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Global Seminar: Conservation Biology & Practice in Brazil's Atlantic Forest (Nazare Paulista)
Nazare Paulista, Brazil
Terms: Summer

Dates / Deadlines:

Term Year App Deadline App Review Begins Start Date End Date
Summer 2016 01-FEB-2016 
Variable 09-MAY-2016 26-MAY-2016
Summer 2017 27-NOV-2016** Variable 15-MAY-2017 01-JUN-2017
 NOTE: Fall Interest Meeting, November 10th at 3:30 PM in UMC 382. 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 Study Abroad staff for details.

Indicates that deadline has passed

Quick Facts:

 Program Types:
Faculty-Led Global Seminar, Field Study
 Areas of Study:
Biological Sciences, Environmental Studies, Biology (Ecology & Evolutionary), Engineering Humanities/SS
 Minimum Required GPA (at time of application):
 Minimum Class Standing (at program start):
2 - sophomore
 Course Prerequisite(s):
2000-level coursework in Natural Sciences
Residence Hall
 Open to students from:
All CU Campuses (UCB/UCD/UCCS), Any U.S. Institution, CU-Boulder
 Language(s) of Instruction:
 Course Load for Summer/Winter Program:
4 credits
 Length of Summer/Winter Program:
3 Weeks, *Maymester
Host Institution: Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas

Program Information:


Sloth in Motion by Dr. Tim Kittel

  • 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 cultural activities like Capoeira & learn from the Cambury Quilombo people

  • Travel to and spend 4 days in the Serra do Mar Biodiversity Corridor, a conservation corridor extending 1000 km along the South Atlantic coast

  • Earn 4 credits in two and a half weeks

  • Missed the Interest Meeting? Check out the info here!

  • Learn more about this program: Video and Photo Gallery and hear from a student about her experience


Atlantic Forest by Dr. Tim Kittel

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 Nazaré Paulista, a rural municipality 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 residence hall/research station. Meals (included in the program fee) are provided in a dining hall on IPÊ's campus. The program includes a Welcome & Farewell Dinner.


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.


  • 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 at IPÊ's professional training center in Nazaré Paulista, São Paulo state, 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.

Students often have the chance to visit the Cambury Quilombo, a traditional community embedded in the Serra do Mar State Park, which was established over 100 years ago by escaped black slaves. Spend nearly a full day in the community, with informal discussions with a fisherman/boat carpenter, an agroforester, and other community members.


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.



  • Global Grant for IAFS and G-RAP Students: The International Affairs Program (IAFS) and Global Studies RAP (G-RAP) offer Global Grants for CU-Boulder Study Abroad Programs. The grants are $1,000 each and open to IAFS and G-RAP students only. To be considered you must apply for the CU-Boulder Study Abroad Scholarship (see the link above).

  • 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:

Hannah Elena Hilden-Reid, Summer 2015 Participant
This experienced has completely changed my life, I will be forever grateful for the dense level of knowledge I have accumulated over the duration of the course.
Summer 2015 Participant
It made me think about conservation in a completely different way.
Johannes Francisco Loetz, Summer 2013 Participant
Shaped my understanding of how what we were studying interfaces with actual people and their day-to-day needs and challenges. This is what books are written about, not the other way around, and it's important to have seen that in person.
Summer 2013 Participant
Gave very good insight into how conservation actually works in communities.
Summer 2015 Participant
The excursions were really fun, I got to see a lot of new things.
Read All reviews of this program