• Tropical Conservation Semester - Amazon Rainforest
  • Tropical Conservation Semester - Amazon Rainforest
  • Tropical Conservation Semester - Galapagos Islands
  • TCS Terrestrial Ecology
  • Tropical Conservation Semester - Dry Forest
  • Students birdwatch in El Pahuma cloud forest

Tropical Conservation Semester

The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation has teamed up with the University of Wisconsin to offer an exciting semester-abroad program in applied tropical ecology and conservation. Based in Ecuador, this one-of-a-kind program features coursework focused on the ecology and conservation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, practical internships with conservation and research organizations, hands-on participation in Ceiba’s habitat protection projects, and immersion in Latin American culture. The unique collaboration between a renowned university and an established tropical conservation organization allows us to blend the academic and applied realms, bridging the gap between science and practical conservation.


The Tropical Conservation Semester (TCS) is ideal for undergraduate students in both biological and social fields that seek interdisciplinary training invaluable for careers in habitat protection, international development, tropical ecology, and environmental education. By combining extended explorations of the Galapagos and the Amazon rainforest with internships that immerse participants in ongoing conservation projects, this intensive program grants students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to broaden their horizons and acquire hands-on experience with conservation and development in practice.

See what prior students have to say about their semester in this video by TCS alum Max Owens!

Tropical Conservation Semester: Galapagos, Andes, and Amazon from Ceiba Foundation on Vimeo.


Over half the semester is spent at field sites that include the world-renowned Galapagos Islands and the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazonian rainforest (see Where We Go), as well as Ceiba Foundation project sites at the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve and the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve.  Each course will combine classroom lectures with field instruction and activities that focus on ecology and natural history, ecosystem and reserve management, monitoring and biological research methods, community-based participatory planning, and habitat conservation.  During the final month of the semester, each student carries out an internship with a local organization of their choice, putting their knowledge to work in a conservation, applied research or sustainable development project!

One of the most unique aspects of this semester-length program is the opportunity to live and study in the Galapagos Islands for three full weeks. See more in this video from 2017!

What Sets Ceiba Programs Apart

Our semester program has trained conservationists and ecologists for more than a decade, with most of them going on to meaningful jobs with international organizations or field research research.  Program professors are highly experienced ecologists, each with over 25 years experience in the tropics.  Ceiba’s ongoing habitat conservation projects are among the key sites visited during the program, giving participants a chance to gain experience with how such projects are planned and managed.  As a member of the international conservation community, Ceiba offers participants the opportunity to make connections with other non-governmental organizations and to work directly with them as interns on real conservation projects.


I. Tropical Ecology & Conservation course sequence includes classroom and field lectures in Terrestrial Ecology, and Marine Biology, as well as Conservation Biology with field trips in the cloud forest, Amazon rain forest, páramo, coast, and Galapagos! (8 credits)

II. Conservation Internship with a local conservation, research or development organization during the final month of the semester. (2 credits)

III. Spanish Language and cultural immersion includes host-family stays in Quito and the Galapagos islands, and extensive interactions with local people throughout Ecuador. (3 credits)

Use the navigation links (above right) for more details, or just dive in to the TCS course descriptions.

Join the Ceiba Foundation in a life-changing exploration of one of South America’s most exciting destinations!  Have questions?  Contact us! Or, jump straight into the application (through University of Wisconsin).