5 Exciting Things About Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Rhode Island (BELL: RI)

BELL: RI’s new location in western Rhode Island doesn’t just mean a change of address. It’s acres of scenic terrain to explore, loads of outdoor activities to take part in and plenty of location-based learning opportunities. Here, Program Director Jane Diener details a few of the exciting experiences BELL: RI students can look forward to this summer.

  1. Location

This summer, BELL: RI students will study and live at the Whispering Pines Conference Center at the W. Alton Jones Environmental Education Center in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, a pristine, 2,300-acre site with everything from a wetland to trails to a giant lake for exploring. The site is designed to be a safe and effective living laboratory with diverse ecosystems where students will use the surrounding flora and fauna to study environmental issues facing the planet.

  1. Hiking Trails

Students will have access to miles of well-maintained trails they will use to get to know the forest ecosystem, which is filled with incredible biodiversity. Free time will include staff-led hikes and the trails will also be used during labs to show examples of human impact on natural resources and teach a variety of field methods for dendrology and environmental preservation.

  1. Housing and Dining

For BELL: RI’s two-week sessions, Whispering Pines will become the program’s campus, where students will find plenty of personal space, along with spaces to hang out as a group. Students can expect comfortable shared rooms with individual bathrooms and well-designed common spaces for reading, socializing and games. There will also be plenty of dining options as well as the ability to accommodate dietary restrictions. As a community, students and staff will eat three meals and a snack in the Whispering Pines Lodge. Students can choose to enjoy their meal in the bright and open dining hall or step outside to the large patio that looks out over a beautiful lake. Whether they’re indoors or outdoors, meals are often spent getting to know everyone in the community, laughing, and going back for seconds.

  1. Stream Exploration

Located directly next to the conference center is a gorgeous on-site stream controlled by various dams throughout the property. BELL: RI students will have access to a particularly scenic transect of the stream, which means hours of hiking and searching for signs of the different animals that use the stream and live in it. And when students aren’t hiking, it’s likely it will become one of their favorite places to hang out, where they can dangle their feet into the refreshing water while getting to know their peers.

  1. Lake Access

The nearby lake will be a central part of the BELL: RI program. During free time students can swim and during labs, it will become a place to explore the native and invasive flora and fauna. Students will spend a lot of time getting to know the lake and using it to understand how global climate change has an impact on the various ecosystems surrounding it.


For more information about BELL: RI, or to apply, visit https://precollege.brown.edu/bell-rhodeisland/.

Completed applications must be received by Monday, April 9, 2018.

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