Mission: Ecology Project International improves and inspires science education and conservation efforts worldwide through field-based student-scientist partnerships.
Results: EPI is a conservation education organization that involves both local and visiting students in science-based field programs at 6 field sites across the U.S. and Latin America. EPI works in Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Belize, Hawaii and in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. The premise of our mission is to involve locals in conservation efforts in order to make a bigger and more sustainable impact in the communities where we work. Your support helps us provide scholarships to underserved youth who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to participate in our programs.
Target demographics: High school students, ages 14-18, with special emphasis on youth that reside near our program sites.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 4,900
Geographic areas served: Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Hawaii and Montana
Programs: EPI inspires and improves science education efforts worldwide through field-based student-science partnerships. By engaging youth from Latin America and the U.S. in hands-on collaborative science and conservation projects that protect species and habitat in five countries, EPI bridges the gap between cultures and empowers the next generation of conservation leaders. We make a difference in the world one student at a time, fostering personal transformation of our students as they reconnect with the land and each other through our projects. EPI's vision is to create an ecologically literate society where the world's youth are empowered to take an active role in conservation.
I traveled with a group of my Spanish students, all aged 13, on an EPI trip to La Paz and Espiritu Santo Island. We were thrilled with the success of the trip. Although it was a pilot course for middle school cultural interaction combined with science and ecology, we felt as if the instructors had been doing this sort of trip all along. They were helpful, responsive, caring, knowledgeable and fun. There were a couple of times when an activity might have gone on too long, or the students may not have been clear on what was expected of them, but I would be hard-pressed to find any such experience that is perfect. Specifically, during Each One, Teach One, some students read directly from the informational cards with which they were provided, rather than preparing a synopsis with a quick interactive presentation. This was not due to the instructor's lack of direction; on the contrary, he was very clear about not reading straight from the card and about involving the other students by asking questions. The only way to fix this would be maybe to have an adult with each group or to give the students a template for their mini-presentation. The only thing that was stressful throughout the entire trip was air travel. I know that EPI doesn't have control over that, so I was prepared to deal with it. I would try to avoid tight connections, since our group missed our final flight home due to a flight delay.