Lack of knowledge and awareness about the environment is one reason why conservation is such a challenge. This is why Ceiba focuses on projects that emphasize community involvement and education: involving and educating young people and adults is the only way to manage natural resources to promote a sustainable future.
The EcoCenter at the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve serves as a focal point for environmental education and provides a space for training in biological sciences. In the center, visitors will encounter information on dry forest ecology, marine biology, regional culture, and the natural history of the region. The reserve also has a native plant garden which demonstrates the north-south climate gradient that exists along Ecuador’s coast while the medicinal plant garden is host to a variety of plants used in traditional medicine.
The reserve’s forest and research station provide a unique opportunity to teach local youth about field biology. We offer training in sampling water quality, studying wildlife, photography, and thereby offer an avenue to appreciating the importance of the natural world. Some of the students go on to work with Ceiba on citizen-science programs that deliver data to our ongoing research programs, while others proceed to develop their own ecotourism or conservation projects.
In another step towards fulfillment of community education goals Ceiba has partnered with the University of Wisconsin Arboretum’s Latino Earth Partnership (LEP) to work with teachers on development of educational games and materials that focus on the connections between humans and the environmental (read more).