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 outdoor 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. 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. 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.
Ceiba has partnered with the University of Wisconsin Arboretum’s Latino Earth Partnership (LEP) to promote a school curriculum which involves environmental education. Ceiba, with the help of LEP interns, work in the rural schools on the coast to engage students and teachers to create school gardens, lead environmentally themed activities in classrooms, give public presentations on environmental themes in local communities, and lead trips to the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve.