Project WHIRL

Wylie Huffman

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

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.

Our Summer 2024 Program is open for enrollment in May 2024 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 WHIRL 2024, fill out this form.

discovering the lake
Wylie Huffman

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.

four WHIRL participants with fishing net


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.

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

WHIRL Club group fishing
Wylie Huffman

“There's a big difference between learning about nature and science physically on a lake versus on paper in a classroom. IRLC's summer WHIRL program changed the way I look at our environment and opened my eyes to the many inhabitants—large and small—dependent on the Indian River Lakes.”

— Henry Brennan, WHIRL participant

Fun Fact

The Indian River Lakes Conservancy maintains 28 miles of trails open to the public across 5 different land preserves, and we are consistently working to expand our trail system. With trails in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties, there are lots of places for you to explore and enjoy!