The Ceiba Foundation offers a variety of internships in conservation, research, education, and community development. These internships are a great way to combine your academic background with hands-on field experience. Broaden your horizons and gain valuable experience as you lend a hand to the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation. As a Ceiba Intern, you will put your knowledge and skills to work for habitat conservation, reforestation, environmental education, community development, and scientific research.
Coastal Ecuador is a beautiful region of verdant hills, quaint villages, and expansive coastline. Your internship in coastal Ecuador will be based at the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve and the nearby communities of Tabuga, Camarones, and Jama, where the Ceiba Foundation has been working since 2004 on conservation, education, and community development projects.
You will be working closely with the Science and Volunteer Coordinator who oversees ongoing projects at the reserve, including internships. The reserve is also staffed by a manager and a cook. The nearby community of Tabuga, a 10 minute walk away has a population of approximately 750 people that dedicate themselves to agriculture, tourism, and other small enterprises. Camarones, a 50-minute walk, is located more inland and has a population of about 500 people, most of whom are farmers. Jama is a larger town about 20 minutes south by bus, where there is internet, several high schools, and a hospital. Community members participate directly in many of Ceiba’s internship projects.
Interns are housed alongside researchers and volunteers in the wooden station house at the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve that accommodates up to 24 people in four-person rooms adjoining a spacious common area. The station is located within the forest, where howler monkeys wake you nearly every morning. Meals are provided in the station, which has no electricity (but plenty of candlelight!), cold water showers, and composting toilets. At the reserve’s entrance is an educational EcoCenter for visiting tourists and school groups; electricity is available there for charging of cameras, laptops, etc.
The primary objectives of the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve are to protect the forest and its wildlife, offer facilities for students, visitors and researchers, maintain an extensive trail system, conduct species inventories and scientific research, and care for reforestation plots. One goal is to demonstrate that a small private reserve can generate sustainable income and stable employment for local people. It is our hope that other community members will develop their own ecotourism options – and this is already underway – so that the region can become a focal point for “green” tourism. Another goal is to show communities that forest protection is beneficial to their own health, since intact forests provide clean water and other ecological services. To this end we have turned our attention to providing environmental education to residents of nearby communities, particularly school teachers and school children. Many school groups routinely visit the reserve to carry out small research and discovery projects. The reserve has recently been the center of an extensive private forest conservation effort, Socio Bosque, created by the Ecuadorian government but implemented in this region by Ceiba; in this effort our aim is to establish a continuous biological corridor by linking protected forests throughout the region.