TIERA Program Overview

Students today are coming of age in an era defined by environmental crises that include climate change and biodiversity loss. Legitimate concerns about the future are exacerbated by a lack of agency and sense of powerlessness.


The TIERA program was created to address these inter-locking issues and break this downward cycle, by training a capable, diverse, and empowered cadre of future environmental leaders.

TIERA is committed to including students from different racial, ethnic, economic class, and cultural backgrounds. Only through interconnectedness can we work towards solving the world’s most pressing environmental issues.

The core experience takes place in Ecuador, where we have led field courses for over one decade. Here, where an expanding agricultural frontier and biodiversity-rich forests exist side-by-side, students are immersed in the real-world, grassroots research and conservation program of FCAT, an award-winning NGO with over 20 years of experience.

Students interact and work closely with local residents in FCAT’s reserve and field station on projects that directly contribute to real-world gains in conservation, including restoring rainforest habitat, strengthening food and water security, protecting endangered species, and developing viable economic alternatives to deforestation.

These linkages between scholarship and conservation outcomes make TIERA a unique experiential learning experience for students who are passionate about environmental justice.

We are an international, collaborative cohort of faculty and trained conservation professionals spanning the social and natural science approaches to environmental research and action.