Creating Partnerships for
Since our beginnings on a Costa Rican beach with 61 local students in 2000, we've been connecting students with scientists on active research projects in the world’s most important ecological hotspots. Through dedication to our mission — to inspire youth with nature and empower them with science, fostering tomorrow's leaders — EPI has become a leader in conservation education.
In the time since that first course, more than 40,000 students have joined us in the field, and their impact is profound.
In the 1990s, Scott Pankratz, an educator, and Julie Osborn, a scientist, were working and studying in Costa Rica. Both recognized that, in spite of federal protection and conservation science happening in the area, many critical habitats and species continued to decline. Unless the local community valued and protected wildlife and the critical habitats in their backyard, conservation efforts would ultimately fail.
Involving and empowering the local community, particularly youth, in the work of science is a crucial step in conservation. The students' passion for the work led Scott and Julie to co-found Ecology Project International. EPI continues to connect local schools, scientists, and nonprofit organizations to give Costa Rican youth the opportunity to do hands-on sea turtle research and conservation service.