Youth Outdoor Leadership Opportunity (YOLO)

Spark your passion for science and local climate action. Be a part of a once-in-a-lifetime outdoor expedition.

SYRCL is excited to announce a FREE week-long, overnight summer science expedition for local 10th-12th graders, and graduating seniors, to engage in local climate action and watershed restoration efforts!

Apply for our Youth Outdoor Leadership Opportunity (YOLO) Expedition, and if you’re selected, spend a week on a fully funded research expedition studying meadows in Tahoe National Forest alongside real scientists and other students.

Questions? Contact us!

Betsy Brunner
Communications & Engagement Director
(530) 265-5961 ext. 220

Are you family member or student who wants to learn more? This informational webinar with SYRCL’s River Science & Education teams covers the importance of meadow restoration and research and where you’d come in as a citizen scientist, as well as what to expect from our daily itinerary (like river hikes and family dinners) trip safety, our COVID-19 contingency plans and other trip logistics!

Surrounded by the gorgeous Sierra Mountains, you’ll get a chance to conduct hands-on field work and meadow restoration research. You’ll be collecting the data needed to help answer some of California’s most pressing environmental questions!

You’ll also get a chance to connect with your teammates over family-style dinners, discuss important environmental justice issues, hone your leadership skills and make new friends while exploring the beautiful landscapes that make up our North Yuba Watershed.


With the safety of students and community members participating in SYRCL’s River Education Program being our top priority, we are taking action based on guidance from Governor’s Executive Order N 25-20, as well as public health experts. Thus, in order to maintain a safe environment and slow the spread of COVID-19, the YOLO expedition dates are tentative and subject to change as we receive new information.

While the dates for our upcoming YOLO expedition are subject to change, we are still in the process of recruiting students for the program, as we would like our team to be ready for yet another awesome YOLO trip when the time comes.

If you’re interested in applying (or know someone is), and is willing to be flexible on program dates and structure, our (tentative) program dates and details are below


Tentative Dates: 2021*

*Subject to change to either 2 weekends in September, or June 2021, based on the most up to date health information.

Tentative Program Itinerary

  • Sunday Participants would be dropped off at the SYRCL office, and transportation provided to stay overnight at our lodging near Truckee.
  • Monday – Thursday  Travel to our meadow restoration sites to engage in fieldwork surrounding:
      • Water quality monitoring
      • Restoration activities such as collecting and/or planting native riparian vegetation to ensure health of stream-channels.
      • Conducting biological surveys to assess meadow restoration success
      • Hikes to highlight the impacts of human activity on meadow health or the correlations of meadow health to watershed health.
      • Team-building, personal reflection and leadership skills development
  • Friday  Depart lodging, have a morning of final fieldwork and an afternoon by the Yuba River; return to the office for pick-up

Lodging, food and transportation expenses covered*

*Excludes personal expenses

Field Site & Cabin Location

  • Most of the time will be spent outdoors at either Van Norden Meadow or Loney Meadow in the Tahoe National Forest, 30 minutes outside of Truckee.
Earthwatch YOLO Youth Student Eduction


  • Bear and Yuba Watershed high school sophomores, juniors and graduating seniors, ages 15-18**
    **Preference will be given to students from Nevada, Yuba, Placer and other counties within the Yuba Watershed boundaries, but other students in the Central Valley region may still apply.

  • Able to attend a virtual orientation, most likely to be held over 2 days in July (Dates TBD).

  • Flexibility around working for 5 days in the summer, with the willingness to still be a part of the team if the dates are postponed due to COVID-19.

  • Comfortability with physical work and hiking.

  • Creative thinkers and motivated learners.

  • Excited to work in a team dynamic with peers & local scientists.


  • May  Applications Open (download application here).
  • June 12  Applications Due. Keep in mind the application requires at least one letter of recommendation.
  • June 22  Receive notification from SYRCL as to whether or not you’ve been selected.
  • July (Dates TBD)  Virtual two-day mandatory orientation.
  • (Tentative, subject to change in accordance with guidance from health experts surrounding COVID-19) August 9-14  YOLO Expedition

Many thanks to National Forest Foundation for making this opportunity possible!