Service Learning at Amazonia
YACHANA RESERVE / YACHANA LODGE / YACHANA TRAINING CENTER and YACHANA FOUNDATION
The Yachana Training Center and Yachana Foundation offer unique programs in the Amazon region of Ecuador for students, service learning projects and general adult learning experiences.
The name Yachana means “a place for learning” in the Kichwa language.
The Yachana Foundation was created in 1991, the lodge in 1995.
In February 2014 the new Yachana Training Center campus started to operate within Foundation land (2,500 acre reainforest reserve) providing non-conventional, practical education and training for youth from throughout the Amazon.
Our Geotourism and educational programs combine exploration of the rainforest with cultural and social experiences not offered anywhere else within the Amazon of Ecuador for visitors interested in Service Learning, adult learning and meaningful, interactive tourism.
- Hike in our 2,500 acres of living laboratory of primary and secondary rainforest and campus.
- Bilingual native guides.
- A core of permanent, local high school age youth lives at our training center who enjoy interacting with visitors. This way they can practice their English, show what they are doing in the Yachana program, and share their lives and environment of the Amazon. Visitors are able to participate and enjoy intercultural experiences with our students, getting to know other cultures and languages.
- For Service Learning the Yachana Foundation is in the process of building a science park of practical exhibits to provide enriching educational experiences for a program of Field Days for visiting students from the Amazon. Service Learning youth would work with the Yachana students to build and install many of these exhibits. Some projects will be able to be completed in the short time the Service Learning students are there; other projects will take more time but Service Learning participants will be able to play a vital role toward their completion.
- All visitors will have a chance to visit the permaculture farm and see organic innovations in agriculture. For Service Learning participants, they will be able to help out on the farm.
- Yachana has high-speed internet at its campus and Lodge, deep in the jungle. This can allow students from schools in other countries to be able to interact with Yachana students via skype before a visit. This generates a strong interest in subjects before a trip and improves the results of a visit.
- The Yachana Foundation is famous for its inventions or cutting edge technology related to sustainability. Yachana students and guides will be able to demonstrate and explain these technologies.
- The Yachana Foundation was begun by Douglas McMeekin, an Ashoka Fellow who is available to give talks to visitors.
- For any of the groups visiting, we have an optional activity where they can visit a community bank, or micro credit program, created by the Yachana Foundation that is a 15 minute drive from the Yachana Lodge. They will be able to meet with some of the members of the community in one of their homes, hear how the micro credit program is improving their lives, how the unique conservation component is saving the rainforest and actually see some of the projects that the micro credit loans are supporting. Participants of this activity need to plan on making a $50 donation each toward the capitalization of the bank. This tourism support has generated over a 250% increase in the capital of the bank resulting in an improved standard of living for the community and more rainforest conserved.
- The Yachana Lost Foods of the Amazon program, initially funded by the National Geographic Conservation Trust, allows all of our guests to participate in the discovery of the agriculture and foods of the Amazon. Visitors go to a neighboring farm to harvest local produce then bring it back to the Yachana Lodge kitchen to prepare a traditional meal under the guidance of our indigenous chef. Other participatory culinary experiences involve making chocolate from the roasted bean, in a traditional way roasting, preparing and savoring locally grown coffee, making sugar cane juice plus many other activities.
- As a part of cultural enrichment for our visitors, everybody goes to visit a local traditional healer and participate in a cleansing ceremony. They can also practice with a blowgun and a spear.
- Other activities we offer are early morning bird and monkey watching from our open bus traveling through our reserve or night walks in the forest to see the creatures that come out at night.