Program Overview

Sustainability in the Amazon

Are you interested in learning about sustainability through community from indigenous people who have been living these principles for a thousand years?  Are you interested in having an adventure of a life-time in a tropical Amazon environment?  Would you like to receive college credit while exploring amazing cultures and the rich biodiversity of the Amazon region? Are you interested in learning how one life, your life, can make a BIG difference in the world? If so, we invite you to join us for Sustainability in the Amazon – a two week experiential learning adventure. The indigenous communities of Ecuador provide a perfect opportunity to learn about sustainability through community from cultures that have been practicing a deep respect for the earth and strong community ties for a very long time. We will visit two communities: First, the Shuar community of Yuwints which we will access by trekking. The Yuwintz community has a deep respect for the natural environment and each other and a strong commitment to sustainable community living and ecotourism. See for more information. What will you do?

  • Hike into the community of Yuwints the way the Shuar travel through primary rainforests of the Amazon
  • Participate in community life through day stays with Shuar families
  • Visit sacred waterfalls and ancestral ceiba trees
  • Learn how deforestation and oil production threaten indigenous community life and what can be done to stop this destruction
  • Roll up your shirt sleeves and engage in service-learning projects with local community members
  • Learn about tropical flora and fauna
  • Understand the connections between your life and their survival

Second, we will visit the Salasaca indigenous community in the Central Andes.  The Salasaca people are famous for raising sheep and the production of fibers for making wool and elaborate weavings.  The Pila family, led by Alonso, will teach us the ancient sustainable practices of sheep husbandry and weaving. See for more information. What will you do while visiting the Salasaca community?

  • Stay with a family of sheep-raising, wool producing traditional weavers
  • Experience the rhythms of animal care, fiber production and the famous Salasacan weaving traditions
  • Learn about Salasaca magical writing and weaving iconography
  • Understand how the Salasaca are impacted by encroaching development
  • Learn about sustainable energy production from micro-hydro to solar power
  • Learn how your life is connected to these people and what you can do to make a difference in the world

Where will you stay? In a rustic lodge along with your fellow explorers.

What about college credit?  You will receive 3 college credits – ENVS 380 – :  Ecology, Humans, and Sustainability: Lessons from Nature

How much does the program cost?  $4,200 + airfare.

What are the dates of the program?   This is currently a custom program, so the dates are set by you and when you would like to travel with your group.

How do I apply?  You can apply online at: Have further questions?  Give us a call at 207-230-4025 or e-mail us at: We look forward to hearing from you!

Current Ecuador Programs

CELL Amazon Maymester

CELL Amazon Maymester

CELL’s Sustainability in the Amazon Maymester is a perfect supplement to your curriculum! Come experience first hand what sustainability is all about and learn sustainable practices from indigenous communities living these principles. Come open your heart to amazing cultures and communities and learn what you can do in your life to live more sustainably!

More Details

Are you interested in learning the principles of sustainability though community from inspiring indigenous communities in Ecuador? If so, come join us for a life-changing adventure. What will you do? A lot! A sample of a few activities:

  • Live, study and work alongside inspiring, passionate people who have committed their lives to making our planet a more environmentally sustainable, socially just, and healthier and happier place to live
  • Practice speaking Spanish while visiting with your Ecuador host family during homestay portions of the program (no previous Spanish language study needed)
  • Learn the principles of sustainable community development from indigenous communities that have been living these principles for a thousand years
  • Learn about unique issues communities are facing and how they are working together to resolve them
  • Learn about tropical ecology and how we can design sustainable human systems patterned after nature as architect
  • Hike in the biodiverse tropical rainforest and see up close and personal a rich variety of plant and animal species
  • Meet inspiring people whose lives are untarnished by modern society
  • Come open your heart and mind to being changed forever.


Our Partners in Ecuador


Indigenous Shuar Community

Shuar Community of Yuwints – A beautiful, indigenous Amazon community accessible by trekking. The Shuar have a deep respect for their environment and for each other.

Indigenous Salasaca Community

The Salasaca Community of the Central Andes is famous for sheep and the production of wool and elaborate weavings.

“Sustainability through community is being in a place where people care deeply about the natural world and each other, that creates a space for people to grow and share and love, and that is a constant exchange of giving and taking with no one keeping track. I don’t know all of what it takes to build a sustainable community, but I want to try and I want to help create a feeling of community in the places I am and the places I’m going.”
Courtney Remacle

CELL Central America