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The EarthQuest Philosophy

 

kids2At EarthQuest, we envision a thriving future for today’s young people; a future of personal, social, and environmental health. Our innovative curriculum teaches sustainability education in a whole new way. We don’t just bring youth into Nature.  We bring youth into connection with themselves and their peers in a transformative immersion experience.   For us, education is not truly sustainable if it can’t sustain the whole of the child:  the spiritual, the social, and the ecological aspects and contexts. intowildernessAt EarthQuest, the journey to the Earth starts inside ourselves, and ends in healthy friendships  and a fulfilling relationship to Nature.  Our adventures are a fun, engaging and creative way to empower young people to choose a pathway of positive change in the world.  Sustainability isn’t just about doing the right thing for our planet; it’s about discovering our authentic gifts in the world and sharing them with our communities. EarthQuest programs dovetail beautifully with progressive and alternative education models, such as Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia. They are crafted to engage students’ hearts, hands, and minds in each lesson at hand, because how students learn is just as important as the content itself. This interactive approach captures students’ attention and integrates information deeper, making it real to students’ everyday lives. At EarthQuest, we understand that learning doesn’t happen in a straight line, with isolated topics leading to tidy explanations.  True learning is much more organic and wild like Nature, which creates its integrity from the pathways of interconnection between its diverse elements.  Below are the three interconnected aspects of sustainability education, as we see it:

Teacher Robin- NVC1)      Personal Sustainability encompasses a set of values and practices  that reintegrate humans with their innate sense of wisdom, compassion, and contentment.  It is based on an understanding that if we don’t cultivate inner peace and clarity amidst the challenges of our lives, we can’t show up for our friends or our environment either.   Personal Sustainability includes familiar concepts such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and positive self-esteem, and extends out to music and the arts, personal health and nutrition, personal growth practices, and inner life transitions like becoming a whole adult.

2)      Social Sustainability encompasses a set of values and practices that build healthy relationships and a healthy culture.   It is based on an understanding that if we don’t learn to honor our differences, trust in our friendships, express our feelings peacefullytipibg, and collaborate effectively, we can’t co-create healthy persons or a healthy environment.   It includes familiar concepts such as trust building and effective teamwork, and extends out to non-violent communication, community service, forms of gover
nance, and more.

3)      Ecological Sustainability encompasses a set of ethics, practices and technologies that reintegrate humans
with the natural environment they rely on.   It is based on an understanding that if we don’t care for the Earth’s ecological systems that support us and all life,  we won’t have a future for our children.   It includes familiar concepts such as ecological footprints, carrying capacity, energy conservation and recycling, and extends out to sustainable technologies, natural building, organic gardening, waste management, etc.

 


 

Come adventure with us!  We encourage a flexible, “learner-centered” approach, where we can harness the power of students’ initiatives and choices, and then guide students deeper than they knew they could go.  We call them “adventures” because they actively challenge students to approach the edges of their comfort zones, where the real learning occurs.  And it’s not just students that take something home with them; teachers are also empowered to continue our techniques or projects at their home schools. We empower young people to become active and skilled leaders in their schools, families, and communities – paving the way for a more harmonious and ecologically conscious society.

 

“Our Junior High students came back raving about their time at Lost Valley. The community was incredibly welcoming and friendly.  People engaged with our students in such authentic and caring ways, asking questions and conversing with them as whole human beings, not just “visiting students.”  Community members generously shared their knowledge and skills with us, provided planned and impromptu lessons, invited us over for tea parties, and did everything they could to make this a wonderful experience for us.  The camping area and outdoor kitchen were great places to stay and students loved playing in the meadow, the river, and especially with the buddies and chickens.  They are already asking when we will be able to go back!  This is a special place and we all (students, staff, and parents) felt lucky to be able to spend time there!”
Adelaide, teacher at Sequoyah School, Pasadena California.