(A post by TIES alumna Kasey Errico)
I recently returned from a fall overnight experience with 17 adolescent learners. On our way from our campsite to the morning harvest, with the students in front of me, descending the hill toward the garden house of the Community Supported Garden (CSG) at Genesis Farm, I had a moment to pause and breathe in the feeling of interconnectedness and purpose that was unfolding before me.
What might it look like for adolescents to participate in a rich earth-centered curriculum, to increase their connection with the natural world? Perhaps one such possibility exists in this fall overnight experience at Genesis Farm, an ecological learning center and also home to The Community Supported Garden at Genesis Farm.
A collage of memories come to my mind as I consider the many moments that help make up the interconnected whole, such as:
- Harvesting and preparing food from the school garden
- Camping by a secluded pond
- Learning how the garden at the farm is a system with interdependent parts
- Harvesting some of the food that nourishes shareholders during the winter months
- Drawing connections between our experience and the cosmos
- Creative exercises, games, campfire stories and songs
- All the opportunities for reflections in nature and sharing those reflections
- Evening silent hikes by moon and starlight
- Feeding the chickens discarded greens from the field
- Celebration potluck back at school
While I do not know the long-term impact of such an experience, I do know I departed that day full of hope for the future.
In our role as educators, how might we envision and create other experiences that invite adolescents to engage in and develop a relationship with the natural world?
Symposium: Exploring Teaching and Learning with Adolescents
Schooling for sustainability is dedicated to creating experiences that lead to an emotional relationship with the natural world.
~Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi – The Systems View of Life