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Drexel Environmental Science Leadership Academy

Students at Drexel's Environmental Leadership Academy

Drexel's Environmental Science Leadership Academy (DESLA) is one part adventure travel, one part leadership training, and two parts environmental science field experience. Students habitat-hop from seaside, to salt marsh, to maritime forest, all along the New Jersey coastline, or in the lush forests and lake ecosystems of the Poconos. Whether on the shore or in the mountains, students gain hands-on experience in a range of research areas, including beach, marsh and Pine Barren ecology, botany and paleontology.

The "tour guides" on these adventures are all-star Drexel professors and expert scientists from the nation’s oldest natural history museum, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

Students gain a broad understanding of what it means to be an environmental scientist and what it takes to be a leader in the field. Through a combination of theory-based courses and a lot of hands-on experience—the heart of a Drexel education—students will bond together through a research-rich summer adventure that will open the door to a future in environmental science and related fields.

Student holding a puffer fish at Drexel's Environmental Leadership Academy

Topics You May Explore

  • Marsh and Aquatic Ecology
  • Botany
  • Geology
  • Ornithology
  • Fish Identifications and Natural History
  • Ecology of Local Insects
  • Temperate Forest and Pine Barren Ecology
  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Reptiles and Amphibians
  • Coastal Processes

Dates & Locations:

  • Barnegat Bay: July 16 – 22, 2017
  • Lacawac Sanctuary: July 30 - August 4, 2017

Eligibility & Deadlines:

Open to rising high school juniors and seniors (students who will be juniors or seniors in September of the coming year). Qualified students will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning in early May until all spaces are filled.

The Application deadline for DESLA 2017 has passed..


  • Barnegat Bay: $1800
  • Lacawac Sanctuary: $1700

This is a residential program. Students live in dorms at the Barnegat Bay Field Station in New Jersey or at Lacawac Sanctuary. Two or three, same-sex students per dorm room. Tuition covers housing, meals and activities. Students who complete DESLA and enroll at Drexel receive a $2000 renewable scholarship.