Pre-College Programs
Students Engage in Learning about the Environment at Haffenreffer Estate

Life at Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Rhode Island

Environmental Science and Social Action for High School Students

Life Outdoors

BELL students learn and live close to nature at Brown’s Haffenreffer Estate on Narragansett Bay in Bristol, Rhode Island. The Bay is a major economic driver in the region, including seafood provision and recreation. Its watershed is one of the most densely populated sections in the country. Climate change puts all of these at risk so it is an excellent place to learn about the challenges of protecting the environment while meeting human needs.

Unplugging from Devices

In a world constantly connected to iPhones, email, Twitter, and Facebook, students at BELL intentionally unplug for the better part of two weeks which allows us to more fully engage with our community and beautiful surroundings. Students hand in all electronic devices on the first day and cell phones are returned twice during the program to call home. 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.


Environmental Leadership in Rhode Island

Sleeping quarters are large (16x 24’) tents set off the ground on wooden platforms. There are between 8-10 students per tent, separated by gender, sleeping on mattresses in bunk beds. Students should bring a sleeping bag or sheets, a blanket and pillow for an extra-long twin bed. Please see the packing list for other linens to bring.

There are hot indoor showers and toilets located in the multi-purpose building just a short walk from the tents. The building also houses our only indoor classroom, living room and shared recreational space. In addition, we have a well-equipped kitchen and abundant outdoor areas for all types of activities and sports.

A Typical Day at BELL

Each day is different, but the basic schedule begins at 8:30am and ends at 10:00pm. There are several field trips, debates, discussions and interactions with local leaders and Brown faculty. In addition to coursework, students participate in community time to discuss current events, sharpen leadership skills, and simply have fun together in a beautiful place.

2016 Tentative Schedule

Subject to change depending on weather conditions and other factors.

First week activities

Environmental Leadership in Rhode Island

Second week activities

Important Considerations

To facilitate a safe and positive learning experience for each student and the community, we expect students to be able to:

Please call us and ask to speak to the Program Director if any of these things are of concern so we can make sure you have enough information about the particular program, as well as options for case-by-case accommodations, to make an effective decision about participation.

How to Apply »