana escuchar a monos aulladores, mucha fauna y flora variada. Realizar el sendero por las mañanas reconforta y te libera de lo cotidiano del diario vivir. Es admirable como la organización trabaja, gestiona para conservar, preservar esta área. Recomiendo que visiten este lugar y también den su apoyo con comentarios, fotos, vídeos para que compartan con sus amistades para que puedan acudir a este paraíso.
Gracias Tania por sus comentarios! Espero que regrese y que comparte las maravillas del bosque tropical estacional con sus amigos y familiares.
I was fortunate enough to study abroad with the Ceiba Foundation on two separate occasions. The first was my freshman year of college when we navigated our way to the remote Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon Rainforest. The second I arrived home, I knew I would be joining the semester study abroad with Ceiba. My Spring semester of junior year I was then able to return back to the country I fell in love with in order to greatly expand my experiences and knowledge. Both of these programs offered more than I would ever even think to ask for. The excitement, energy and knowledge that Catherine and Joe have regarding every ecosystem of Ecuador as well as broader conservation and environmental concepts is mind boggling. I gained and retained more knowledge during my semester abroad then I ever would in a typical semester or even year. The experience is extremely hands-on, allowing every student to really understand the concepts and receive the highest benefit from the experience. Catherine and Joe sincerely care about their students, in addition to the communities and families they work with. When meeting various individuals with which Ceiba has a relationship, the appreciation and love that they have for one another is extremely evident. The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation is committed to their mission and goals. Both Catherine and Joe inspired me with their passion and drive to pursue college degrees in Botany and Conservation, and then to continue onto grad school to earn my Environmental Conservation Masters Degree. I would not have wanted to study abroad or explore Ecuador with anyone but Ceiba!
My freshman year I was lucky enough to be able to travel into the depths of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador as part of a research project and conservation effort with the Ceiba Foundation. It was here, after climbing 400 steps of a spiral staircase surrounding an 800 year old tree to watch the beautiful sunset over the lush green rainforest that I came to the realization that I i wanted to dedicate myself to service and pursuit of becoming a doctor so that I can help heal those in need so they can follow their aspirations just like Ceiba inspired in me.
I interned with Ceiba Foundation this year at their Bosque Seco Lalo Loor Reserve in Jama, Ecuador. The experience was exceptional! Every member of the staff I interacted with was welcoming, knowledgeable and deeply committed to conservation and environmental education.
Ceiba has a huge local impact and is well respected by locals. The field staff provided me all the necessary equipment and support to conduct my project. They also gave me ample freedom figure things on my own until I hit roadblocks.
The lodging deep in the jungle was memorable. Waking up to howler monkeys and toucans calling is something I want to do again. The food prepared at the reserve is delicious, local and always fresh.
If you are looking for a great field experience or to donate to a worthy non-profit, I highly recommend Ceiba.
I studied in Ecuador in the spring of 2015 as part of Ceiba's Tropical Conservation program, and I was not disappointed. There was so much that we did there that there was almost no time for relaxation, and that was okay because Ecuador has so much to offer. We studied at the university in Quito, trekked the Andes mountains in vastly different climates, hiked through the Amazon rainforest, explored the wonders of the beautiful Galapagos Islands. I very much enjoyed the Amazon and Galapagos Islands and the flora/fauna they housed. One of my favorite parts of the program was the internship at the end of the semester. I interned on an organic coffee farm with 3 other guys, and it was probably the best experience I have ever had. We planted crops, were introduced to the whole process of coffee making, milked cows, learned about the flora, and best of all had no electronics...total bliss! I would highly recommend this program because it isn't all about the learning, but also about the experience and people of Ecuador. Lastly, Joe and Cath were/are my favorite professors coming out of this trip. They are so knowledgeable about everything from flora/fauna to culture to where to go in Ecuador, and they helped each and every student with any question they had. Do not hesitate to go on this awesome program!
I am actually a Project Manager for the Ecuador Program of the UW-Madison Chapter of Engineers Without Borders. We are partners with the Ceiba Foundation, and without their assistance our projects would not happen. From lodging, to transportation, to acquiring materials, and helping us with in-country contacts, the Ceiba Foundation has helped our group tremendously! Everyone who works there is also so welcoming and helpful, it feels like we are going home whenever we visit. Gracias por todos!!!
