Internship in Conservation
and Community Development

Early in the semester each student, with the help of program faculty, makes contact with a local conservation or research organization to set up an internship that takes place during the last month of the program. Conservation internships provide the opportunity for students to apply the background they have received in the ecology, environment, culture and language of Ecuador to work on current conservation or applied research projects. Internships are supervised by staff members of Ecuadorian organizations, providing for a mutually-beneficial cultural exchange, the potential for acquiring useful job skills, and a chance to become familiar with careers in conservation and associated organizations.

The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation maintains a list of organizations from which program participants may select to do their internship.  Interns usually work on an existing project together with the local staff, but in certain circumstances may conduct their own project that helps fulfill that organization’s mission.  The types of projects are many and varied: interns may develop an environmental education program, assist in a biological survey or monitoring program, help with reforestation, work in a zoo or botanical garden, contribute to a community development project, volunteer in the operation of an ecotourism or alternative agriculture project, or participate in designing a reserve management plan. Through their internship, each student makes a tangible contribution to an ongoing project and acts as an “ambassador of goodwill” to conservation efforts in Ecuador.

Students are not expected to develop their own project, but to assist where needed within the organization, as requested by their supervisor.  In certain cases, you may assist in designing a project or develop an independent project that in some way contributes to the organization’s broader goals.  The only requirement we have is that all projects must include an outdoor component.  You will produce a written report summarizing your internship activities, including description of broader project goals, how your participation contributed, and suggested actions to advance the program.  Samples of written materials produced during the internship, such as training manuals or environmental education pamphlets should be included in the report; these materials will make an excellent contribution to your portfolio that you might submit for future job applications.  After the internship, you’ll make a short oral presentation, in standard format suitable for professional meetings, to the entire class, which in turn will provide feedback on presentation quality, clarity and completeness.

Sample list of internships with Ceiba Foundation

Sample list of internships with Other Organizations

Syllabus