Young Environmental Leaders Program

IMG_0511In 2014 Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper® in partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools launched a pilot educational program for high school students residing in under-served communities. The Young Environmental Leaders Program (YELP) provides a unique opportunity for these students to learn about local environmental issues that disproportionately affect their communities.

Students experience a science-based curriculum exploring current environmental issues in a local context, examining topics such as environmental justice and innovative solutions being pursued through WNY’s emerging Blue Economy. Students participate in active outdoor learning opportunities such as kayaking on local waterways and sampling for macroinvertebrates to learn about stream health.

A summer mentorship opportunity is presented for select students to work alongside Waterkeeper staff to participate in a research project. The students receive a stipend and valuable experience in environmental science.

The program has expanded since its pilot, providing the opportunity for additional students to become Young Environmental Leaders. With an additional partnership with Erie Community College (ECC), students who successfully complete the program will receive 3 college credit hours.


If you are a teacher and have students interested in participating in the program please contact Chris Murawski, Director of Community Engagement, at or call (716) 852-7483 ext. 39.