Thank you EWB! You're work in the communities surrounding the Lalo Loor Dry Forest reserve have had such a tangible positive impact. Our contribution to the amazing work you are doing is small, but I'm so happy we have had the opportunity to work with such an outstanding group of young engineers! We look forward to continued work with EWB!
My experience with Ceiba comes from when I attended the Tropical Conservation Semester Program in 2016. The entire semester of travels throughout Ecuador was undoubtedly the most impactful part of my college experience. It was a great time spent both in the classroom, and outside exploring Ecuador's various ecosystems. Even better, ere the many times the classroom was outside. Walking alongside our professors Catherine and Joe, learning first hand from Biologists about the areas, and species they've spent years studying. Whether in El Pahuma Orchid Reserve, learning about the easement they brought into fruition, or at Bosque Seco Lalo Loor on the Pacific coast, the Ceiba impact is a part of the country of Ecuador now.
Even more impressive in my impression of our foundation, was when a massive earthquake struck Ecuador in April 2016, Ceiba became a huge part of the rebuilding process on the coast, and drew resources from their network pool to create a strategy with the community they have fostered a relationship with. That speaks volumes to how the Ceiba foundation is viewed within Ecuador, and for those who have been apart of their experiences.
I am a Tropical Conservation Semester alumni and I could not be more satisfied with my experience with Ceiba. The five months I spent in Ecuador were some of the best of my life, and I learned skills and gained experiences that will be invaluable to my future career as a wildlife biologist. Where else could you get such a state-of-the-art education on tropical, alpine, and marine ecology? I was also impressed with the value of the program considering its cost. Every penny was well spent. Not to mention I made lifelong friends and mentors in the process. I strongly recommend this organization to anyone with a taste for adventure and a love for the outdoors!
Ceiba is a great organization that does the groundwork to be extremely productive in the goals that they are trying to reach. I did an education program through Ceiba where I learned about what they do. Not only is Ceiba a great non-profit, but Catherine and Joe are two of the most knowledgeable people in the field and ones that you most certainly can trust.
I was a student in Ceiba's Tropical Conservation Semester, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The places we traveled to, the research we performed, and the conversations we had absolutely changed my life. I cannot emphasize enough how amazing this program was for me and how grateful I am to have had this experience. It's difficult to imagine a more profound or comprehensive study abroad experience in Ecuador. Catherine Woodward and Joe Meisel were phenomenal instructors that helped me to grow both as a scientist and as a person. Thank you!
Thank you so much for your kind remarks. It was a delight to have you on our program!
I was a student who studied abroad with the Ceiba Foundation Spring of 2016, and it was the most life-changing opportunity in my life! The work that this organization does makes an enormous difference in the lives of so many people from around the world by providing sustainable alternatives of income and tourism, while also offering educational opportunities. If I could relive my time spent with the Ceiba Foundation, I would choose to do so without any hesitation. I highly recommend working with Ceiba to anyone!
The Ceiba staff is incredibly knowledgeable group that does great work providing educational tools and opportunities for local communities
Ceiba is doing wonderful work in environmental conservation in Ecuador and offers a strong program for volunteers and students to be a part of this work. There are many different focus areas to choose from and I especially appreciate that Ceiba is now becoming more involved in the local community. Volunteers can get valuable hands-on experience in conservation or community programming and will work on a variety of tasks. While the on-site staff was great, the administration was unorganized including sending me to an office that no longer existed for orientation, then not even having orientation materials prepared for me, among other things (only reason I'm giving 4 stars not 5). Other than that, you will have a wonderful experience and participate in meaningful environmental, community, and inter-cultural work if you choose to volunteer with Ceiba!
This organization provided me with a life-changing semester of learning, personal growth, and friends. Ceiba understands the social, scientific, and economic dimensions of conservation and is great group to donate to! Though I would strongly encourage participating in one of their programs also.
