Ecuador: Ecology & Conservation Biology

A GVSU Faculty-led Program

  • Ecuador: Ecology & Conservation Biology Photo
  • Ecuador: Ecology & Conservation Biology Photo
  • Ecuador: Ecology & Conservation Biology Photo

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Tell me about this program

Open to: All majors

Quito, Ecuador — ¡Bienvenidos a Ecuador! Students will explore and experience the ecology and biodiversity of the cloud forest ecosystem of the equatorial Andes Mountains as well as canoe and explore the Amazon River headwaters —all the while being immersed in the South American, Incan and Amazonian indigenous cultures in and around the Quito region.

Students will work in 3 river systems at the research reserve, Reserva Las Gralarias, located in the Parish of Mindo along the Western front of the Andes mountain range. This program will explore land-use in and around the reserve including the impact of rural farming and grazing.  Students will have the opportunity to assist with ongoing forest re-vegetation efforts. The baseline data collected during this program will inform the local community about enhancing and maintaining their local ecosystem.

During the second week of the program, students will move to a higher elevation and gain hands-on experience of tropical wildlife rehabilitation at the Otavalo Condor Rehabilitation Center. Guided tours will introduce students to the local community, including a trip to one of the best known Indian Markets in the region.

Next, students will travel into the Amazon basin for a 5 day trip down the eastern slope of the Andes to the Napo River, one of the largest Amazon tributaries.  We will canoe downstream to a jungle lodge and conduct day and night trips to explore the biology, ecology, and local culture, including a tree-top canopy exploration on catwalks. Throughout the jungle, we will observe capybaras, howler and capuchin monkeys, river otters, three-toed sloths, several species of bats, and a huge variety of insects and birds.

When can I go?

May 1 - May 18, 2014 (3 weeks)

Where will I live?

Program participants will stay in a lodge while on the reserves and in hostels.

Who is eligible to participate?

This program is open to all majors.  It is recommend but not required that students take BIO 215 (general ecology) before departure. A minimum 2.5 GPA is required.

GVSU is happy to extend this opportunity to non-GVSU students.

How do I apply?

To apply for this program, log on to to begin your online application.

The deadline for the 2014 program has passed. Applications for the 2015 program are not yet being accepted but will be due by February 1, 2015

Non-GVSU Students visit for detailed information on how to apply.

What credits will I receive?

Students will register for a total of six (6) credits:

BIO 417: International Field Biology (3 credits)

NRM 407: Natural Resources and Society  (3 credits)

Accepted students will meet 3 hours per week during the second half of winter semester.

How much does the program cost?

Program Fee: $3,610

  • Round-trip transportation from Grand Rapids
  • Accommodation
  • Some meals
  • All excursions and field trips
  • All ground transportation
Other Expenses
  • GVSU Tuition - 6 credits ($2,742)
  • Personal expenses ($300)
  • Passport ($140)
  • ISICoptional ($28)

TOTAL PROJECTED COST (Program Fee + Other Expenses) = $6,820

Additional Program Cost Information

Cost Comparison for GVSU Cost of Attendance for Spring/Summer 2014, based on 1/2 Time Enrollment (In-State Undergraduate): $6,966

Financial Aid

Contact Nick Bromley in the Financial Aid Office at with questions. Include in the email your G-number and the name of your study abroad program. 

Non-GVSU Students: Non-GVSU students admitted for study abroad are not eligible for Financial Aid from GVSU. Check with your home school’s study abroad and financial aid offices for details on applying for financial aid from your home school toward study abroad program costs. 

Financial Aid FAQs


FACULTY-LED PROGRAM GRANT: up to $1,500. All degree-seeking students who apply to their faculty-led program by the priority deadline are automatically considered for a grant of up to $1,500 from the Padnos International Center. Students must have a current FAFSA on file to be eligible. No application required.

Visit for additional information.



Who can tell me more?

2014 Director:
Eric Snyder
207 Henry Hall
Biology Department

All program information including courses, duration of program, dates, and other logistics are subject to change. Programs may be cancelled due to extenuating circumstances.