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Ecological Sustainability Adventure Curriculum

 

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It’s no secret that our planet’s climate and ecosystems have become stressed by our collective actions as humans. We each feel the stress because we too are part of these ecosystems. While each of us has basic needs for food, shelter, energy, and entertainment, we can choose to meet those needs in environmentally responsible or irresponsible ways. We make choices everyday that have an impact on our environment and the plant and animal communities we share this planet with.

In this educational adventure, we explore the Earth Sciences through hands-on, interactive activities in organic gardening and forestry, natural building, sustainable water systems, sustainable energy systems, recycling, Permaculture design and more!

 


Ecological Sustainability Package
ARRIVAL DAYGroup A (up to 15 students)Group B (up to 15 students)Description
5:00 - 6:00pmArrive, settle into dormArrive, settle into dorm
6:00 - 7:30pmDinnerDinnerNOTES
7:30 - 9:00pmIce Breaking Exercises and Introduction to Ecological SustainabilityIce Breaking Exercises and Introduction to Ecological SustainabilityECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY It’s no secret that our planet’s climate and ecosystems have become stressed by our collective actions as humans. We each feel the stress because we too are part of these ecosystems. While each of us has basic needs for food, shelter, energy, and entertainment, we can choose to meet those needs in environmentally responsible or irresponsible ways. We make choices everyday that have an impact on our environment and the plant and animal communities we share this planet with.Summer Camp 1) make something out of cob and bottle bricks. 2) Recylced art piece. 3) We, and all that is around us, is made of the four elements: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. Each element has something to teach us, and will act as a lens through which we approach each day
9:00pmRest and Quiet TimeRest and Quiet Time
session topics:
Day 1 - ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITYcordage, bow n arrow, camouflage, friend with nature, basketry, hide tanning, bowl making, friction fire, tracking/animal observation, earth painting, wild medicinals
7:15 - 8:00amNature Exploration (E118)Nature Exploration (E118)NATURE EXPLORATION (E118): An exploration through our 88 acre nature sanctuary.  This early morning session is a perfect time to learn the songs of the dozens of local birds, to harvest local edible and medicinal plants, and hear about the ecological history and former First Nations inhabitants of the land.bike power, natural building, gardening, sustainable tech, forestry, greywater, compost toilets,
8:00 - 9:00amBreakfastBreakfast
9:00 - 9:45amIntro to Sustainable SheltersIntro to Sustainable AgricultureINTRODUCTION TO THE ART OF SUSTAINABLE SHELTERS: Modern housing and related infrastructure uses an immense amount of valuable resources, creates an immense amount of waste, and employs tons of toxic building materials. In "Sustainable Shelters" or "Natural Buildings", homes and creative structures can be built with materials from right outside your front door! These types of buildings emphasize the use of materials that are local, minimally processed, renewable, recycled, biodegradeable, and create a healthy living environment and good indoor air quality. In addition, these buildings incorporate sustainable technologies in their design. In this introduction, we explore the basic principles of sustainable building and show examples from around the world and around our education center.
9:45 - 12:15pmFrom Earth to Home (E111)Growing Your Own Food (E110)GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD (E110): Identifying plants, taste-testing vegetables, caring for animals, and planting trees are all part of the fun, hands-on activity of sustainable agriculture.  After an overview, and a tour of the Permaculture gardens on-site, students will get their hands dirty caring for the plants they’ll be eating, while learning some techniques that they can bring back to school and to the backyard!
12:30 - 2:00pmLUNCH and free timeLUNCH and free timeLUNCH: We hold hands in a circle before every delicious organic meal, expressing our joy and gratitude through songs and shared silence. Volunteers from the Lost Valley community will eat with interested students to answer questions about the challenges and joys of practicing personal sustainability. Then, there will be free time to kick soccer balls, hula-hoop, jump-rope and slack line.
2:00 - 2:30pmIntro to Sustainable AgricultureIntro to Sustainable SheltersINTRODUCTION TO THE ART OF SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE: Modern agricultural practices play a huge role in climate change, habitat loss, groundwater pollution, soil erosion, poor nutrition, and more. Growing your own food is not just an ecological act, it’s a social and political one too. In this introduction, we explore the basic principles of sustainable agriculture and show examples from around the world and around our education center.
