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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

31 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

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ceiba-foundation 10/31/2017

Thank you Becca! We enjoyed working with you at the Bosque Seco Lalo Loor.

Steven B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Nicholas S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

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ceiba-foundation 10/31/2017

Thank you so much for your kind remarks. It was a delight to have you on our program!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Ceiba staff is incredibly knowledgeable group that does great work providing educational tools and opportunities for local communities

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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!