Marine ecology, impacts of climate change, environmental action.
Brown Environmental Leadership Labs (BELL) combines concepts in environmental studies, ecology, and leadership, with a mission of developing socially responsible leaders. Students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to create positive change on environmental issues facing their local communities and the planet as a whole.
This summer, Brown University will visit the MarineLab in Key Largo, Florida to explore tropical marine ecology and conservation in a group of like-minded peers.
Over the course of the week, students will explore coral reefs and mangroves, assessing the collective impacts of global climate change, human interaction, and extreme weather events.
A large portion of our time will be spent outdoors during the program. Students can expect a moderate level of physical activity every day, and should be ready to participate in outdoor activities in all temperatures and weather conditions (rain, humidity, wind, heat), even if we are experiencing a particularly cold or hot season. The average high temperature in the Florida Keys is 89 degrees Fahrenheit. The average low temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit. We will take regular breaks and limit sun exposure, but students are expected bring sun protection essentials such as water bottles, hats, and cover-ups.
Students will be staying in dormitory-style housing at the MarineLab. Students will be housed with 3-12 peers, separated by gender, and will sleep on separate mattresses in bunk beds. Students should bring a pillow, sleeping bag or extra-long twin bed sheets and blanket. The facility is air-conditioned.
The MarineLab also has indoor classrooms and labs, a recreation center, indoor bathrooms, a cafeteria, and areas to relax or play games during free time. The classrooms, cafeteria, and dormitories are all air conditioned.
Students can expect three simple meals each day, primarily served in the cafeteria at the MarineLab. We will work with MarineLab staff to make accommodations for dietary restrictions and food allergies if we are notified in advance.
Students at BELL intentionally reduce their cell phone use which allows us to more fully engage with our community and beautiful surroundings. We ask students (and families) to limit cell phone use to evening free time. By breaking our ties to these technologies, we are able to be more mindful of our natural environment, build more intentional friendships, and practice self-reflection.
Each day is different but the basic schedule begins at 8:00 am and ends at 10:00 pm. Activities include lab work, field observations, classroom discussions, leadership workshops, and time for team-building, recreation and reflection. Sample day schedule:
|8:00 - 8:30am||Breakfast|
|9:00 - 11:45am||Morning Session (Example: Marine debris lesson and beach clean-up)|
|12:30 - 1:00pm||Lunch|
|1:00 - 1:30pm||Solo Time|
|2:00 - 5:00pm||Afternoon Session (Example: Seagrass ecology lesson and snorkeling)|
|6:30 - 7:00pm||Dinner|
|7:00 - 9:00pm||Evening Session (Example: Leadership styles workshop)|
|9:00 - 10:00pm||Free Time|
BELL: FLorida is academically rigorous. Given the intensity of the program there is some, but minimal, free time.
Please call us and ask to speak to the Program Director if any of these details are of concern so we can make sure you have enough information to make an informed decision about participation.
The summer weather in Florida can vary. Please check the weather forecast for Key Largo, FL (Zipcode: 33037) before departure and pack accordingly, including a reusable water bottle to fill and use throughout the program.
Most snorkeling locations are 30-45 min away from MarineLab via boat. Therefore, we will spend at least one hour on a boat almost every day. Students do not need to be skilled swimmers to participate in this program but must be comfortable wearing a life jacket and eager to snorkel.
Our staff lives on site and is available to the students 24 hours a day for support and supervision. The MarineLab campus is also a gated facility. The security gate closes overnight and on the weekends.
Prospective students must apply for admission. When evaluating applications, the Admissions Review Committee looks for academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, social maturity, self-motivation and a readiness for participation in an independent academic environment.
Applicants will be notified by email to log into their Student Portal to view their admission decision once it has been made. Admission decisions are usually made within ten business days of receipt of a complete application.
Accepted students must confirm their attendance by submitting a $300 non-refundable program deposit. Students attending more than one program must submit a $300 non-refundable deposit for each program. Students will not be able to enroll in courses until a program deposit is received.
Student and parents are encouraged to review our Policies page to learn about important payment deadlines, refunds, code of conduct, and more.
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