Skip to main content

Eco-Leaders: Youth Leadership Program

An exciting opportunity to build leadership skills by assisting our instructors with Eco-Discovery Camp.

Eco-leaders help organize investigations, collect data for a science experiment, lead games, and develop their own activity to teach campers based on the camp ecology theme, Soil Sleuths.


Students entering grades 9 - 12 in the fall of 2023, as well as graduating high school seniors, are eligible to volunteer as Eco-Leaders for one week of this summer's Eco-Discovery camp. Students with interests in ecology and working with youth are encouraged to apply! This is a competitive program and no more than two Eco-Leaders will be chosen for each week of camp; please answer all application questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.

Please note: Lunch is not provided, but we do provide light snacks. Eco-Leaders must bring their own sack lunch, snacks, and water bottle.

APPLICATIONS REVIEWED ON A ROLLING BASIS. These are the sessions that are still available (updated 6/6/2023):

Session 6, grades 6-8: August 7-11 (1 spot)
Session 9, grades 6-8: August 21-September 1 (1 spot)

Why should I apply to be an Eco-Leader?

We recommend the Eco-Leader program to students with a passion for ecology and/or outdoor education. As the name implies, this position is a terrific opportunity to explore a career in environmental education and to learn leadership skills that include: motivating a group, mentoring youth, and keeping campers safe and organized on the trail.

Each Eco-Leader also creates and teaches their own environmental education activity for the group of campers. This program is a fun way to earn approximately 35 hours of community service, and Eco-Leaders are welcome to ask our staff for letters of recommendation for National Honor Society or other leadership positions.

What will the Eco-Leaders do?

Eco-Leaders play an important role in helping camp run smoothly. They participate in camp activities and assist by engaging campers, answering questions, setting up investigations, and leading activities.

In addition, they will assist in data collection and maintenance of our yearly camp experiment. Eco-Leaders will learn more about the natural world, and about how to engage campers in explorations of our local environment. This is a one-week, volunteer position; there is no charge for the week.

How does the Cary Institute prepare you for this role?

Eco-Leaders will be asked to participate in an introductory training session to learn more about the general organization of our camp and the science concepts that will be covered during the camp week. This training will take place at the Cary Institute in June (date TBD).

While we will do our best to accommodate your schedules, attendance at the training session is mandatory. If you are returning as an Eco-Leader: great! We're excited to have you back and ask that you come to the training to help us show the new class of Eco-Leader volunteers what Cary camp is all about.

For more information:

Email Ashley Alred at