I was a student on Ceiba's tropical conservation semester program. It was an incredible experience overall. I learned a lot of course work as far as conservation biology, and tropical ecology. The best part for me about this course work is that I actually got to experience it, and not just read about it in textbooks. I hiked around the amazon identifying plants and birds, and then even carried out my own mini research project with a group. The experiences did not stop there as I was also able to snorkel in the Galapagos identifying fish, other marine organisms, and I completed another research project in the Galapagos. Ceiba also did a great job of including many cultural experiences throughout the semester. For example, we talked with the family that runs of the reserves Ceiba helped start, El Pahuma, and had to hear their side of the story. Ceiba has many connections in Ecuador, and they clearly have a good relationship with the local people that they work with. I met many great people working for Ceiba in Ecuador. Ceiba also is a very organized non-profit, and I never felt like they did not know what they were doing. In summary, Ceiba is a great non-profit and I would recommend working with them.
Ceiba continues to do extremely important work in Ecuador. Their several environmental projects are comprehensive and expansive. They include many educational components and impressive outreach programs to the neighboring communities. Five friends and I also had the privilege of joining their semester abroad course to the Galapagos which we all agreed was one of the most exciting, informative and well-run endeavors we have ever enjoyed. Anyone who could be part of their projects or courses would be extremely fortunate. Ceiba in an excellent educator of the need and "how to's" to protect the environment
The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation is an extremely productive, well-managed and successful conservation organization that does most of its work in Ecuador. Conceived and run by Joe Meisel, Phd Zoology and Catherine Woodward, Phd Botany it is an extraordinarily successful conservation organization. It started small by replacing a lost boat to a protector of the manatees. From there they saved approximately 300 hectares of cloud forest, situated in the midst of 1200 hectares of forest, from being destroyed by the lumber companies trying to buy out the owning family’s property. After seven years of working with the family, sending several members to school and other training programs so that they could manage the property, developing the property into an orchid reserve with a visitor’s center and orchid garden and promoting tourists visits and volunteer aids, this forest area called El Pahuma has become a viable means of support for the entire family who has owned the property for generations. Their latest project is the Lalo Loor Reserve. Bundling and connecting forest fragments, Ceiba has established a coastal corridor in this dry forest that is large enough and connected in such ways that its bio-diversity can be maintained and sustained.. Ceiba has the support of the mayor of the neighboring town and the landowners whose properties abut the forest corridor. Again they have built a visitors center which now operates education programs for local students and teachers. There are continually volunteers and Peace Corps workers incorporated into this program. For the past several years Ceiba has run an environmental ecology semester abroad program in Ecuador for college students. They also have a month long summer course for interested students and Ecuadorian scholarship students. The leaders have consistently gotten rave reviews from their students, many of whom go on to volunteer in Ceiba’s projects and to pursue a science curriculum. Through all of these programs, this organization has had an enormous impact on the environment. They have worked diligently to save many acres of land, educate the local people about the importance of the land, and the various ways it can be protected and useful at the same time. They are continually educating students of all ages about the importance of protecting these amazing resources. Through the diligence, devotion and energy of its leaders, Ceiba has developed into an extremely important environmental organization.
The two weeks I spent in Ecuador with the Ceiba Foundation study group and instructors Catherine Woodward and Joe Meisel were exceptional. As a long-time educator, I looked for and experienced things that I consider integral to a high-level learning environment.
First, the entire trip was meticulously planned and organized to offer a robust overview of the culture, the ecology, the wildlife, and the aspects of the land and sea that we must protect and preserve. In addition, the balance of listening, observing, questioning, and interacting was excellent and provided situations where deep and lasting learning was achieved. The instructors were well-prepared, cordial, caring, professional, and astute leaders. They love their work and their mission, and it is so apparent. They were able to personalize the study to the participants whose ages spanned more than fifty years. Certainly that is no small feat.
This was one of the finest learning experiences I have had. The work is important and should be supported to enable it to continue for years to come.
Excellent attentive staff. Well-managed organization. Phenomenal and productive non-profit doing critical work!
I studied with Ceiba this summer as an intern on the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve. I had an amazing experience exploring the plant diversity and plant uses in such a unique region of the world. The staff at Ceiba, both in Ecuador and in the U.S. are incredibly caring, helpful, knowledgeable, and passionate about their work. The Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve is a big part of nearby coastal communities in Ecuador, and it employes several local community members. This not only provided an enriching cultural exchange during my stay, but it demonstrates Ceiba's approach as a non-profit to work closely with communities and inspire residents to take ownership of projects impacting their environment. I would highly recommend interning or participating in one of their study abroad courses!
