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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Multiple Cities, Multiple Countries; Quito, Ecuador
  • Program Terms: ISP
  • Restrictions: NCF applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Description:
***Only students who have consulted with Dr. Clark may proceed and submit their forms and documents***

The 2024 New College ISP Ecuador program is a field-based research expedition to the Ecuadorian rainforest. Students will develop skills in collections-based research by documenting the flora from a cloud forest on the eastern slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes. Our research will result in a 0.25-hectare permanent plot that will facilitate long-term monitoring of tree diversity. We will also generate museum-quality collections for ongoing biodiversity studies. These specimens will be integrated into museum collections at the Smithsonian Institution, New York Botanical Garden, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Missouri Botanical Garden, Universidad
Estatal Amazónica, and other herbaria. There are no prerequisites, but the desire to learn and use Spanish, to spend a large portion of the day in physical activity, and to enjoy field biology and nature are essential. The ideal group size is between 10 and 15 students; the trip will be appropriate for students of any class. Long-term deliverables and post-trip experiences (e.g., publications & presentations) are a goal of this program. Students will be encouraged to continue their learning in biodiversity studies through ongoing internships and research experiences at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, where Clark is employed as a research botanist. 

The course is contingent on a minimum of ten student participants.​

The primary objectives of this course are for students to develop an understanding of biological, ecological, and cultural diversity in the context of tropical ecosystems in a developing country. Major goals include the following:
  • Plant family identification using vegetative and reproductive features
  • Learn to recognize important rainforest vegetation types by understanding climate and geography
  • Experience local culture and recognize the relationship between humans and the natural landscape
  • Develop an understanding of natural resources, including sustainable development, farming, and natural resources history and current uses
  • Develop an understanding of local environmental regulations of protected areas and issues of land tenure
  • Practice techniques related to traveling and living in remote environments
  • Practice basic Spanish and communication skills
Field trip report: You are expected to maintain journal entries throughout our expedition to document biological, cultural, and geographical information. The goal is for you to have a record of our journey through Ecuador that could easily be recreated on a map by looking at your entries. It would help if you used the journal entries to reflect on personal observations about the biological and cultural diversity that you experience throughout the expedition.
Research Project: The end of the expedition will culminate in an oral presentation based on field observations of a selected group of organisms. You will document and share with other group members at least one symbiotic relationship during the course and explain this relationship to the rest of the group. Readings and daily activities will guide you in selecting an organism of interest. We will carry a reference library and have access to research expertise at each research station.

Pre-trip orientation: We will conduct two pre-trip orientation meetings in late November and early December. One session will focus on getting to know each other (e.g., sharing core group expectations, personal goals, fears, passions, etc.). A second meeting will take place to discuss packing logistics.
January 4, 2024: NCF – Expedition Staging and travel to the airport. We will meet at the entrance of Heiser Natural Science to stage the expedition. From NCF, we will travel to Miami or Fort Lauderdale to spend the night adjacent to the airport for an early departure flight on January 5.
January 5, 2024: Flight FLL or MIA to Quito, Ecuador. We will arrive at the Quito International Airport and be transported by bus (Empresa Gira
Sol) to our hotel. Night in Quito (Hotel Stubel Suites & Cafe). 
January 6, 2024: Day trip to Yanacocha Reserve. Night in Quito.The Yanacocha Reserve is located on the slopes of Volcan Pichincha, an hour outside
Quito (capital city of Ecuador). The Yanacocha Reserve protects 964 hectares of elfin Polylepis forest and is home to the Black-breasted Puffleg. The reserve contains the
entire world range of this exceedingly rare (yet easily observable) hummingbird. The area is also an essential water source for Quito's capital city. It is extraordinary to have such a large area of important and intact habitat close to a large city like Quito.
January 7 to 11, 2024 (4 nights & 5 days): Sumak Kawsay In Situ. The Sumak Kawsay In Situ is located in Central Ecuador in the eastern Andes. The reserve is family-owned and adjacent to the Llanganates National Park, upriver from the Río Anzu reserve (Fundación EcoMinga). These montane forests represent an ecological
corridor between the Andes and the Amazon. It is an important watershed for the Upper Pastaza, and the vegetation ranges from cloud forest to paramo (tropical alpine
grasslands). Our team will document plant diversity of the Sumak Kawsay In Situ reserve by generating museum quality specimens that will play an important role in promoting and documenting the region's plant diversity.
January 11, 2024: Travel day between Sumak Kawsay In Situ to Puyo
January 12-14, 2024: CEIPCA - We will transition to Puyo and visit three natural areas. During our visit to Puyo, we will spend time with Ecuadorian students studying biodiversity at the Universidad Estatal Amazónica. In addition, Dr. Diego Guiterrez del Pozo, director of the Herbario Amazónico del Ecuador, will join us on several of our outings. The areas we will visitinclude the following: Río Pitua, Río Pastaza (white sand), and Río Anzu.
January 15, 2024: Travel day between Puyo and Baños
January 16, 2024: Travel from Baños to Quito – tour of Quito 
January 17, 2024: Return to the USA.

