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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

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

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

Previous Stories

Former staff

Rating: 5

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.