Pre-College Programs

Life at Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Hawaii

Hawaiian Ecology and Culture for High School Students

Life Outdoors

We spend the majority of our time outdoors in this program, including the five nights we spend camping on the shoreline. Several of our activities involve full days outside in the direct sun when we will be hiking, swimming, exploring, snorkeling, and participating in service work.

Solo Time at Hale Maluhia

Environmental conditions on the Big Island of Hawai’i can be varied and extreme. It is imperative that you outfit yourself properly, wear sun block daily, and stay hydrated at all times. Doing so will allow you to have an amazing experience in this unique environment!

You can expect a moderate level of physical activity every day, and should be prepared to be active and at times, get dirty!


We will spend the first three nights at Kilauea Military Camp located in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Program participants will be staying in dormitory-style lodging in same-sex rooms. From this location, we will have easy access to the Park. We will then travel by van to the west side of the Island and spend the remaining five nights camping at Halau Maluhia, privately owned land on a beach. While a sleeping pad is not required, it is recommended since sleeping on sand feels similar to sleeping on hard ground.

2015 Schedule

Subject to change depending on weather conditions and other factors.

Day 1: Island Arrival and Program Introduction

Students learn what type of wana
(sea urchin) are venomous (this isn't!)

Day 2: Introduction to Hawaiian Culture and Geography

Day 3: Kilauea Iki Hike and the Challenges of Island Sustainability

Day 4: From Mountain to Sea

Kilauea Iki hike in Volcanoes National Park

Students hike across the
crater floor of Kilauea Iki

Day 5: Marine Science and Traditional Hawaiian Culture & History

Day 6: Botanical Garden, Marine Science and Traditional Hawaiian Culture & History

Day 7: Marine Science and Science Projects

Day 8: Presentations and Closing Activities

Day 9: Conclusion

Breadfruit tree, Hawai'i

Breadfruit tree or 'Ulu (in Hawaiian)
is loaded with potassium and
brought to the Hawaiian Islands by canoe.

Your fellow students

There will be approximately 30 students in the community. BELL students come from all over the U.S. and the world, and range from incoming 10th graders to graduated seniors.


The Big Island of Hawai’i has 8 of the 13 types of the world’s sub-climates. Be prepared for strong sun, clouds, and rain and temperatures ranging from the mid-80s in the day down to the 50s in the evenings.


Our meals will come from a variety of sources—a camp cafeteria, caterers, restaurants, and self-prepared. We will work closely with our vendors to accommodate dietary restrictions and food allergies. Drinking water will be available throughout the day. Students must communicate their allergies on the Medical Authorization form before the trip. Dietary preferences, including vegetarians and vegans, should be indicated on the Guest Allergy Form.

Staying safe and comfortable in the field

Our goal is to get to know the environments we visit through formal study and hands-on activities and experiments. We believe strongly in experiential education and learning-by-doing.

Students should bring several pieces of warm clothing that can be layered for cool mornings and evenings and clothing appropriate for a hot, tropical climate. Clothes should be comfortable and students should be prepared to get dirty. Jeans and close-toed shoes are mandatory for our hikes in the Volcanoes National Park. Students should also be prepared to be outside during light mist or heavy rain by bringing a raincoat. A full packing list will be provided on the Accepted Student webpage.

Our staff lives on site and is available for support and supervision 24-7.

Learn about Faculty teaching this program »