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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services, Environment, Forest Conservation, Technology

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 by implementing legal conservation agreements with landowners, providing public education about the value of wild nature, conducting research on the relationship between humans and the land, and encouraging sustainable economic activities that improve livelihoods while safeguarding biodiversity.

Target demographics: We work with local communities to protect forests and create sustainable livelihoods.

Geographic areas served: Ecuador, South America

Programs: Tropical Conservation Semester Galapagos, Andes and Amazon study abroad program - Tropical Ecosystems: Andes, Amazon and Pacific coast summer field course - Jama Conservation Corridor - Lalo Loor Dry Forest reserve and biological station - Internships and volunteerships in habitat conservation, environmental education, community development, reforestation, and scientfic research - El Pahuma Orchid reserve

Community Stories

63 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!!

Ailsa H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Best experience of my entire life!
Spent a semester hiking around in the rainforest, swimming with sea turtles, and learning about conservation!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Brianna L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

bottleneck262

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.