The Resilient Schools Program supports public school districts serving vulnerable populations in designing long-term ecological, economic and bio-cultural resilience into their curricula, campus and community. We believe in the power of educational institutions – incubators of the next generation of leaders and systems designers – to serve as community hubs for ecological literacy, intergenerational engagement and cross-sectoral collaboration of interdependent stakeholders co-designing their own thriving community in the context of climate disruption.
2015 Resilient Schools Training participating districts from Los Angeles Unified, Sacramento City Schools, Calaveras County & Carmel Valley gathered at OAEC to develop their Resilient Action Plans.
Resilient schools are where education, communities and ecosystems thrive. Imagine your local public school as a model of sustainability that cultivates resilience-thinking across the community through living learnscapes deeply integrated with rigorous curricula. Efficient, renewable energy sources; hydrologically literate water management; school garden and local farm meals made from scratch in the cafeteria; zero-waste; and low carbon emission transportation. And students are the designers and operators of all of the systems! Schools can achieve these goals through community organizing: we gather stakeholders of your community together to engage in democratic decision–making, creative fundraising and participatory systems design to meet the academic, economic and climate needs of a resilient community for generations to come.
Since 1994, OAEC has supported school districts to establish the foundation for school-based Resilient Community Design through ecological literacy in school gardens. We have trained and supported teams from 300 schools and over 1,000 educators – reaching over 100,000 students annually – throughout the nation to establish place-based, ecological literacy programs in living learnscapes.
As we navigate a just transition through climate disruption, OAEC’s Resilient Schools Program supports whole communities to cultivate a reverential relationship with place – whether you find yourself in an urban context, suburban sprawl, a rural community or anywhere in between.
As we are all interconnected to place and natural systems, the intentional exploration of our relationships to our home leads to an increased capacity for supporting local people, places and systems. By cultivating “ecoliteracy” – the understanding of our relationship to place – across sectors, regions and generations, we foster community resilience: the capacity to thrive in response to changing conditions over time.
Learn about OAEC’s Resilient Community Design methodology >