Project WHIRL

Teens in kayaks float on Clear Lake

Project WHIRL is a teen environmental education program initiated by the IRLC in 2019. The program aims to bring together environmentalists of different ages and experiences to learn from one another and to grow a community of people principled around protecting water quality, especially within the Indian River Lakes Watershed.

WHIRL stands for “Water and Habitat on the Indian River Lakes,” and our alumni and participants take the title of “WHIRL Protectors.”

Our Summer 2023 Program will open for enrollment in June 2022 for ages 14-18. During the program, Students will explore the watershed and its geology, kayak on the local lakes, have hands-on experience studying water quality via natural indicators, and learn about invasive species like Eurasian Watermilfoil. Thanks to the generous community of business partners, the Sweetgrass Foundation, and our members, the program is free to participants.

To sign up for summer 2023, click here. We will call you to answer questions and finalize your sign-up.


Club WHIRL is a sister program to our summer-long program. Club WHIRL events occur several times in the fall, winter, and spring seasons. Some examples of events include Bass-Stocking, Ice-Fishing, and Orienteering. Attend just one or all of the sessions. Check out our upcoming events >>

To inquire about summer enrollment or attending an event, email or call 315-482-4757.

The main tenets of Project WHIRL:

Experiential Learning: Project WHIRLers can expect to engage in activities such as water sampling and searching for invasive aquatic species. Students will get a chance to visit Clarkson University and participate in WHIRL’s Community Outreach Day.

Collaborative: Many partners have come together to provide expertise for this project. Water quality is a complex topic, and it affects us all.

Impactful: This project reaches beyond research and into action. WHIRLers will get a chance to actually implement water management techniques.

Unique: Explore, ask questions, and discover nature up close. This isn’t your everyday classroom.

Download the brochure here >>


Watertown Daily Times – For WHIRL graduates, learning about watersheds is a natural – 2022

Thousand Islands Sun – Students learn about water, habitat on the Indian River lakes – 2022

IRLC Newsletter – Teens Learn to Love the Lakes – Fall 2022

Clarkson Professor Diana White Research – Project WHIRL 2021 with video

Thousand Islands Life – Explore the Indian River Lakes Conservancy – 2021

FORCES Friends of Recreation, Conservation, and Environmental Stewardship Newsletter – Fall 2019

NNY360 – Project WHIRL students teach community about water quality, invasive species – 2019