Empowering Conservation through Language: My Journey to Ecuador


In collaboration with the Foundation for the Conservation of the Tropical Andes (FCAT), I developed an English as a Second Language (ESL) curriculum to enhance communication between local conservationists and English-speaking researchers. Thanks to the Changemaker Catalyst award, I had the opportunity to implement this curriculum during a two-week immersive experience at FCAT, fully funded to cover expenses.

My journey in Ecuador highlighted the importance of language in conservation efforts. This experience inspired me to join the Taylor Center's Change Maker Institute, where I'm now involved in creating an NGO to address global language barriers in the conservation field.

Our mission is to foster collaboration through cultural and language education, with a focus on enhancing language proficiency, increasing engagement in conservation activities, and establishing partnerships for future initiatives.

Moving forward, we plan to expand our program by offering additional courses and conducting community visits to better understand local needs. Through these efforts, we aim to ensure the long-term relevance and sustainability of our initiatives.

My journey in Ecuador has been a transformative experience, emphasizing the power of language in driving impactful conservation efforts. I am grateful for the support received and look forward to continuing this journey towards a more connected and sustainable planet.

In my passion for both education and conservation, I embarked on a significant journey to Ecuador. Thanks to the generous support of Jordan Karubian, Liat Perlin, and the Taylor Center, I had the opportunity to contribute to a unique initiative at the Foundation for the Conservation of the Tropical Andes (FCAT), focusing on bridging language barriers within conservation efforts.

FCAT’s commitment to community-engaged conservation is commendable, yet a crucial gap in English language proficiency among its employees hindered effective collaboration with English-speaking researchers. Recognizing this challenge, I took the lead in developing and implementing an English as a Second Language (ESL) curriculum tailored specifically for FCAT employees.

Drawing from my background in education and biology, along with hands-on experience teaching English in Ecuador, I crafted a comprehensive curriculum. It not only honed language skills but also delved into conservation and research-related vocabulary. The goal was to empower local experts at FCAT with the necessary language tools to engage meaningfully with international researchers and contribute to impactful conservation projects.

Over the fall semester of 2023, I collaborated closely with FCAT administrators and a local volunteer to refine the ESL curriculum, ensuring its relevance and effectiveness in the local context. This 2-week intensive course combined classroom instruction with immersive field experiences, covering topics ranging from basic language communication to practical field communication.

Thanks to the Changemaker Catalyst award, I had the invaluable opportunity to spend two immersive weeks implementing the ESL curriculum with FCAT staff. The grant covered all associated costs, including airfare, local transportation, accommodation, meals, and essential resources. This experience was truly pivotal in my journey toward catalyzing change, and I am immensely grateful for the support.

My journey to Ecuador was profoundly fulfilling, allowing me to witness firsthand the transformative power of language in conservation. Working closely with FCAT employees and local volunteers, I saw the immediate impact of improving English language proficiency on communication and collaboration within the organization.

Following this enriching experience, I became involved in further initiatives aimed at driving positive impact, leading me to the Taylor Center’s Changemaker Institute. Here, I am actively engaged in crafting an NGO dedicated to uniting the conservation field by addressing global language barriers: ECOUnity.

My mission became very clear after this trip: to foster unity and collaboration within the conservation community through cultural education for researchers, English language proficiency programs for international citizens, and comprehensive conservation education initiatives. By creating a connected network where knowledge flows freely, we aspire to lay the foundation for a sustainable planet.

My journey to Ecuador was not only a personal and professional growth opportunity but also a testament to the power of collaboration and cultural exchange in driving impactful conservation initiatives. I am grateful for the support of the Taylor Center, whose contribution was instrumental in making this transformative endeavor a reality.