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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

50 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

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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4

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Ceiba Tropical Conservation semester was one of the best experiences I've had in college and quite possibly in my life. Ceiba has struck a perfect balance between challenging coursework and exhilarating field work to make the semester educational and fun. Specifically the internship portion of the program allowed me to apply what I had learned about sociology, ecology and conservation in class to a community. My global perspective on conservation developed as we visited different Ceiba conservation sites and directly saw the challenges that arise when talking about conservation on a global scale. I learned that stakeholders and their culture need a primary voice in any conservation effort and feel empowered to include conservation in whatever I choose to do professionally. Academically the program gave me the opportunity to get to know two incredible professors and learn from them in an extremely hands on fashion. The enthusiasm they have for conservation and learning in general was contagious and methods I learned from them will certainly contribute to my future academic success. Professionally I now understand the relevance and importance of addressing conservation in every career. A fire has been lit inside of me to seek ways to problem solve across boarders without being afraid of the challenges cultural differences may pose. I have been inspired to travel, and to work with the global community on conserving our planet.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My experience with Ceiba was life changing. I've always wanted to join the Peace Corps, but was always undecided about where to go and want I would do. But, after my time with Ceiba, I would really love to go back to South America and work on forest conservation and education. The program teaches students about the ecology and biodiversity of Eucador, while also explaining the challenges that face conservation. I think the work that Ceiba does is so important. They work directly with local people to give them more sustainable and economical options for their land. For example, they provide training and support for people in eco-tourism and reserve management. I also loved my experience at the Tiputini research station in the Amazon rain forest. We saw an anaconda and so many wonderful birds and monkeys. I really miss seeing monkeys everyday. That was great. If anyone wants to donate time or money to a nonprofit organization, I would recommend Ceiba. Your efforts would definitely get to the areas and people who need it most.

10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

CFTC gave me a life-changing opportunity to see the Amazonian Rain Forest first-hand. The experience was wonderfully educational; I learned techniques for studying the environment; assessing water quality; identifying flora and fauna (including different types of monkeys); how to catch bats; how to catch a panther on camera, and much, much more. The food we ate was wonderful and memorable, especially the homemade yogurt; I learned what to be afraid of (urticating vines) and what not to be afraid of (venomous snakes - we didn't see any)...The trip up to the paramo was beautiful (if a little chilly. The orchid preserve was exotic and beautiful. The river dolphins were particularly special. I whole-heartedly recommend the CFTC to anyone who would like to learn the facts surrounding envionmental issues in the rainforest. Catherine and Joe know their stuff, and they make great hosts.

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was impressed with the Ceiba philosophy of giving local landowners an economic interest in preserving their land. It is a sustainable

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My experience so far with Ceiba has truley been life changing. The work we have been doing, both learning about the natural environment and engaging in conservation efforts has profoundly affected my view of the world and my desire to spread the word of change to everyone I meet. The foundation has allowed me to do research projects in Amazon rainforest and the Galapagos Islands, places I never previously dreamed of visiting. They have also allowed me to participate in a rural internship, working in a location of my choice for a month, using the tools I have aquired after a 3 months of study. The members of the board are all wonderfully friendly and concerned people, interested in making a difference on the local and global scales. The foundation could work on incorporating the students of its study abroad programs more into the local culture and the projects it is doing with the community. It waits until the end of the program for their interships to allow this and I think more immersion throughout the semester would be more helpful.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have known the two founders of Ceiba Foundation for many years, and as the Quito Orchid Society, we helped develop the orchid project in Pahuma. We admire their hard work and enthusiasm to achieve tropical conservation about which they (and we) feel very strongly and care deeply. We are currantly working with them on a new conservation project and are impressed with their professionalism. Today, more than ever, it has become a necessity to preserve whatever land is left in its pristine state. There are people in the world, like the founders of Ceiba Foundation, that believe in this need and are working to protect the rapidly reducing environments. Ecuador, the country with more species of orchids than any other country in the world, is still a paradise of pure nature. Before it goes, their (and our) commitment is to help save it.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thanks to a Scholarship granted by Ceiba Foundation I had the opportunity to travel around one of the most beautiful countries in the world(Ecuador) learning and living the most incredible and exiting experiences, Ceiba Foundation is dedicated to promote the conservation and protection of wildlife while improving social well-being in remote but wonderful places, now that I have the chance here in Thailand, I am putting into practice all the knowledge I learned during my course during the summer in 2008, I wish you continue helping the environment as well as involving many people in your amazing projects.

10

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to study abroad with the Ceiba Foundation in the Summer of 2006. Our group studied conservation biology, zoology, ichthyology, entomology, ornithology, forestry, land management, as well as many other important techniques dealing with the human wildlife bond as well as human kind's impact and association with the environment. This program enabled me to open my eyes to the world around me, the impact mankind has on our environment, and the critical thinking involved in attempting to problem solve. I only wish that everyone had the opportunity to participate in this program.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in Ceiba's summer abroad program in Ecuador. This course exceeded my expectations in every way possible. The founders of Ceiba are two of the most incredible people I have ever met, and have truly been an inspiration to me. What I find so unique and interesting about this organization is their ability to incorporate the locals in their conservation efforts. This has largely contributed to their huge amount of success with a number of projects, including El Pahuma Orchid Reserve and Lalo Loor dry forest. My experience with Ceiba was truly unforgettable. I cannot give enough praise to this organization.