Program Details

Watershed Conservation Projects Rafting In World Class Rapids Visiting Amazonian Indigenous Groups Biking The Ruta De Las Cascadas
Tena, Ecuador
Program Type:
Study Abroad
Degree Level:
High School

Program Overview

Program Description:
Ecuador’s eastern slope – the sparsely populated “Oriente” – descends through impossibly thick, verdant rainforest; tens of thousands of rivers, cascade out of the jungle canopy, merging eventually into the mighty Amazon. We’ll begin the program with a short trip from Quito, over the mighty Andes to the Amazon gateway town of Tena, where we will be based for several days. After an exciting day rafting on the world class Rio Jatunyacu, we’ll begin our first sustainability segment focused on water resource management. We collaborate with a local NGO that is working to protect Ecuador’s unique river corridors for the benefit of maintaining biodiversity and human health, and developing sustainable economies. We’ll examine a proposed dam, speak with local groups who are both for and against the project, seek to understand the political and economic forces driving the project, and contemplate alternatives. We’ll also look at waste management projects, mining operations, and other enterprises that are contributing to watershed pollution. For the second segment of the trip we will travel downstream by dugout canoe on the Napo River, one of the Amazon’s main tributaries, to the Yachana Jungle Lodge. At Yachana, we’ll take in the splendor of the rainforest stretching as the eye can see. We’ll visit an environmental school started by the Yachana Foundation and see how a meaningful education is making a difference in the lives of many young people from the Amazon region. We’ll participate in local Kichwa culture, learning their traditional farming practices and harvesting food that we will later prepare over an open fire for dinner. We’ll visit a cooperatively owned cacao collective and several microenterprises where we’ll consider the role of economics in sustainable development. We’ll also learn about timber and oil extraction in the area and observe first-hand the damage of these extractive industries to the local population and ecology. We’ll finish up the program with a visit to Banos, one of Ecuador’s top spots for adventure tourism. We’ll go canyoneering and bike the classic Ruta de las Cascadas.

Watershed Conservation Projects Rafting In World Class Rapids Visiting Amazonian Indigenous Groups Biking The Ruta De Las Cascadas

Sustainable Summer has developed a customized sustainable resource management program for high school students through a partnership with two local NGOs (non-governmental organizations). We think it’s outstanding and a truly unique offering for high school students looking to combine learning with adventure travel and cultural immersion. Topics Include: Water resource management. Human uses of water. The ecological importance of rivers. Dams. Privatization of water resources. Water politics and policy. Extractive industries in Ecuador. Oil, timber, and minerals. Economics and politics. Global supply and demand. The ecological and social impact locally and globally. Deforestation and reforestation. The importance of the Amazon as a ‘global commons.’ Causes of deforestation. Reforestation projects and the role of international NGOs in protecting the Amazon. Micro-enterprises and sustainable economic development. Fair trade. Cooperatives. Sustainable tourism. Funding sources and the role of international business and NGOs in opening global markets.
Setting Description:
In Tena, we will stay at a family-run bed & breakfast located in the quiet, northern part of town. This is one of the nicer placers in Tena and our group will takeover the entire inn. Students will share a room with another student. Accommodations are not luxurious, but pleasant with a lot of character. Hot water for showers can be intermittent. All rooms have electrical outlets and lights. For the second part of the program, we will be staying in a jungle lodge in the Amazon. Accommodations are rustic, but quite comfortable, especially considering the fact that there is no road access to the lodge. This is one of the top-rated eco-lodges in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Each room has a private bathroom and balcony. Again, students will share rooms.
$1,995 + airfare to Ecuador

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