The nation’s premier summer student leadership training for rising 9-12 grade students since 2008
July 9 - July 15, 2023 Application Closed


Program Details

The Student Climate & Conservation Congress (Sc3) is a week-long leadership training program convened annually at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), the nation’s premier environmental training facility.

Participants, known as “Sc3 Fellows,” spend a week learning from world-renowned experts as well as studying and discussing environmental, social, and economic interconnections to address climate change and natural resource conservation challenges affecting their generation in an ever changing world.

After nearly a decade of training extraordinary youth leaders, the Student Climate & Conservation Congress (Sc3) is returning to the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC). Sc3 is coordinated collaboratively through a partnership between Sustainable Summer and the Green Schools Alliance. The continued mission of Sc3 remains “to empower outstanding student environmental leaders with the skills, knowledge, and tools to address climate change and natural resource conservation challenges and better serve their schools and communities.”

SC3 History

The Student Climate & Conservation Congress (Sc3) was first launched in 2008 at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, WV. Developed by the Green Schools Alliance (GSA) and NCTC, the goal of Sc3 is to inspire and prepare the next generation of stewards to follow in the footsteps of those conservation leaders and advocates who came before. Whether their pathways are through the arts, policy, economics or science, leadership is needed more than ever and comes in all forms. Held annually at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV - the nation’s heart of environmental leadership training - Sc3 will provide unique opportunities to network and learn from the nation’s leading experts and thought leaders.

The Program

We focus on developing three pillars of environmental leadership in our students. What is environmental leadership?


Taking action starts with building knowledge. Participants through discussions, workshops, and connecting to nature and place will explore important concepts in the field of sustainability. An essential question guides this process in every program. By the end of the week students will have made gains in eco-literacy and built a solid foundation in principles of climate change, conservation, and sustainable development.


We emphasize the application of knowledge to practical, real world problems through a project-based approach that allows for an in-depth investigation of an authentic and complex environmental problem. Knowing about something is very different from knowing how to do something. We structure the program to bridge this gap, developing functional, transferable leadership skills in the process.


Sc3 is an authentic space for students to explore their own value structures, professional and intellectual interests, and how their beliefs inform their environmental ethic and activism. It is a space for youth to engage in their own sustainability journey with other like-minded peers. Our students are part of an emerging global community passionately committed to protecting human and planetary health and creating a more sustainable world than the one that exists today.

We're glad you asked! More than almost anything else we do, we strive to build a cohort of intellectually curious youth from all over the world. Our programs emphasize dynamic project-based learning, personal growth, and discovery. This is NOT a "take notes and study for the test" type of program. This IS an "I'm all in, let's get our hands dirty and have fun while doing it" type of program. Check out what past students have to say about Sc3

This exciting program is run in partnership with the Green School's Alliance. You can find lots of additional information about SC3 on the GSA website.


We use a tiered tuition model that leads to more socioeconomic diversity in our cohorts.


Our standard course fee, which represents the actual cost of operating our programs, including the administrative costs that are necessary to sustain our organization in the long-term. This is the suggested rate for families living in high cost of living areas with household net assets of greater than $650,000 and/or annual household income of greater than $180,000.

Tuition Assistance

Participants at this tuition rate cover only their direct participation costs, including lodging, meals, activities, and other programming. Participation at this level is based on the honor system. It is available to all families - no documentation required. We simply ask families to honestly consider their financial resources and ability to pay the full tuition rate.


Additional scholarship funding is available for students that are unable to participate at either of the other rates. Scholarship participants receive up to an 85% reduction of the standard course fee. Due to the limited availability of scholarship funds, a separate application is required, including a parent financial statement and recent tax return.

What's Included


in double occupancy rooms at the National Conservation Training Center.


Students will be provided with a full meal plan at NCTC. Dietary preferences or restrictions are no problem.


Connect to nature and place every day traversing the NCTC campus, or optional early morning birdwatching, river walks, and yoga. A river trip on the Potomac is a highlight of the Sc3 experience.

Dynamic Learning Opportunities

Project-based. Interactive. Fun. Sc3 is an applied sustainability program. We focus on the application of ideas to practical problems.


World-renowned experts from the government, non-profit, and private sector.

Residential Faculty and Staff

Sc3 Faculty abd Staff reside in the dorms. With a student to faculty/staff ratio of 10:3, someone is always around!

Pre-Program Materials and Support

Students and parents receive comprehensive and prompt pre-program support.


Bus, train, or plane to DC is not included. BUT: NCTC shuttles (no fee) will be waiting at Union Station and Dulles Airport to bring our students to Campus. Or you can drive to NCTC.

Service Learning

Students will receive Service Learning credit.

Not Included

Personal expenses such as laundry, snacks, souvenirs, and other incidentals.


No faqs found!

Program Staff

Curious about our program staff?

NCTC Program Testimonials

Admissions Process

  • Step 1

    Apply online. Your application will include a Letter of Recommendation from a teacher or mentor and two short (500 words or less) responses to open-ended questions about sustainability. There is a $35 application fee.
  • Step 2

    Admissions decision, based principally on the applicant's ability to demonstrate interest in sustainability issues and to contribute positively to our community of students. Students and parents are notified via email and provided enrollment instructions. This is also a good time for parents to be in contact with our office to review any questions about the program.
  • Step 3

    A non-refundable deposit secures enrollment in the program. Enrollment deposits are made online by credit card and the enrollment form must be completed by a parent.

Partners and Supporters

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Silicon Vally Community Trust Logo
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