2020 Youth Environmental Leadership Expedition!

for youth age 15-19

We’ll be releasing our 2020 expedition dates in November 2019 and accepting applications starting December 2019



School’s out for summer

It should be your dream. Two months of freedom before hitting the books again. But…something’s missing.

You’ve enjoyed your camp experiences and family vacations in the past, but you’re ready for something different. You want adventure, learning, and an experience that you’ll never forget!


Imagine if you could go on an 14-day expedition where you’ll ignite your passion for the environment, discover the power of photography and film-making and learn some incredible things about yourself.

Picture a trip where you’ll learn about nature and the environment – but not in a boring way. More like, in an “Wow! That's SO cool!!!” kind of way.


It’s time!

Make this YOUR summer.

The summer you’ll never forget. Where you'll explore the outdoors, learn about nature conservation and environmental issues, and gently push yourself outside your comfort zone. Where you learn about yourself. Grow. And uncover the leadership skills and talents that have been brewing inside of you – but you never knew were there.

Ready to get out of your comfort zone and have an incredible adventure?

The Youth Environmental Leaders Expedition program is for youth who want to learn about environmental and conservation issues and who want to develop their leadership skills so they can help to create a sustainable future for our planet and people. 

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We also teach you to become visual storytellers so that you can use photography and filmmaking to communicate about nature conservation and environmental issues and become changemakers.

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With our Youth Environmental Leaders Expedition program, you will;

                       * Discover nature through adventures like canoeing/kayaking, climbing cliffs, hiking forests, and exploring wetlands

                       * Connect with new friends who share the same interests

                       * Learn about nature and environmental issues through the power of  photography and film-making 

                       * Capture unforgettable moments by learning how to using different kinds of camera and audio gear

                       * Discover the power of visual storytelling by making a short documentary film, a photo gallery, etc.

                       * Know more about yourself and your future through leadership development

Sounds INCREDIBLE, right?


What our past participants have to say about our program

“It was life changing. Words have difficulty describing the experiences and learning that occurred.”

“We really did have an amazing experience.”

“I had a absolutely incredible time and I loved the program.”

“It was the highlight of my summer.”

“I feel like I was able to gain a deeper understanding for myself and my attributes that make me who I am. I loved that the program taught me about sustainability and wildlife conservation but it also taught me about myself in the process.”

“The small group size made the program enjoyable especially as I got to know the other participants really well. “

From a participant’s parent - “he said it was the best experience he had.  He talked all the way home.”

Want to see photos of our 2018 expedition? Click HERE to view them.


Who is our youth expedition program for?

We’re accepting registration for 14-19 year olds who want to live a life that’s different. One that has an impact.

Our youth environmental leadership expedition program is perfect for you, if you:

                                  * Are interested in nature conservation and the environment

                                  * Want to become a better leader with impact.

                                  * Want to connect with people and tell stories in a meaningful way

                                  * Want to take part in the most amazing summer experience of your life


The Location

Our adventure will take place on the Frontenac Arch in eastern Ontario, Canada. The Frontenac Arch is a special place - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s an incredible place where the coming together of two distinct geological regions and five different forest types has created habitat for a diversity of species. It's one of Canada's 'biodiversity hotspots'.

rocky outcrops and forest of the frontenac arch

rocky outcrops and forest of the frontenac arch

our accommodation IS A RUSTIC COTTAGE

our accommodation IS A RUSTIC COTTAGE

QUBS boathouse on lake opinicon

QUBS boathouse on lake opinicon

qubs has excellent facilities, libraries, meeting rooms and more

qubs has excellent facilities, libraries, meeting rooms and more

We’ll be staying at the Queen's University Biology Station (QUBS), near Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Located on Lake Opinicon, QUBS offers the full beauty and diversity of the region, surrounded by deciduous forest, rocky outcrops, and abundant wildlife. The field station has a number of cottages and cabins as accommodation, many hiking trails through forests and wetlands, and as a research station has research facilities, a library, and meeting rooms as well as their own herbarium. QUBS is an active research station and so research by graduate students and professors will be ongoing while we were staying there. QUBS has a large dining hall and provides 3 fabulous meals per day.

abundant wildlife, like this nesting osprey, call the frontenac arch home

abundant wildlife, like this nesting osprey, call the frontenac arch home

abundant wildlife gives us lots of nature and wildlife photography and film making opportunities

abundant wildlife gives us lots of nature and wildlife photography and film making opportunities

Tell Your Story

We will explore the biodiversity of the region while learning about environmental and conservation issues and learning the tools of visual storytelling, all while having great outdoor adventures!

While you’re exploring nature and discovering the expedition in its true form, you’ll be capturing it too. 

Over the course of the program, you’ll create your own nature conservation or environmental story using photography or film making. Story-building sessions focus on teaching participants how to use photography and film to communicate messages about nature conservation and environmental issues; they provide time for participants to work on their project by filming/photographing in the field, working on photo/film editing on the computer, story background research, brainstorming/storyboarding sessions, and story production. You'll learn all kinds of photography and filming techniques and tools.

At the end of the expedition, participants will have produced a photography slideshow, mini-documentary film, photo-essay, or some other communication piece that we’ll share on the Biosphere YouTube Channel or website.


What You’ll be doing:

While you're out exploring nature through canoeing/kayaking, hiking, swimming and more, you will learn...

