Since more people are getting their COVID-19 vaccinations and the potential for travel is in sight, we’re using today’s Feel Good Friday to highlight travel programs for youth with Ecology Project International.
Founded in 2000 by an educator and a scientist working in Costa Rica, the mission of Ecology Project International (EPI) is “to inspire and empower the world's youth through immersive experiences with nature and science.” They do this by engaging local communities in youth development, leadership and habitat conservation and running world-class, science focused travel programs for students and teachers. You can watch the founders explain in this short video.
With a focus on conservation for the next generation, EPI’s global initiatives educate youth in communities where they have research sites including: conservation efforts in the Galapagos, scientific research in Yellowstone and protecting habitat in Belize.
EPI’s travel programs are open to middle school, high school, and college-aged students and there are also professional development programs for all teachers and non-traditional educators. Examples of these student and teacher expeditions include studying whale ecology or marine science in Mexico, learning about rainforest species, primates or sea turtles in Costa Rica and studying the island ecology of Hawaii.
Since they began, over 40,000 students have joined EPI projects in the field. And what have they done? Released 36,000 sea turtle hatchlings in Costa Rica, counted 505 yellow-headed parrots in Belize and registered 84 benthic marine species in Baja (think anemones and sea stars). You can read more details about the students’ impact here.
Programs and procedures have been adjusted to minimize the risks associated with COVID-19 and enrollments are currently open. If you’re not looking to participate in a trip but still want to support the work of EPI you can do that by making a donation, shopping for clothing and gear and amplifying their message on social media. Like the EPI Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @ecologyproject. Happy trails.