Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is pleased to announce our new EcoLeader Academy! This  seven-week course provides an invaluable opportunity for highly motivated high school students to gain knowledge of the many facets of environmental science: ecosystems, human health, policy, climate change, food and agriculture, energy, pollution, environmental justice issues, local to global impacts, sustainability and green careers.

Attendees will grow in self-confidence and strengthen skills, such as communication, collaboration and public speaking that will also build a solid resume for college and job applications.EcoLeader Academy is offered free of charge. Accepted attendees will receive a small stipend to attend this opportunity. 


This course runs one day a week (participants choose a Wednesday or Thursday cohort to join) from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. Daily activities include a combination of expert-led classes, discussions, workshops, opportunities for creativity and service projects.

The program concludes with a Youth Garden Summit where participants will share their new knowledge and skills with other youth from around the Pittsburgh region. The Youth Garden Summit will take place from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Tues., Aug. 1, for both cohorts.


  • Cultivate an appreciation and understanding of local, national and global environmental science and justice issues and sustainable solutions
  • Provide opportunities for youth to engage in solutions-focused and place-based environmental education that serves the community
  • Introduce youth to “green” careers and develop career-relevant leadership skills in areas of science, research, policy, education and communication and other environmental fields
  • Connect passionate young people with other like-minded youth and develop peer-to-peer education and communication skills
  • Empower young people to seek and create change and recognize that individual actions do make a difference

Dates and Locations

Programs are identical and offered at different times to accommodate a variety of schedules.

Wednesday Cohort:
Wednesdays from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
(June 21, June 28, July 5, July 12, July 19, July 26)
Plus Tuesday, Aug. 1 Youth Garden Summit from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Thursday Cohort:
Thursdays from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m., Location TBD
(June 22, June 29, July 6, July 13, July 20, July 27)
Plus Tuesday, Aug. 1 Youth Garden Summit from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

How to Apply - Applications Are Currently Closed.

All applicants must have completed at least one year of high school and must be between 14 and 19 years old.

Applications will be accepted from Mar. 31 – May 29, although interviews will take place on a rolling basis up until the due date. Please submit your application early! All interested students should do the following to be considered for this workshop:

  • Choose a cohort based on the dates above and confirm that you can and will attend ALL dates of the program
  • Enclose a brief essay (150-word minimum) describing why you would like to be part of our EcoLeader Academy program and the environmental topics that you are passionate about
  • Electronically complete the EcoLeader Academy Application below or apply by mail

If applying by mail, download and send your completed application along with essay to:

Alyssa Mulé, High School Programs Coordinator
Science Education and Research Department
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
One Schenley Park
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Download PDF

For more information:

Call 412-622-6915, ext. 3905, or email Alyssa Mulé at amule@phipps.conservatory.org.