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Catalina Environmental Leadership Program

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Located on the beautiful west end of Santa Catalina Island, the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program (CELP) is a residential environmental and outdoor education program for students grades four through twelve.

While at CELP, students are guided through a series of land and sea explorations, each aimed to bring about a greater understanding and connectedness to self, others and the environment.

CELP combines the experience and creative efforts of Catalina Island Camps and Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society. CELP was the first Ambassadors of the Environment (AOTE) program, now a network of global environmental education programs started by Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society.

CELP is dedicated to achieving the following goals:

  • To give students a positive view of themselves
  • To develop knowledge and respect for the outdoor world
  • To give students skills in communication, teamwork, and friendship building that will help them throughout life
  • To inspire youth to live more sustainably and take responsibility for their future

The Program

CELP Principles

The unique ecosystems that surround Catalina create living classrooms, ideal for hands-on, experiential learning. Whether snorkeling, hiking, kayaking or tide-pooling, students observe first-hand how each ecosystem they visit, while unique in many ways, operates according to similar ecological principles. Woven into each lesson, the following principles are shown to be a recipe for a sustainable system.

  • Everything runs on energy
  • There is no waste in nature
  • Biodiversity is good
  • Everything is connected

After recognizing the important role that each creature plays in an ecosystem, students are inspired to think about the important role they can play in bettering their communities back home.

Program Offerings

CELP offers 3 and 5-day programs, both of which include a variety of land and sea activities.

CELP Groups are scheduled a series of Core Programs (pre-selected by CELP) and Elective Programs (chosen by the school). The number of available Core and Elective Programs depends on a group’s length of stay.

Below is a complete list of CELP activities.


  • Day and Night Snorkeling, Kayaking, Shoreline Investigation,
    Microscope Lab, Kelp Forest Slide Show


  • Ecology Hike, Sustainable Living, Art and Nature

Team Building

  • Low Ropes/Initiatives, Climbing Walls, Ropes Course

Evening Programs

  • Night Hike, Pimuvit Campfire, Night Sky, Night Snorkeling

The Howlands Garden Project

  • Garden, Composting, Service Learning Projects, Stop the Spread

Curriculum Standards

The CELP curriculum has been aligned with many California State Science Standards. In addition, concepts taught at CELP closely follow the California State Education and Environment Initiative (EEI) Principles and Concepts.

Learn More About CELP