CALL: Climate Action and Leadership Lab
CREATE. ACT. ENGAGE.
Where high school students act, innovate, and create community-oriented solutions to climate change.
The Climate Action and Leadership Lab inspires the next generation to overcome the challenges posed by climate change with resilience and creativity. Through conversations, projects, innovative coursework, and community partnerships, our students are creating a 21st-century culture that prioritizes communication, conservation, stewardship, and sustainability.
What is CALL?
CALL is an interdisciplinary, project-based, and community-oriented semester experience for high school sophomores and juniors from Maine and beyond. Students gain a deep understanding of the environmental, political, economic, ethical, and cultural impacts of a rapidly warming climate in the context of climate action and civic engagement. They collaborate with town government and the community at large on environmental projects, and they serve as mentors for other students and municipalities throughout Maine that are creating their own initiatives to address climate change.
- Create climate solutions
- Communicate effectively
- Collaborate with others to bring about positive change
- Interpret data and media with a critical eye
- Observe your world
- Lead your community
The CALL academic program is built around five interdisciplinary semester-long core courses and several electives. All courses are taught at the honors level and prioritize learning through action and experience. Climate change studies are incorporated into every course from art and music to history and statistics. In addition to choosing art electives and taking the program’s core courses, students design and implement a capstone project that is rooted in community and relevant to their own lives and interests. This project fosters stewardship of our environment, prioritizes civic engagement, and requires collaboration with a community of the cohort’s choosing. Throughout the semester, students take part in a number of community engagement events, attend municipal meetings and open houses, and host a public climate communication workshop. They have opportunities to work on the front lines of climate action in Maine through partnerships and collaborations with institutions such as the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute, the Maine Climate Council, and the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. In the spring, the semester culminates with a week on Hurricane Island in Penobscot Bay at the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership. During this week, students reflect on their work, share their experiences, and collaborate with other Maine high school students in a hands-on and immersive leadership and action training program.
The CALL curriculum provides students with a foundation in climate science that they can apply to the world and their communities. Our students learn to ask thoughtful questions, become effective listeners and communicators, and leave the semester as confident and creative advocates for change in their communities. All of our courses incorporate public speaking and require students to have discussions, conversations, and debates with people from all walks of life. Through creative and interdisciplinary coursework, students learn to filter through media with a critical and discerning eye and they learn to observe and value the world around them. For details on our core courses, please click here.
The Watershed community is close-knit, flexible, strong, and intentional. We prioritize mutual respect between students and faculty and believe that learning to trust, listen, and work as a team builds confidence and compassion. Our sense of community broadens as students engage with the public through projects, volunteer initiatives, partnerships, and coursework. With Penobscot Bay and Maine’s rocky coastline in our backyard, students quickly become familiar with the coastal infrastructure, culture, and industry that define so much of Maine’s way of life.
At Watershed, our community is our campus. Courses take place at the newly renovated Climate Change Center at the Watershed School, in town halls, labs, and community gathering places throughout Maine. The CALL cohort is fully integrated into the Watershed School community, and creating a culture of interdependence and teamwork among CALL students and within the entire school is of the utmost importance. Students traveling from afar have the option to be placed in a homestay where they become part of the school community while experiencing life in a vibrant coastal Maine town. In this setting, students not only grow as individuals, but they learn to be advocates for change within their communities. They develop confidence, learn to listen and collaborate, and they leave the program ready to lead and care for the places and people they call home.
Who Should Apply
Motivated and curious high school sophomores and juniors looking for a rigorous and hands-on educational experience that is rooted in climate action and civic engagement. High school seniors are accepted on a case-by-case basis.
- High School Transcript
- Academic: from a teacher or mentor who has taught you in high school
- Personal: from an individual who truly knows you and can address your character
- Online application
- Parent Questionnaire
- $50 application fee
We accept applications on a rolling admissions basis until the program is fully enrolled.