COST: $2,100
The course fee covers all meals, lodging (including hotel before our departure), guides, etc. Accommodations include shared hotel rooms with modern amenities in cities and tents in the backcountry. Dr. Clark will provide tents and sleeping pads. Students are required to obtain a sleeping bag, backpack, and day pack. Other minor gear (e.g., plastic bags, tarps, and jungle boots) will be provided by Dr. Clark.
Food: All food is included in the course. All meals are communal. We will eat at restaurants in cities. Members of the community will cook meals in the backcountry. In addition, Dr. Clark will purchase snacks. You are encouraged to discuss any dietary restrictions with Dr. Clark.
Payment #1 ($1,100) is due on Wednesday, November 22 (before Thanksgiving break)
Payment #2: ($1,000) is due on Friday, December 1

Students should submit checks to the New College Foundation, located in the Keating Center. Checks should be payable to New College of FL Foundation. In the memo area, please indicate "Fund 1233"
Students who registered for the first semester have already paid for the ISP registration (unless you have already completed 3 ISPs). Students who have yet to pay for the first semester must register for the ISP (not included in the Ecuador ISP costs).

The course does not cover airfare, international travel health insurance, passport application fees, or vaccinations. 

Airfare to/from Florida: approx. $600 - Students are responsible for booking and paying for their flight to Quito. Students are also responsible for travel between Sarasota and FLL/MIA. The course will cover the hotel for the night before departure. The course will also cover costs for long-term parking (e.g., park-sleep-fly).

Personal expenses: Bring $100 for minor incidentals (e.g., beverage soda at the airport). We will spend a day in Baños, a town that hosts a large artisan market. Students are encouraged to bring additional cash if planning on purchasing locally available hand-crafted jewelry, clothing, blankets, etc.

International travel insurance: Participants for this ISP should purchase international travel insurance that provides coverage in case of sickness and accident overseas, as well as medical evacuation and repatriation. Participants may choose any provider; however, travel insurance waivers from DAN or ISOS are recommended (cf., links below).

ISP SPONSOR/PROGRAM CONTACT: Dr. John L. Clark, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences Division ( and Research Botanist, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (

Do I need a passport to travel to Ecuador?     
Yes, and Ecuadorian immigration mandates that your passport is valid for an additional six months by the time of departure. Information on how to apply for/renew your passport is available here.
Do I need a visa to travel to Ecuador for this program?
US Students do not need a visa. International students should check with their respective embassy or contact Dr. Clark (
Are there any required immunizations to participate in this program?  
You are encouraged to visit the CDC website for vaccine recommendations for Ecuador.
Are there COVID vaccination/testing requirements to enter the country?
No, but vaccination against COVID is highly recommended.
Do students have to be at least 18 years old to participate?  
Can first-year students participate?
Is it safe to travel in Ecuador?
Ecuador, as designated by the United States Department of State as a Level 2 risk, presents certain liabilities. While Ecuador is known for its stunning natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and friendly people, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with travel. The Level 2 designation suggests that travelers should exercise increased caution while in Ecuador. Some potential liabilities include security concerns in certain regions, street crime in urban areas, and occasional political demonstrations. Natural disasters like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions can also pose a threat.
The New College in Ecuador ISP is located on the eastern slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes in the provinces of Tungurahua and Pastaza. These two states are significantly less of a risk than the western lowlands often featured in the news (e.g., Guayaquil). The selection of the eastern Andean slopes was intentional; Dr. Clark carefully selected areas where crime rates are significantly lower relative to other areas in Ecuador. In addition, Dr. Clark has extensive experience in all the regions for the 2024 ISP (sometimes as far back as 1989).
Information on the US State Department’s current travel advisories in Ecuador are available via the link below.
Ecuador ISP Photo 1

This program is currently not accepting applications.