Environmental Science: The Living City

A lab experiment is underway in a Seaver College of Science and Engineering lab at Loyola Marymount University.

Program Dates: June 28, 2020 - July 11, 2020

Location: Online

Students with a passion for the natural and social sciences, a love of the outdoors, and an interest in learning about dynamic urban ecosystems, will thrive in this exciting, pre-college immersion program built for curious environmentalists who want to explore the human-nature connection.

Painted hummingbird casts made out of Alumilite urethane resin.

This engaging field-ecology course has been adapted to a virtual learning experience. Students will be engaged in their local ecosystems as well as the LMU campus and surrounding environs, with the use of drone technology.

Students enrolled in this inspiring field-ecology course will explore how the scientific disciplines of biology, chemistry, botany, ecology, social science, animal science and engineering intersect to help urban ecologists work together towards solutions to the complex environmental and social challenges facing urban communities.  

Students will learn about research being conducted by faculty, staff and undergraduates in the LMU-CURes’ Lab on coyote-management, hummingbird torpor and behavior, tree health and growth, mosquito abundance, water quality, social stewardship mapping, and much more! 

This in-depth, two-week scientific adventure takes place amid the virtual back-drop of a uniquely complex ecosystem of the Ballona Wetlands, a coastal estuary located just below the bluffs of LMU and the last remaining wetland in Los Angeles.  Students will learn about the diverse flora and fauna that enable this wetland to thrive in the heart of Los Angeles! Students who may attend LMU in the future will be forever changed after learning about all the ecosystem services the Ballona Wetlands has to offer!

Through a series of daily lectures and hands-on lab work (materials will be mailed to students), the combination of virtual interactive instruction, indoor lab work and outdoor field work in each student’s local ecosystem will introduce and immerse students in the world of field ecology and the research paradigm. Specific topics include hummingbirds, corvids, coyotes, osprey, trees, songbirds, and more. Artistic components of the course will include the production of a painted hummingbird cast. 

The Los Angeles story is a complex one of urban growth, restoration, and community solutions to complex socio-ecological challenges, including the human-wildlife intersect, habitat fragmentation, climate change mitigation, protection of wildlife corridors & biodiversity, pollution management, water quality, and green space equity, among others. 

This virtual course will allow students to share their local ecosystem with others in the course, and each student will learn ways they can make a difference in their own communities by working collaboratively towards sustainable solutions to build resilient communities.

    • Learn to work in teams in a virtual classroom setting
    • Develop an understanding of the principles of Environmental Science
    • Explore ways you can make positive change around environmental challenges
  • Application Fee: $60

    2020 Program Cost: $2,400

    The program cost includes:

    • Tuition for online two-week, non-credit course
    • Course books and materials*
    • College preparedness workshops with LMU Admission and Financial Aid offices
    • Career readiness workshops with LMU's Career and Professional Development office
    • Online social activities with LMU's student ambassadors 

    *A personal computer or video conferencing capable mobile device and internet access are required for this course and are not covered in the cost of tuition and fees. 

    For additional information about program tuition and fees and payment options, please visit our Fees Page

  • This class is open to rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.


    • Online Application
    • Personal Essay: Read the Prompt Now
    • Letter of Recommendation from a teacher or counselor
    • High School Transcripts
    • $60 Application Fee
    • TOEFL Scores (for International applicants whose primary language is not English)


Summer 2020 applications are still available!