     * How to shoot nature photo journalism and film footage like a NatGeo photographer documentary film maker                   

     * Create a story that you want to tell - one about nature, conservation or an environmental issue

      * Capture, edit, and produce your photos or film to tell your story.... and then share it with the world!

You'll learn all of this from a Ph.D., TedX speaker, biologist, photographer and educator who’s travelled the world and knows how to tell a good story


your expedition leader

Dr. Shelley Ball will be your expedition leader and teacher for the 14-day expedition. She’ll guide you through your adventure, she’ll show you incredible things about nature and the environment, and teach you how to turn all of it into a powerful story using photography and film making. She’ll not just teach you about leadership, she’ll get you practicing leadership throughout our 14 day program. And she’ll encourage you to nudge yourself outside your comfort zone and grow as a person.

 About Shelley

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Shelley is an easy-going yet passionate leader who loves nature, protecting the environment, adventure, and telling a good story with photos and film making. Her mission in life is to connect people to nature and to inspire them to care about it and protect it. She is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and a mentor with the Canadian Federation of University Women ( CFUW) National Mentoring Program and the winner of the 2018 CFUW National Mentoring Award. She is also currently Chair of the Environment Committee for the CFUW - Perth & District and in March 2018 represented CFUW at the United Nations 62nd Commission on the Status of Women. Shelley was also a member of the inaugural Homeward Bound Women In Science Leadership Expedition to Antarctica in December 2016. She is also a professional public speaker and author.

Here’s a snapshot of her fascinating life:

           * She’s a TEDX Speaker: Shelley spoke at the Ottawa TEDX (click HERE to see her TEDx talk)

           * She’s travelled to Antarctica as a member of the Homeward Bound Women In Science Leadership Expedition

           * She’s a doctor! She’s got her Ph.D. in biology (evolutionary ecology and population genetics) 

           * Was one of the pioneers of DNA Barcoding, a DNA- based tool now used to inventory the diversity of life on earth

           * She has nearly 30 years of teaching experience, having taught people of all ages, from kindergarten to graduate students

           * She’s also a career mentor and life coach. Shelley loves to help people discover their true passion in life.

Shelley launched Biosphere Environmental Education in order to give people the opportunity to get close to nature and learn about the environment through adventure!

While she may be called a doctor, she’s a teacher at heart.

She’ll lead you through the expedition and share her expertise and knowledge in a fun setting that’ll change your life.

Ready to JOIN US?

The Expedition program At A Glance

Our adventure this year will take place on the Frontenac Arch, a very special place here in eastern Ontario (Canada), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a 'biodiversity hotspot' in Canada and is known for its rocky outcrops, beautiful forests, and thousands of lakes and wetlands. 

Our sample itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive at Queen’s University Biology Station (QUBS), Orientation, evening camp fire

Day 2 - Introduction to Conservation/Environmental Storytelling, Forest hike, Introduction to Environmental Issues, recreation time, Evening Circle discussion

Day 3 -     Photography 101,  Introduction to National Geographic-style photography, nature photography in the field, afternoon swim, Leadership Learning Activities, Evening Circle discussion

Day 4 - Introduction to film-making techniques, visit to Frontenac Arch UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Story-building Session I, Evening Circle discussion

Day 5 - Zip-lining (optional) through the forest, Leadership Learning Activities, Story-building Session 2 (beginning to create our group video), night time forest walk

Day 6 - Guest speakers - professional conservation photographers talk about their experiences in the field

Day 7 - Story-building session 4, Geocache Challenge, afternoon swim, evening camp fire

Day 8 - Hiking/exploring Frontenac Provincial Park (including swimming/canoeing), Story-building session 3, Evening Circle discussion/camp fire

Day 9 - Story-building Session 4, canoeing/kayaking, Leadership Learning Activities, Evening Circle discussion/camp fire

Day 10 - Exploring Murphys Point Provincial Park, Story-building Session 5, Leadership Learning Activities, recreation time, Evening Circle discussion/camp fire

Day 11- Exploring Dunder Rock and Story-building Session 6 to finish the group video project.

Day 12 - Finish group video project

Day 13 - Forest hike, Leadership wrap-up, Farewell dinner and evening get-together/camp fire

Day 14 - Depart QUBS for home

*schedule subject to change

Evening Circle Discussions - these include learning and discussion about conservation and environmental issues and leadership development discussions and activities. Recreation time - this includes sports activities such as volleyball, soccer, self-directed activities, or time to just to rest and relax.


What's included:

When you sign up for our expedition, you’ll get access to:

  • All of your travel, accommodation and most meals during the 11 days of the program, once you arrive at QUBS

  • Entrance fees to national or provincial parks and all of our adventure activities and excursions (e.g. canoeing, kayaking, etc)

  • Our incredible Education Program, including instructional workshops in photography, videography, communication and leadership as well as lectures, discussions, team building exercises and more!

  • Pre-expedition support to help you prepare for your incredible adventure

  • Pre-expedition educational materials which will be sent out via email

  • Biosphere Environmental Education t-shirt and notebook

  • Post-expedition support for sharing your story with the world through the Biosphere website, Youtube channel and other means


The Details:

Date: To be announced in November 2019

Cost: $3195 CDN

Maximum 8 participants. We keep our group sizes small because we want to ensure each participant gets the individual attention they need to support their learning and an outstanding experience.

Make this YOUR summer