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Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons and/or link for additional details. Remember: all students participating in exchange or affiliate programs must apply for acceptance through Longwood before partner applications can be processed.
Fact Sheet:
Program Model: Faculty-led Language of Instruction: English
Class Status: 1 - Freshman, 2 - Sophomore, 3 - Junior, 4 - Senior Program Type: Study abroad
Language Level: 0 - None Minimum GPA: 2.00
Program Leader: Melanie Marks, Sujan Henkanaththegedara Housing: Hotel
Program Description:

Conservation and Economics in Ecuadorian AmazonEcuadorian huts cropped

Program Overview
This program focuses on the importance of the Amazon rainforest ecosystem. Students will gain an understanding of tropical ecology, conservation biology, and economic development as they apply to the Amazon environment and communities. A particular topic of interest will be the decision to drill for oil in the Amazon and the impacts on biological, sociological, and economic systems. The course will highlight the integration of conservation and economics, while exploring the trade-offs associated with the decision. Students will experience life in a developing country, visit various ecosystems and indigenous communities, explore biodiversity, conduct field research, and appreciate the beauty of the country, its culture, and its people.
Course Description(s)

Melanie MarksBIOL/ENSC 495: Special Topics: Resource Curse in the Rainforest: Offered in conjunction with study abroad in Ecuador’s Amazon jungle, this course merges the fields of conservation biology and environmental economics in the context of rainforests. Students will explore the idea of the “resource curse”, a paradoxical situation in which countries with an abundance of non-renewable natural resources experience stagnant economic growth or even economic contraction. Specifically, students will apply the idea, also called the “paradox of plenty,” to Ecuador’s Amazon jungle as the country expands oil exploration in this highly sensitive area. Students will study tropical ecology, conservation biology, and environmental economics as they apply to rainforests. While in Ecuador, students will explore the rich Amazon environment while experiencing life in a developing country. Activities include exploration of different ecosystems in the country, visits to indigenous communities of the Amazon and Ilalo, nature treks and species identification with local guides, meetings with shamans of the Cofani and Siona tribes, and conduct field research. The course begins online and finishes while traveling in Ecuador. 3 credits


There are no prerequisites for this program or course. 


Participants will stay in hotels in Quito, the capital. In the rainforest participants will be housed at the Reserve for Peace which is owned by SELVA, a Dutch NGO operating in Ecuador and at an established eco-lodge in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. Participants should be aware that some areas are accessible only by boat, and facilities in the rainforest have modern bathroom amenities but are otherwise rustic.
Information Session
Melanie Marks

Students who cannot attend that information session should contact Dr. Henkanaththegedara or Dr. Marks for program information.


July 11, 2019 - July 29, 2019
   ·Online component
August 1, 2019 - August 11, 2019
   ·Day 1: Depart from Dulles Airport to Quito. Check into local hotel.
   ·Day 2: Tour of Quito, a colonial city, tour fruit and vegetable markets, visit the Ilalo indigenous community (a unique ecosystem), learn about hardpan construction projects, tour old town Quito in evening.
   ·Day 3: Depart for Amazon Reserve for Peace. Along the way stop at San Rafael Waterfall, study the transition from the Andean Highlands to lowland forest, and view the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric project and learn about its environmental affects, night trek in evening to look for species.
   ·Day 4: Visit Cofan - Pisuri Indigenous community. Meet with Aurelio, the Shaman-Governor of Cofan Nationality, trek to enormous spirit tree, study local biodiversity and medicinal plants used in indigenous medicine, conduct field research, explore Cofani craftwork.  
   ·Day 5: Travel by small boat (3 hours) into the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, identify species including several species of monkeys and the pink river dolphin, arrive at Cuyabeno eco-lodge where we will stay for multiple nights, night boating excursion to look for species.
Day 6-7: For the next 2 days visit the Siona tribe, meet shaman Delio to learn about the community and challenges, visit Siona village for yucca harvesting and cooking lesson, take boat excursions in early morning and late night to explore biodiversity and identify species, learn about local regulation for lodges and sustainability projects.  
   ·Day 8: Visit Canagüeno Lake (a restricted area) by boat, depart the Cuyabeno and head to Amazon Reserve for Peace, look for species along the way, at Reserve for Peace learn about tagua nut project and bamboo projects, learn about reforestation efforts and visited reforested land. 
   ·Day 9: Travel to Papallacta in the Andean Highlands, visit Guango hummingbird preserve, overight in Pampallacta Termales, enjoy thermal waters from volcanic activity.
   ·Day 10: Travel to Quito. Stop at El Mitad del Mundo (equator monument) and then shop in the incredible artisan market in Otovalo. 
   ·Day 11: Depart from Quito to Dulles Airport

*Note: Dates are approximate and the itinerary is subject to change*
Program Costs

The project travel fee is $2,695 and includes airfare, accommodations, most meals, transportation while abroad and admission to all venues on our itinerary.

Students are required to purchase travel insurance. Longwood tuition will be billed separately and is not included in the program fee. 


The Office of International Affairs offers three scholarships:

  • Lancers Abroad Scholarship: up to $500 for short-term programs or $900 for semester programs
  • Presidential Scholarship: up to $2,000 for semester-long programs in which participants are studying in non-Anglophone countries (generally reserved for foreign language majors, but students taking courses in the host language are also encouraged to apply).
  • Global Engagement Scholarship: up to $1,200 for those participating in a faculty-led program; applicants must be Pell Grant recipients to be eligible.

Honors students are eligible for separate funding through the Cormier Honors College. Contact Jessi Znosko to get started.

For more information on these and many other scholarship opportunities, visit our Scholarships page.
More Information


For more information, click the tabs at the top of the brochure.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 10/19/2018 ** Rolling Admission 08/01/2019 08/11/2019

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.