Tropical Conservation Semester

The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation has teamed up with the University of Wisconsin to offer this exciting semester-abroad program in applied tropical ecology and conservation. Based in Ecuador, this one-of-a-kind program features internships with conservation organizations, participation in ongoing habitat protection projects, coursework in the conservation and ecology of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and immersion in Latin American culture. The unique collaboration between two renowned universities and an established tropical conservation organization allows us to blend the academic and applied realms, bridging the gap between science and practical conservation.

The TCS program is ideal for undergraduate students in both biological and social fields that seek interdisciplinary training invaluable for careers in habitat protection, international development, tropical ecology and environmental education. By combining extended explorations of the Galapagos and the Amazon with internships that immerse participants in ongoing conservation projects, this intensive program grants students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to broaden their horizons and acquire hands-on experience with conservation and development in practice.

Apply Now!  Participate in this life-changing tropical experience by visiting UW-Madison’s application page.

One of the most unique aspects of this semester-length program is the opportunity to live and study in the Galapagos Islands for three full weeks. See more in this video from 2017!


Over half the semester is spent at field sites that include the world-renowned Galapagos Islands and the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in Amazonian Ecuador (see Where We Go), as well as Ceiba Foundation project sites at the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve and the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve.  Each course will combine classroom lectures with field instruction and activities that focus on ecology and natural history, ecosystem and reserve management, monitoring and biological research methods, community-based participatory planning, and habitat conservation.  During the final month of the semester, each student carries out an internship with a local organization of their choice, putting their knowledge to work in a conservation, applied research or sustainable development project!

See for yourself!  Check out our new video recapping Ceiba’s projects in Ecuador and highlighting our flagship Tropical Conservation Semester.  Enjoy!


Our semester program has trained conservationists and ecologists for more than a decade, with most of them going on to meaningful jobs with international organizations or field research research.  Program professors are highly experienced ecologists, each with over 25 years experience in the tropics.  Ceiba’s ongoing habitat conservation projects are among the key sites visited during the program, giving participants a chance to gain experience with how such projects are planned and managed.  As a member of the international conservation community, Ceiba offers participants the opportunity to make connections with other non-governmental organizations and to work directly with them as interns on real conservation projects.

Program Components

I. Conservation & Ecology sequence includes classroom and field lectures in conservation biology and the ecology of major tropical ecosystems: terrestrial biology, marine ecology, and conservation biology.

II. Conservation Internship with a local conservation, research or development organization during the final month of the semester.

III. Spanish Language and cultural immersion includes host-family stays in Quito and the Galapagos islands, and extensive interactions with local people throughout Ecuador.

Use the navigation links to the right for more details, or just dive in to the TCS course descriptions.


Translate »