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  • Locations: Iguazu Falls, Brazil; Teodoro Sampaio, Brazil
  • Terms: Summer: May
  • Dates / Deadlines
Program Information:


  • Obtain hands-on experience in principles and practice of conservation biology
  • Learn about Brazil's other tropical forest — the Atlantic Forest, a threatened center of faunal and floral biodiversity

  • Participate in individual and group projects related to on-going, fully-operational conservation programs that couple biological understanding with practice

  • Participate in local cultural activities

  • Travel to and spend 7 days in Brazil's Iguaçu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, protecting a half million acres of Atlantic Rain Forest

  • Earn 4 credits in two and a half weeks

  • Learn more about this program: see the photo gallery and hear from a student about her experience and from this student!

  • Check out the program reviews!



Missed the interest meeting? View the presentation here!




Black Lion Tamarin by Gabriela Rezende

Our host institution is the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (IPÊ; Institute of Ecological Research), one of Brazil's largest environmental non-governmental organizations. IPÊ operates integrated local community conservation programs throughout Brazil. The course is located at one of their sites in the Atlantic Forest, the Pontal do Paranapanema, a rural area in São Paulo state. This location provides both the socio-ecological context and institutional infrastructure to successfully learn about on-the-ground conservation solutions. This course takes place at the beginning of southeastern Brazil's 'dry season'–a time when summer rains have largely abated.


You will be housed in a modern residence in a rural setting and at the National Park's research station. All meals, including Welcome & Farewell Dinners, are are provided.


You are responsible for making your own transportation arrangements to Brazil and back. Note that most flights from/to the US are overnight flights, so you will likely leave the US the day prior to the official program start date. Departures on the official program end date will likely mean a US return on the following day because of overnight flights.

Transportation to and from the airport and for all site visits is included in the program fee.


Iguazu Falls by Gwen Kittel
  • Course: EBIO 4340 (upper-division), EBIO 5340 (graduate), ENVS 4340 (upper-division), or ENVS 5340 (graduate): Conservation Biology and Practice in Brazil's Atlantic Forest
  • Credits: 4 upper-division credit hours
  • Approved for: EBIO Lab/Field and 4000-course major requirements and ENVS's application and specialization requirements
  • Grading: This is a CU Boulder course, so you will receive letter grades
  • Prerequisite: 2000- or higher-level coursework in Natural Sciences (EBIO, ENVS, GEOG, ANTH, or other discipline related to ecology and/or socioeconomic development). Please email Dr. Timothy Kittel at if you are unsure if you meet the program's prerequisites.
  • See course description

This field course will be held in a 'conservation crisis' setting, Brazil's Atlantic Forest. This biome is one of Conservation International's Biodiversity Hotspots, with only 5-7% of its original extent remaining. Because the remaining forest is largely in human-dominated landscapes, successful conservation practice can only occur jointly with efforts to alleviate socioeconomic issues. This course will utilize on-going, fully-operational conservation programs that couple biological understanding with practice. These provide an opportunity for you to learn by participating in these activities through individual and group projects.

Classes will be held, first, at IPÊ's research center in the Pontal do Paranapanema region of western São Paulo state and then in Iguaçu Falls National Park (Brazil). Guest lecturers will be IPÊ research scientists and government environmental agency personnel. This is a three-credit course that meets EBIO Lab/Field and 4000-course major requirements and ENVS's application and specialization requirements. All lectures, report presentations, and exams are in English.


Dr. Tim Kittel by Stephanie Mendez

Dr. Tim Kittel has over thirty years of professional experience in global comparative ecosystem and climate geography. The Global Seminar's focus on conservation in practice derives from his academic expertise in teaching overseas field courses and from collaborations with scientists and managers of natural areas in Latin America. Since 2000, he has been teaching a 5-week summer field course on "Conservation Biology and Field Methods in Ecology" for Columbia University. He has directed this course abroad in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Dr. Kittel also teaches a Winter Ecology field course at CU's Mountain Research Station. Click here to view his web page.


The program includes a community lunch in IPÊ's rural neighborhood. This is a chance for the community to welcome students and for you to learn directly about rural life in this part of Brazil. Course staff will serve as translators. The course schedule is intense, but includes some opportunities to visit cultural sites. You are encouraged to plan to spend time on your own before or after the class to get to know more of Brazil.



Under program costs, select Brazil/Teodor Sampaio & Iguazu Falls/Summer 2018


  • Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Grants: (up to $2,400/project) for undergraduate research or creative work projects including projects while studying abroad. Application, detailed descriptions, project archive (to get project ideas) are available on the UROP website. Application deadline is EARLY - usually in late February/early March.



Coastal Rainforest by Gabi Rezende

Program Reviews:
Summer 2014 Participant
The course was Conservation Biology in the Atlantic Forest, it was in Brazil, we had tons of interaction with the local people thanks to the efforts of the instructors and IPE facility. We took many hikes, boat rides, and drives all over the area, so we were able to see a lot of Brazil in the short amount of time we had.

Summer 2016 Participant
The setting of the course is unlike anything I have experienced at CU. Not only are you surrounded by the beautiful Atlantic Forest, but by so many encouraging, amazing people who want to make a difference in our world.

Summer 2013 Participant
Gave very good insight into how conservation actually works in communities.

Summer 2016 Participant
The program director was the best instructor I've ever had. He is an amazing teacher and knows all about Brazil and conservation biology as well as a wide variety of other topics.

Summer 2015 Participant
The courses were incredible useful, I learned everything I could possibly know about conservation and ecology.

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline App Review Begins Start Date End Date
Summer: May 2018 26-NOV-2017 ** Variable 14-MAY-2018 31-MAY-2018
NOTE: Dates on this page are for information only; final dates will be confirmed with participants after acceptance to the program. Do not purchase airfare until instructed to do so by your Program Manager. The Start Date indicates the day participants arrive at the program location; the End Date indicates the day participants depart from the program location.

** Most programs’ applications are reviewed on a rolling basis (starting August 1st for Spring programs and January 15th for Summer and Fall programs). NOTE: Some programs start the admissions process earlier and fill before the deadline, and some programs’ applications aren’t reviewed until after the deadline. Check with Education Abroad staff for details.