2:30 - 5:00pmGrowing Your Own Food (E110)From Earth to Home (E111)FROM EARTH TO HOME (E111):  Avoiding waste & toxicity, Natural Building techniques use renewable, recycled, and biodegradable materials (often from right outside your front door!) resulting in homes and structures with a healthy living environment and sustainable design.  Students will tour beautiful examples of Natural Building on-site and then get their hands (and feet!) dirty. Gathering rocks, digging mud, harvesting lumber, mixing clay-straw-sand, and sculpting forms are all part of the fun, hands-on activity, whether the goal is a bench, an oven, or even your own dwelling! Students and teachers will return home with the confidence to build a project at their own school.
5:00 - 6:00pmCreative ReflectionsCreative ReflectionsCREATIVE REFLECTIONS: Guided physical exercises and creative writing reflections that provides inspiration for integrating important topics from the day
6:00 - 7:30pmDinner and free timeDinner and free time
7:30 - 8:45pmEarthSounds (P150)EarthSounds (P150)EARTHSOUNDS (P150): A communal fire circle of ancient melodies and earth rhythms; a participatory celebration of voice and movement in our beautiful meadow.
9:00pmBack in dorm for the nightBack in dorm for the night
Day 2 - ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY
7:15 - 8:00amMindfulness and Movement (P115)Mindfulness and Movement (P115)MINDFULNESS & MOVEMENT PRACTICE (P115): Mindfulness and Movement are simple, accessible, and secular practices that help bring us into the present moment.  In a world where advertisements, technology, and entertainment take our attention away, there are simple ways to bring it back home.   We need nothing but our own intention and attention to focus our minds, open our hearts, and restore our innate sense of well-being and interconnection.
8:00 - 9:00amBreakfastBreakfast
9:00 - 9:45amIntro to Sustainable Water SystemsIntro to Sustainable Energy SystemsIntroduction to Sustainable Energy Systems: The pace and convenience of our modern world is built upon the short-term availability of a non-renewable energy source: fossil fuels. From the littlest conveniences to the the biggest luxuries, we rely on fossil fuels for most everything we do: and they are running out. This course introduces students to the importance of clean, renewable energy sources, while bringing awareness to the consumptive lifestyle choices that require so much energy. Can we live with less? Can we imagine an energy future we can sustain indefinitely?
9:45am - 12:15pmGreywater, Water Catchment, and EarthWorks (E113)Pedal Powered Machines (E112)Pedal Powered Machines (E112): How can simple, human-powered machines replace our home appliances?  and provide exercise?  and fun?!  Students will learn the importance of alternative transportation (bicycles) and the many practical everyday uses for pedal-powered machines, like blenders, electricity generators, and washing machines. Students will see examples of these simple technologies, have the opportunity to use them, and participate in creating new systems that can be replicated back at school.
12:30 - 2:00pmLUNCH and free timeLUNCH and free timeLUNCH: We hold hands in a circle before every delicious organic meal, expressing our joy and gratitude through songs and shared silence. Volunteers from the Lost Valley community will eat with interested students to answer questions about the challenges and joys of practicing personal sustainability. Then, there will be free time to kick soccer balls, hula-hoop, jump-rope and slack line.
2:00-2:30pmIntroduction to Sustainable Energy SystemsIntroduction to Water SystemsIntroduction to Sustainable Water Systems: Only 3% of the worlds water is fresh water, and only a portion of that is accessible to humans. Growing global populations, climate change, pollution, and other factors have combined to creat the next biggest global resource challenge: Peak Water. Fortunately, there are various simple, techniques at our disposal to catch, store, and recycle this precious life-giving resource. This course introduces students to the basics of the water cycle, water use in our society, and the ways we individually use water in our lives.
2:30 - 5:00pmPedal Powered Machines (E112)Greywater, Water Catchment, and EarthWorks (E113)Greywater, Water Catchment, and Earthworks (E113). Students will review our on-site water systems and how water moves through our landscape, exploring examples of each of these simple technologies. Students will then create new systems that can be replicated back at school. Bring your boots, cuz we'll be playing outside in the water flows! (At teacher's request, each segment of this course can be expanded into a course of its own).
5:00 - 6:00pmSustainability Scavenger HuntSustainability Scavenger HuntSustainability Scavenger Hunt: Student groups will journey through a campus-wide exploration of sustainability. Like the classic scavenger hunt, each new destination will present a new challenge, discovery, exercise, or activity, eventually leading all groups back to the place they began to share the insights they've gathered. Extra points for team efforts!
6:00 - 7:30pmDinner and free timeDinner and free time
7:30 - 8:45pmCreative Movement (P151)Creative Movement (P151)CREATIVE MOVEMENT (P151): Dance as if no one was watching!  This session invites students to discover their authentic expressions in movement while having a blast with their friends.  Inspired by Ecstatic Dance, Eurythmy, 5 Rythyms, and more, students are guided on a creative, celebratory journey through a unique soundtrack of popular music.
9:00pmBack in dorm for the nightBack in dorm for the night
Day 3 - ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY
7:15 - 8:00amNature Exploration (E118)Nature Exploration (E118)NATURE EXPLORATION (E118): An exploration through our 88 acre nature sanctuary.  This early morning session is a perfect time to learn the songs of the dozens of local birds, to harvest local edible and medicinal plants, and hear about the ecological history and former First Nations inhabitants of the land.
8:00 - 9:00amBreakfastBreakfast
9:00- 9:45amIntroduction to Permaculture DesignIntroduction to the Waste StreamIntroduction to the Waste Stream: Our culture has a problem with waste: landfills, toxic dumping, and pollution. But what do we really mean when we call something "waste"? In Nature, everything is recycled back into the ecosystem in useful ways. And where is this place we call "away"? In Nature, there is no need to create zones for storage of toxic materials. In this course, we take a look at our culture's habits of excessive production, consumption and waste, and the processes through which unused resources either become harmful pollutants or are recycled back into service, and their effect on us or those around us. Students have an opportunity to reflect on how their actions contribute to or help mediate the problem of waste in our world.
9:45 - 12:15pmSolar Energy Technologies: Photovoltaic, Solar Hot Water, and Solar Cookers (E116). Trash Into Treasure: Recycling Resources (E114)Trash Into Treasure: Recycling Resources (E114). Waste = Fertility. In small groups, students will design projects that transform waste into artistic or functional structures, diverting resources from the waste stream. These could include bottle bricks, aluminum artworks, pallet furniture, composters, greywater systems, or more. By increasing awareness of their habits, students can reduce their wasteful contributions to the world. With patience and creativity, we can find valuable uses for many things we would typically throw away.
12:30 - 2:00pmLUNCH and free timeLUNCH and free timeLUNCH: We hold hands in a circle before every delicious organic meal, expressing our joy and gratitude through songs and shared silence. Volunteers from the Lost Valley community will eat with interested students to answer questions about the challenges and joys of practicing personal sustainability. Then, there will be free time to kick soccer balls, hula-hoop, jump-rope and slack line.
2:00-2:30pmIntroduction to the Waste StreamIntroduction to Permaculture DesignIntroduction to Permaculture Design: Permaculture Design is a set of design principles inspired by Nature, and used for the purpose of creating sustainable human settlements. In this course, we set aside the focus on specfic technologies or techniques, and investigate the lens through which we approach sustainability. In preparation for going back to their local communities, schools, and homes, students are empowered to see themsevles as designers of their environments. Using examples from our rural site, or examples from back home, students will practice designing holistic systems in groups.
2:30 - 5:00pmTrash Into Treasure: Recycling Resources (E114)Solar Energy Technologies: Photovoltaic, Solar Hot Water, and Solar Cookers (E116). Solar Energy Technologies: Photovoltaic, Solar Hot Water, and Solar Cookers (E116). The energy of our Sun keeps plants and trees growing, the winds and waters moving, and makes our planet warm enough to inhabit. Students will learn several ways to harness this massive energy source, from advanced and high-tech to inexpensive and simple. Working in groups, students will create a solar energy technology on-site and gain the skills to replicate it back at school.
5:00 - 6:00pmDesigning our Sustainable Futures (E115)Designing our Sustainable Futures (E115)DESIGNING OUR SUSTAINABLE FUTURE (E115). Now that students have learned the importance of Ecological Sustainability and learned techniques for implementing various sustainable technologies, we will use Permaculture Design principles reflect on how, what, where and when we could implement what we've learned into our homes, schools, and local communities.
6:00 - 7:00pmDinner and free timeDinner and free time
7:00 - 8:00pmClass theatre preparationsClass theatre preparationsCLASS THEATRE PREPARATIONS: We coach small groups in creating a skit to perform for the rest of the class.  Students learn the basics of theatre and storytelling and get tips on acting, improvisation, and expressing themselves clearly on stage.
8:00-10:00pmClass Theatre, Talent Show, and DessertClass Theatre, Talent Show, and DessertCLASS THEATRE: Skit-groups costume up and playfully enact lessons from their most meaningful EarthQuest Learning Adventures. TALENT SHOW: The fun continues with dessert, healthy refreshments, and a showcase for creative expression!  Students are invited to share any and all talents they have, from juggling to a choreography to singing a song or sharing poem.  This is a celebration of the amazing unique talents and gifts that we all possess!
10:00pmBack in dorm for the nightBack in dorm for the night
Day 4 - HEADING HOME
8:00 - 8:45amBreakfastBreakfast
9:00 - 10:00amDesigning our Sustainable Futures (continued), Final Reflections, and Team-building exercisesDesigning our Sustainable Futures (continued), Final Reflections, and Team-building exercisesGROUP REFLECTIONS: The group gathers to share the highlights of their learning experience, from insights into themselves to insights about each other to insights about the Earth.  Students can also share art or creative writing reflections they created during the week and share feedback for the teachers or the organization.
10:00 - 10:30amPack upPack up
10:45amSee you next time!See you next time!