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Students in the Tropical Conservation Semester are taking conservation in their own hands, and contributing valuable skills and inexhaustible energy to ongoing projects across Ecuador. The internship component of the TCS program provides students with the opportunity to work with organizations dedicated to environmental education, wildlife rehabilitation, scientific research, community development, and organic farming, among others options.
Several of our group are working with Equilibrio Azul, a marine conservation organization operating out of the southern coastal city of Puerto Lopez. Environmental education and sea turtle research are the main objectives there, with students monitoring nests on sandy beaches waiting for tiny turtles to hatch. Several other students are working on an organic farm, organizing a local workshop in sustainable agriculture techniques, while another student is helping an Amazonian wildlife rehabilitation facility care for animals and prepare them for release into the wild.
The majority of students, however, are assisting the Ceiba Foundation in projects focused in and around the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve. These include operating our ongoing wildlife monitoring program, collecting data in multi-year Howler Monkey, and streamwater quality research projects, supporting reforestation and agroforestry activities, and designing coastal research to be continued by future reserve volunteers. Busy, busy!
After several months studying conservation, TCS students are fully prepared to put into action the skills and experiences gained over this multi-faceted semester. Through these endeavors they prove to themselves how much they have learned, and how much they have to give. The organizations benefit as well … who wouldn’t jump at the chance to receive such high caliber assistance? We believe the internship component is the ideal way for students to cap off their conservation semester: by giving back to local organizations and communities, as a form of thanks for a life-changing experience in Ecuador.