4 things to know about BELL: Florida Keys

The Brown Environmental Leadership Lab takes students out of the classroom, learning about the environment, ecology, and leadership in one of three locations: Alaska, the Florida Keys, and Rhode Island. Students will learn first-hand about the environmental challenges facing these communities and develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to create positive change.

All three BELL locations offer unique educational opportunities and animal and plant life to explore, but if tropical waters are what you’re most interested in, BELL: Florida Keys may be the program for you. Previously a spring program, BELL: Florida Keys teaches students about tropical marine ecology through hands-on activities like exploring coral reefs and mangroves, and assessing the impact of climate change, human interaction and extreme weather events.

Want to learn more? Here are some fun things you may not know about BELL: Florida Keys.

The program location is ideal for studying the Keys ecosystem

You’ll be living and learning at the MarineLab in Key Largo, which sits on a canal and provides easy access to both Florida Bay and the Atlantic Ocean by boat. You’ll spend time underwater observing the busy life around mangrove roots, floating above coral reef ecosystems, watching tropical fish dart in and out of hiding and swimming through seagrass beds searching for conchs, crabs, and all sorts of echinoderms like sea stars, sea cucumbers, and sea urchins.

Your days will be filled with learning activities – including snorkeling and kayaking

In addition to snorkeling almost every day, you’ll take part in service-learning projects, including collecting marine debris from mangroves. You and your classmates will weigh and measure your findings and report them to the International Coastal Cleanup, an organization that collects citizen-provided data to gauge what kind of trash in is our oceans.

You’ll be learning alongside students who are just as excited as you

Students who take part in BELL: Florida Keys, no matter if they’re from a nearby Florida town or from halfway around the world, will all be there because they have a shared interest in ecology, biology, and environmental action. You’ll find yourself snorkeling alongside others who are just as excited as you to identify marine species, learn about the local ecosystem, and brainstorm ways to tackle the challenges posed by global climate change and human impact.

You’ll learn why the underwater world matters

The program connects the Key’s diverse and dynamic ecosystem to environmental action and advocacy. You’ll meet the people working in the field every day to actively protect and manage the area’s resources and you’ll participate in first hand observation and scientific studies. You’ll put the place and problems you see in a social context to understand what is happening, why, and how you can take lessons from the Florida Keys to create positive change in your own communities.

Does BELL: Florida Keys sound like the right fit for you? Applications are currently being accepted for the program, which takes place July 8-14, 2018. To apply, or for more info about any of the BELL programs, visit precollege.brown.edu.

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