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DSI / Social Design
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In the Ecuadorian Rainforest

In our Communication Design class, teams choose from a group of diverse clients, to learn to use communication to help them achieve their mission to solve social problems. This year, clients are Encore (helping older adults connect to purpose), Going to School (helping school children in India become social entrepreneurs), BarberShop Books (overcoming book deserts to help young African American men identify as readers), Zana Africa (helping young girls stay in school and achieve their full potential), and Lucky Dog Food Hub (helping farmers in the New York Catskills thrive by connecting them to restaurants in New York).

We chose Neblina Forest Natural History & Birding Tours, an ecotourism company based in Ecuador that promotes and protects wildlife habitat and its local owners. They offer individualized guided adventures to see the over four hundred species of birds, including forty or more kinds of hummingbirds in South America.

We decided to discover the experience we are helping them scale first hand, so we spent spring break immersed in the immense biodiversity South America offers. Our first destination, the Antisana Volcano Ecological Reserve, was followed by neotropical birding near Mindo and the high altitude Yanachocha reserve.

Interviewing other travelers (and potential Neblina guests) as we went, we listened to their objectives when planning trips to exotic destinations . We also spoke in depth with the Neblina Forest guides and landowners throughout the area, on the accessibility and preservation of the rare native flora and fauna of their country.

By the end of the week-long trip, we facilitated a deep discussion with the founders of Neblina Forest, to help them define their business practice and relationships to partner organizations, landowners, guides, and government entities.

With the guidance of an amazing community we were fortunate enough to partake in exotic birdwatching, hike through cloud lined rainforest, and experience the sounds and tastes of a country straddling the equator. Full of inspiration we returned to to New York just in time for the final blizzard of the season!

Stay tuned to see the work we will create for them at the end of this class semester. Hasta Pronto.

Authors: Alejandro Cercas, Maria Sandoval, Jessie SilverSofia Granefelt Lauren, Jinwei Hu
136 W 21st St,
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New York, NY 10011
(212) 592–2205