Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program

Montage photo of high school students taking part in the Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program

A week-long summer field studies program for high school girls

Thank you all for your unwavering support for the Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program for the past five years. Because of you all -- those who participated, provided funding, or shared information about our program with your friends, students, and children -- RESSP has enjoyed greater success than we could have imagined. Unfortunately, we do not have funding to offer RESSP again in 2019 and it is unlikely that the program will continue into the future, but we will keep this page updated if that changes. Thank you again for five incredible years of RESSP!

Mount Holyoke College’s Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program (RESSP) is a summer educational program designed to introduce high school girls to the growing field of ecological restoration. Through this field studies program, students learn about key components of environmental science and restoration, including soil health, water quality, wildlife management, plant biodiversity, social issues related to ecological restoration, and restoration design. The program was first developed by REP alumna, Jovanna Robinson-Hidas ’16.

Who are RESSP scholars?

  • RESSP scholars are local girls who have just completed grades 9, 10, or 11.
  • They are looking for meaningful ways to engage with the world and the environment.
  • They want to learn how to enact real-world solutions to real-world problems.
  • They are passionate about science and eager to explore new ideas.
  • RESSP scholars are change-makers and leaders.

The RESSP experience

RESSP scholars work directly with faculty and college students from Mount Holyoke's Restoration Ecology Program as they explore the living laboratories of the campus, including our wetland restoration site, Project Stream. Throughout the week, they are introduced to current techniques that scientists and practitioners are using in the field of restoration ecology. Past activities have included:

  • Monitoring water quality through chemical and macroinvertebrate sampling of surface and groundwater
  • Analyzing key soil variables to determine wetland status and soil function
  • Assessing ecosystems for presence of invasive species and developing strategies for removal
  • Touring local restoration sites to learn how restoration principles are implemented
  • Using field guides and collection techniques to create an herbarium that represents vegetation in an ecosystem
  • Working in small groups to design restoration plans
Jailene Rodriguez '20 began her Mount Holyoke career as a high school summer scholar with the Restoration Ecology Program.

From restoration ecology to cardiology

Future physician Jailene Rodriguez ’20 gained hands-on lab experience in high school via Mount Holyoke’s Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program.

Program Partners

People's Bank logo

PeoplesBank

We proudly offer RESSP in partnership with PeoplesBank. The bank, widely recognized for its commitment to supporting local educational and environmental efforts. The partnership with PeoplesBank has also made it possible to offer an "Earn-as-you-Learn" stipend for each student who successfully completes the program.

Sustainable Springfield Initiative logo

Sustainable Springfield

Through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Mount Holyoke College Restoration Ecology Program has teamed up with the Sustainable Springfield Initative to foster environmental education and habitat restoration at the Abbey Brook Conservation Area, located adjacent to the Springfield Renaissance School. As part of that partnership, two RESSP spaces have been reserved specifically for Springfield Renaissance School students to learn skills that will complement the restoration efforts.

Program Details

  • All students selected as RESSP scholars attend the program free of charge.
  • A $400 "Earn-as-you-Learn" stipend is available to each student who successfully completes the program.
  • Entrance to the program is competitive, but no specific science knowledge is required.
  • Students must apply and be nominated by a teacher, counselor, or other school leader.
  • Instruction is in English. Students with intermediate level or higher English proficiency are encouraged to apply.
  • RESSP runs from 9-4 daily.
  • Transportation will be provided from centralized meeting points at local high schools.
  • Lunch at the Mount Holyoke College dining hall is included, and snacks are available each day.
Montage photo of high school students taking part in the Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program

How to Apply

To apply for RESSP, you must be a female student currently completing grades 9, 10, or 11. Highly motivated students interested in the environment and ecological restoration are encouraged to apply. Special consideration will be given to youth from urban areas.