Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Rhode Island

Examine the impact of humans on ecosystems in the context of global climate change.

This program is not offered in summer 2021. Check out our other summer 2021 programs.

BELL RI students in a stream gathering a sample.This two-week program takes you on a journey to explore the diverse ecosystems of Rhode Island. Your home base is the Brown University main campus in Providence, from which you depart for a series of site visits and field trips, including a journey to Block Island to participate in an ongoing research project through the Nature Conservancy. While at Brown University, you’re treated to a special behind-the-scenes sustainability tour of the campus and lessons taught by current students and faculty.

In the classroom and in the field, you work alongside your peers and instructors to better understand the causes and impacts of climate change and identify examples of environmental resilience. Through lessons and visits with local experts, like the Narragansett Tribe, you’ll learn about the history of the land and develop skills for environmental advocacy and environmental justice literacy. You’ll grow in your understanding of socially responsible leadership and how to apply it to the work you want to do or are already doing.

Program Snapshot

Students completing grades 9–12, ages 15–18 by June 2021 

Two-week course

Not Running In Summer 2021

Brown University campus in Providence, Rhode Island


  • Join a community of young scholars who are passionate about the environment.
  • Develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to impact environmental issues facing your local community and the planet as a whole.
  • Explore some spectacular landscapes by studying, listening and observing.
  • Concentrate on learning without the pressure of formal grades.
  • All students who successfully complete their course will receive a Certificate of Completion. Students who successfully complete a 3-week or longer online course or a 2-week or longer on-campus course will receive a Course Performance Report.

A Typical Day

Each day is different but typically includes lab work, field observations, classroom discussions, leadership workshops and time for team-building, recreation and reflection.

8:00 – 9:00 am Breakfast
9:00 – 9:30 am Community tasks – everyone pitches in (Example: setting up the classroom)
9:30 – 11:30 am Morning session (Example: field trip to a water treatment facility)
11:30 am – 12:00 pm Free time
12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 pm Solo time (recharge, reflect and be by yourself)
2:00 – 5:00 pm Afternoon session (Example: science communication)
5:00 – 6:00 pm Free time
6:00 – 7:00 pm Dinner
7:00 – 7:45 pm Group recreation time (Example: Red Light Green Light)
7:45 – 9:00 pm Evening session (Example: Active Listening Skills workshop)
9:00 – 10:00 pm Free time
10:00 pm Well-deserved rest


Program Director

  • Photo of Jane B. Diener

    Jane Diener

    Assistant Director, Environmental and Location-Based Programs