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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

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Comments ( 1 )

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ceiba-foundation 10/31/2017

We're grateful for your review, Zach. I'm glad you had a great experience during Ceiba's education program. Thanks for participating!

Tania P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

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ceiba-foundation 10/31/2017

Gracias Tania por sus comentarios! Espero que regrese y que comparte las maravillas del bosque tropical estacional con sus amigos y familiares.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!!!

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ceiba-foundation 10/31/2017

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!

1 Siena M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Caden L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

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.

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!!

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.

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.

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.

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.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended the Ceiba Foundation's "Andes to Amazon" course in the summer of 2008. The expertise, collaborative spirit and motivation to conserve precious ecosystems makes the Ceiba Foundation effective as teachers and conservationists.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in the semester abroad program with Ceiba. The professors are very knowledgeable about the ecology of the many ecosystems found in the tropics. I learned a lot about the ups and downs of conservation work: small victories, cultural divides, economics considerations, ecology considerations. I value the time I spent with CFTC and appreciate the passion Joe and Catherine have for this work.