I studied abroad through Ceiba in Spring 2014, and I can say it was the best experience of my life. The passion with which Ceiba cared for the communities and environment where they worked was incredible and inspiring. I truly learned more in the one semester abroad about conservation than all the classes I had taken during the previous 3 years. An amazing experience that anyone who is interested in conservation should take a part in!
I participated in the semester long study abroad with Ceiba, and loved every moment and new experience I encountered. Joe and Catherine really facilitate a wonderful experience for their students, and they also contribute greatly to the people living in the communities where they work. Ceiba is the epitome of effective conservation work, they are small-scale but they have made more connections and implemented more programs to benefit the environment and the people than any large NGO could ever do. So proud and lucky to have been able to learn from them and their organization.
I spent a semester abroad with The Ceiba Foundation in Ecuador and it was easily the best five months of my life. I learned so much and got to participate in so many wonderful experiences. I would recommend everyone to do something with this fantastic foundation.
I did a two week study abroad course with Ceiba this past summer (2015) and I can say with great confidence that you will not find better and more passionate people to work with. Catherine was our professor and was by far the best teacher I have ever had. She was extremely knowledgeable about the people, the culture, and the nature that we experienced. I wish I could have stayed longer, but I learned a great deal in the short amount of time that we were there and I can definitely see why Ceiba works so hard to conserve this absolutely stunning part of the world. They are doing amazing work in Ecuador and I'm glad that I got to be a part of it.
I volunteered with Ceiba in Quito Ecuador during a two-week service-learning course. It was through this process I gained a deep appreciation for both water conservation as well as the unique culture of Ecuador. Through Ceiba's direct links to the local communities, I felt as though we supported a much larger cause in a way was well-received by the communities we served.
Going to the Tiputini Biodiversity Research Station in the Amazon truly changed my life and my perspective. While I consider it to have been one of the most challenging experiences of my life, both mentally and physically, it was an experience that I would not trade for anything. I am truly grateful to the Ceiba Foundation and to Catherine Woodward as well as all of the other instructors and guides at the station that allowed me the gift of being able to experience and learn in the most diverse and unique place.
My husband and I were community members for the Ceiba Galapagos trip, Spring 2015. It was one of the best trips we've ever had. From the expert teaching of the U of W professors, to the fantastic students, to the staff on board our boat...all was terrific. We loved the wild life, the hikes, the snorkels, and the interaction with the students. To lie out on the upper deck of the ship, full moon rising, the Southern Cross above us, and a frigate bird drafting us: complete heaven!!
The most amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity, that will teach you more than you thought you could ever learn in 5 months! The instructors are the best people I think I have ever met. So grateful to have had this experience, and I would not trade it for anything.
Best experience of my entire life!
Spent a semester hiking around in the rainforest, swimming with sea turtles, and learning about conservation!
My daughter spent a semester in Ecuador studying with Ceiba and I was fortunate to be a part of the program for 10 days during the Galapagos portion of the program. It was quite simply not only a spectacular experience, but a reinforcement of the crucial need for biodiversity. There is no better way to learn then hands-on instruction by experts. Any one involved in this program will be spurred to conserve tropical treasures by seeing and experiencing the incredible beauty of the natural world. The program was extremely well run and packed with activity and challenge combined with tons of fun. I am encouraged by the work of the Foundation to believe we can preserve fragile environments for future generations to enjoy.
I can't say it better than the raving reviews already posted for Ceiba. They do amazing, innovative work to conserve some very important tropical ecosystems. I spent one month in Ecuador learning from their professors and experiencing first hand the wonders of the places they are fighting to conserve. I can't thank them enough for the work they do. It had a profound impact on me.
I have interacted with Ceiba in numerous capacities over the last five years; first as a student, then as a volunteer, and finally through a grad school internship. I am blown away by the combination of efficiency, effectiveness, and empathy the Ceiba staff have shown as they promote conservation, improve people's lives, and educate the next generation of conservationists.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.