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Drexel Environmental Science Leadership Academy (DESLA)

A group of Drexel DESLA students standing in Barnegat Bay

The Drexel Environmental Science Leadership Academy is one part adventure travel, one part leadership training, and two parts field experience. Students who attend one or more of our high school summer camps have the choice of habitat-hopping from seaside to maritime forest all along the New Jersey coastline; exploring the hardwood forests and pristine waters of Lake Lacawac in the Poconos; or traveling out west to examine prehistoric geologic formations in Montana and Yellowstone National Park. Each student will gain hands-on experience in a range of research areas, including beach, marsh and Pine Barren ecology; botany and lake ecology; and geology and paleontology.

The "tour guides" on this adventure are all-star Drexel professors from the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science and expert scientists from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the oldest natural history museum in the Western Hemisphere. Students will gain a broad understanding of what it means to be an environmental scientist or geoscientist, and what it takes to be a leader in the field.

Desla 2019 Dates & Locations:

Desla Student on a Nighttime Snake and Frog Walk
DESLA Student on the Evening Snake and Frog Walk

Topics You May Explore at DESLA Camps

Gain skills and experiences specific to each location in our science leadership academy.

Barnegat Bay Field Station

  • Bay Ecology and Water Quality Monitoring
  • Marsh Ecology
  • Fish Identifications and Natural History
  • Reptiles and Amphibians
  • Ecology of Local Insects
  • Pine Barren Ecology
  • Coastal Processes
  • Botany

Lacawac Sanctuary and Field Station

  • Lake Ecology and Water Quality Monitoring
  • Reptiles and Amphibians
  • Temperate Forest Ecology
  • Fish Identifications and Natural History
  • Ornithology
  • Plankton
  • Geology
  • Botany

Bighorn Basin and Yellowstone National Park

  • Geology
  • Paleontology
  • Geysers, Hot Springs, Fumaroles, and Mud Pots
  • Hydrogeology
  • Geomorphology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Earth Processes

Eligibility & Deadlines:

These summer camps are open to rising high school juniors and seniors (students who will be juniors or seniors in September of 2019). DESLA applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The final application deadline for all DESLA 2019 programs is May 1, 2019. Qualified students will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning in early May until all spaces are filled.

    DESLA Student Studying Fish at Barnegat Bay     
Fish Studies at Barnegat Bay

DESLA 2019 Tuition

*Note: Tuition covers housing, meals and activities, but does not cover airfare.

  • Barnegat Bay: $1850
  • Lacawac Sanctuary: $1750
  • Bighorn Basin: $2200

Our summer camps for high school students are residential programs. Students will live in dorms at the Barnegat Bay Field Station in New Jersey, the Lacawac Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, or at the Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association in Montana. Drexel application fees will be waived for all students who complete DESLA and apply to the Drexel University for undergraduate study.


Please note: The application deadline for DESLA 2019 has passed. We are no longer accepting applications.

Questions? Email us at DESLA@drexel.edu.