Our Vision, Mission, and Goals

EPI is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing place-based, ecological education partnerships between local experts and high school students to address critical conservation issues. We engage youth from local communities and the United States in conservation as they learn about and help protect threatened species and habitats.

EPI’s vision is to create an ecologically literate society where the world’s youth are empowered to take an active role in conservation.

EPI’s mission is to improve and inspire science education and conservation efforts worldwide through field-based student-scientist partnerships.

Our Goals: Education, Conservation, and Cultural Exchange

We believe that you learn best by doing
Experiential education at EPI means that students work at the field site on applied research projects. Our programs integrate art, language and culture, with an emphasis on science. Educational goals at EPI include:

  • Understand ecological systems and processes through participatory field science;
  • Apply the scientific method and appropriate tools on a real-world conservation project;
  • Increase interest in science and awareness of conservation science.

Scientific collaboration is a principal emphasis of our program
EPI participants work with scientists to protect species, collect data, and restore habitats. Students learn first-hand what scientists do, how they do it, and why they do it. Conservation goals at EPI include:

  • Help to protect or restore threatened ecosystems and species;
  • Collect high quality data that is used by scientists;
  • Integrate local residents in applied conservation work.

Creating site-based partnerships and cultural connections
We forge connections between local residents and international collaborators. The majority of the students we work with live within or adjacent to the ecosystem being studied. Cultural goals at EPI include:

  • Foster cooperation between international and local students through research partnerships;
  • Increase communication and understanding between scientists and the general public;
  • Promote international dialogue and the individual’s participation in global environmental issues.

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Conservation for the next generation A nonprofit organization


  • Montana Math and Science AwardFrom the State Governor’s office, 2011
  • Montana Employer of Choice2013 Small Employer of the Year from the Montana State Employers' Council.
  • Blanche Hornbeck   Award for outstanding work in the field of nature education from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, 2010.
  • Best Monitoring & EvaluationEco-Index, a service of the Rainforest Alliance recognized EPI’s Costa Rica program in 2014 and the Best Lessons Learned Award in 2003, our Galapagos program in 2013, and our Mexico programs in 2011 and 2014.
  • Missoula Employer of ChoiceSmall employer of 2013, as recognized by Missoula's Job Service Employers' Council (JSEC).

Featured Student

Victor Mena — Costa Rica Student Strives for a Better Future
Meet Our Students