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Education and Training

ACA’s experienced staff shares innovative conservation tools and practices with local organizations and communities. Our field stations, Los Amigos, Wayqecha, and Villa Carmen have become centers for educational trips by local schoolchildren as well as leading training sites for Peruvian and international university groups. In 2013 alone, over 600 students experienced the Peruvian Amazon at our three biological stations. These stations offer programs ranging from introductory courses on Amazonia to plant identification and ornithology.

This focus on training reflects our conviction that saving the greatest forests on Earth requires supercharging a new generation of South American scientists and conservationists.

Ethnobotany Field Course at Wayqecha and Villa Carmen

Join Dr. Jill Stansbury on a 10 day course studying Peruvian plants and traditional indigenous culture. This 10 day course meets in Cusco and includes the study of Andean plants and a weeklong journey down to the Manu region of the Amazon to study with the Wachiperi, the Matsigenka, and the Bora indigenous communities.  Topics to include medicinal plants, enthogenic and spiritually significant plants, the concepts of energetic diseases and their treatment, and plants used for textiles, dyes, and housing materials.  The course includes exposure to customs, dances, music and other traditions of Peru, as well as an introduction to the spiritual ideas of the Incan culture, and immersion in the concepts of health, disease, and healing unique to the Amazonian communities.  The last day upon the return to Cuzco features a traditional Incan healing ceremony with a shaman.  All meals, transportation, boat, lodges, fees, teachers, etc., are included in the price of this adventurous and educational course.

Jill Stansbury
Dr. Stansbury poses with Wachiperi children. Credit: Dr. Jill Stansbury

Dr. Stansbury has 25 years experience as a physician specializing in natural medicine, and as a professor of natural products chemistry, physiology, and research.  She has been studying with the indigenous communities of the Amazon since 2006, and leads plants and spirit filled journeys into the wilds for other plant enthusiasts. This August's trip meets in Cusco on the 20th - 30th.  The cost is $2,500 per person.  For more information and the full itinerary and, write Dr Stansbury at  This course will be repeated each summer.

Education at the Wayqecha Cloud Forest Research Center

The Wayqecha Research Center hosts environmental education and training courses for local students. On the Research Center grounds is an interpretive trail with signs in English, Spanish, and Quechua explaining the origin and importance of cloud forests, cloud forest distribution worldwide and within Peru, information on local wildlife, and more.  Additionally there is an interpretive guide booklet and workbook for students to use on the trail. The video below shows our work with local students at the Wayqecha Cloud Forest Research Center.

Other educational activities at Wayqecha include:

  • Teacher training workshops encouraging local teachers to diversify their curriculum and include environmental education projects
  • Puppet shows on solid waste management, recycling, and forest fire prevention presented at schools
  • A drawing/painting contest for local students with the subject “Protecting and valuing our natural and cultural environment,” which elicited over 300 entries. Winners received a free trip to visit Wayqecha. See some of the entries here.
  • Coordinating the “Environmental Education Network for Manu National Park and its Buffer Zone” (a consortium of institutions dedicated to furthering conservation education).
  • Guided visits for students to our state-of-the-art Manu Cloud Forest Canopy Walkway.

Education Programs at Los Amigos Biological Station

ACA and ACCA operate three educational programs at Los Amigos. At the main Los Amigos Conservation Concession (LACC) guard post at the mouth of the Los Amigos River, our park guards operate an 800-sq. ft. interpretative center filled with information panels, exhibits, and natural history collections designed to highlight the value of the LACC. The center has been visited by several hundred schoolchildren since 2004. The goal is for the scientists to share their excitement about doing science in the Amazon and for the children to share their experiences growing up in the Amazon.

Since 2003, ACA and ACCA's grants program has awarded over 120 field biologists (Peruvian college students doing undergraduate thesis work, graduate students working towards a master's or doctoral degree, and post-doctoral researchers) with grants totaling more than half a million dollars. This program is giving dozens of young scientists muddy-boots experience in Amazonian wilderness and helping train a whole new generation of Amazonian conservationists.

Education in the Manu - Tambopata Corridor project

As part of our Manu - Tambopata Corridor project, in 2013, we trained teachers to integrate environmental topics into curricula in all 13 schools in the corridor, providing environmental education programs to more than 1,035 local schoolchildren in Madre de Dios. We also broadcast more than 70 episodes of a radio show in Madre de Dios with information on conservation, sustainable enterprise, and civic engagement and we also trained 8 community correspondents to create content for the show. In addition we provided technical assistance to better manage forests within more than 140,000 acres of timber concessions.




Students participating in “Science Saturday” at CICRA learn about Brazil nuts. Photo: Raechel Running

wayqecha students

Students participating in an educational field trip to Wayqecha. Photo: Ronald Catpo

wayqecha students

Students participating in an educational field trip to Wayqecha. Photo: Megan MacDowell

Interpreter's Guide

Cover of the guidebook for teachers and environmental education guides to use during school field trips to Wayqecha.

Girl with microscope

Peruvian PhD candidate Roxana Arauco teaching a local schoolgirl about ants during a "Science Saturday" at CICRA. Photo by Nigel Pitman

red tapestry