Program Components

The program isplits the 40-hour work week between self-guided study and hands-on farm work on our Global Farm. 

Soon after arriving, participants meet with a staff coordinator to discuss learning objectives and areas of interest. Participants then receive a listing of topics related to their goals and key books and assistance in refining their study program.

Resources at ECHO include books, a large compilation of articles organized by subject, computers for database searches, videos, appropriate technologies, bookstore, farm, arboretum and tropical plant nursery. Participants are also able to take part in weekly training activities, special seminars and presentations for interns and staff.

Students have the option of spending part of each week working with ECHO interns, who are responsible for maintaining the Global Farm. Daily tasks depend on the season and needs at the time. We encourage students to value this time as a learning opportunity in a hands-on setting. Work on the farm involves some combination of four main activities: assisting with the establishment or maintenance of our plantings, weeding and other general farm tasks, helping feed and care for our animals, and working with appropriate technologies. Emphasis is on plant and animal species appropriate for the tropics or subtropics.

When and How to Apply

ECHO accepts Study Program participants throughout the year with some exceptions (November - mid-January are generally closed to Independent Study due to our annual ECHO Conference and holiday season). Participants spend one day to as long as one month at ECHO, depending on their personal goals and budget. Apply early and plan to be flexible, as the number of applicants we are able to accept depends largely on availability of housing and staff.

The application for the Independent Study Program can be found here.

If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and will need a visa to attend and Independent Study Program, you must submit the application for the Study Program and complete this International Visa Request FormVisa letters are not gaurenteed. The training team will evaluate the applicant's eligibility and decide whether or not to provide a letter. Please fill out the form as completely as possible and email us at to inform us of your intent with "Independent Study" in the subject line". 


ECHO's Global Farm is located at 17391 Durrance Road, North Fort Myers, FL 33917.

Program Details

Tuition Cost (Daily) 

Cost per weekday of study $25.00 per person

Cost per night of housing $25.00 per person

Transportation while at ECHO

ECHO is located beyond the reach of public transportation and a mile from the nearest convenience store, so we highly recommend students have their own car. If this is not possible, students can take the initiative to arrange with staff for trips to the store, church, etc. and help pay for gas. ECHO cannot provide students with a vehicle, and our ability to provide transportation is not gauranteed.

Transportation to or from Fort Myers airport

MBA Airport Service Phone: (239) 482-2777. Ground transportation booth located at the lower level across from Door 5.



ECHO does not provide meals. All meals are the responsibility of the student. Students can also volunteer to help prepare meals during their stay. Housing units at ECHO include cooking facilities shared by house residents. Grocery stores are within 15 minutes of campus by vehicle. We recommend that you plan at least $50/week per person for food expenses

Emergency Health Insurance.

Proof of Health insurance is required for all participants.  If proof is not provided, insurance will be purchased on your behalf and you will be charged the total of the premium.


Childcare is not available. Children must be supervised if accompanying you to ECHO.


If you have questions about the study program, please contact with "Independent Study" in the subject line.