Tropical Conservation Semester
Course Descriptions

Ceiba has been dedicated to tropical conservation and community sustainability for over 20 years, and every aspect of your semester draws on that experience.  You’ll master the classroom fundamentals of conservation, marine biology, and tropical ecology, then travel to pristine sites to test that knowledge.  We see conservation as inherently multi-disciplinary, and have built our courses to reflect that ideal: everyone who enrolls has something unique and valuable to contribute, and subjects as diverse as economics, law, mathematics, engineering, and communication all play an important role.

Tropical Ecology,
Ecosystems, & Evolution

Field sites: Amazon Rainforest, cloud forest, coastal dry forest, Andean paramo, and the Galapagos Islands

An in-depth treatment of ecological principals and a survey of major tropical ecosystems.  You’ll study the ecology and conservation status of flora and fauna in each system, practice methods for biological surveys and monitoring, and learn about key environmental threats — all necessary elements for executing successful conservation projects.  Visits to Ceiba’s El Pahuma Orchid Reserve and Lalo Loor Dry Forest, plus a three-week stay in the Amazon Rainforest highlight this hands-on learning adventure.  (4 credits)


Marine Biology of
Coastal & Reef Ecosystems

Field sites: rocky tidepools, sandy shorlines of Ecuador's central coast, Machalilla National Park, Amazon and the Galapagos Islands

An introduction to oceanography and an exploration of the ecology, evolution, and conservation of marine environments including coral reefs, mangroves and the deep sea.  We discuss the many ways humans rely on the seas, how oceans interact with global climate, and how fisheries and marine reserves are managed.  Three weeks in the Galapagos Islands, including a cruise of the islands and a local family home stay, plus leading your own underwater research, make this course a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  (4 credits)


Conservation Biology
and Global Sustainability

Field sites: Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve, Antisana Volcano Ecological Reserve, El Pahuma Orchid Reserve, Lalo Loor Dry Forest, Galapagos National Park

A thorough introduction to the science of conservation biology combined with experiential learning in terrestrial and marine systems of conservation concern.  You’ll master the theories behind conservation solutions, and address concepts such as habitat loss and fragmentation, population biology, land use, and reserve design and management.  Emphasis is place on the need for pairing conservation with sustainable development in the context of the rural communities and locally-run reserves we visit.  (3 credits)


Spanish Language and
Latin American Culture

Sites: Quito, host families in Cumbaya and on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos, plus all the reserves and research stations and communities we visit during the semester

You will be paired with an Ecuadorian host family in the attractive university town of Cumbaya, just outside Quito, and be placed in a condensed Spanish language course led by native speakers.  Pre-course placement exams ensure you receive training appropriate to your existing command of the language.  Intensive classes teach grammar, vocabulary and the richness of Latin American culture, helping you to adapt smoothly to life in Ecuador and communicate effectively during the program and beyond.  (3 credits)


Internship in Conservation
and Community Development

Field sites: choose between rainforest, cloud forest, coastal dry forest, marine reserves, lowland organic farms, highland chocolate farms, or rural communities across Ecuador

Put your knowledge of the ecology, conservation, culture and language of Ecuador to work in ongoing conservation, research, or development projects!  You’ll work with a local organization to gain practical experience and contribute tangibly to projects in habitat protection, ecological research, environmental education, or sustainable development.  Choose among internships located in field stations in the Amazon, dry forest, or mountainous cloud forest, or be placed in rural communities on Ecuador’s coast.  (2 credits)