Rough-and-ready notes – updated 01 May 2018. Had I more time, the following would have been a shorter list… or a wiki, or a peer-reviewed database. If you know of a better-organised resource, please let me know – and I’ll hand this content over to them.

Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed (STRAW) (USA)

An award-winning watershed education program called Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed (STRAW) that started in 1992 as the Shrimp Club in Laurette Rogers’ 4th grade classroom. Today, STRAW coordinates and sustains a network of teachers, students, restoration specialists and other community members to plan and implement watershed studies and restoration projects in Marin, Sonoma, Solano and Napa counties.

Journal Of Sustainability Education

School Garden Certificate Programme

The Blencathra Centre (UK)

An award winning environmental education field centre on the southern slopes of Blencathra in the Lake District. Tweets by Tim Foster.


Outdoor Kindergarten, Norway

Children must have at least one full day outside per week in Norway – where it’s also it’s illegal to make money from education.

United World Colleges

UWC schools and colleges all over the world deliver a challenging and transformational educational experience to a deliberately diverse group of young people, inspiring them to become agents of positive change.

Wiston Lodge, Scotland, Certified Leave No Trace Awareness Training

As increasing numbers of people seek the beauty and exhilaration of outdoor recreation, our collective mark on the environment and its natural processes, increases. Litter, disturbance to vegetation, water pollution, impacts on wildlife, livestock and other people are all indicators of the need to develop an outdoor ethic that protects both natural and cultural heritage.


WWOOF organisations connect people who want to live and learn on organic farms and smallholdings with people who want to share their lifestyles, teach new skills and welcome volunteer help. There are places in Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Oceania.

Lotan Center for Creative Ecology – Kibbutz Lotan, Eilat

“A young community situated in the Arava Desert in the south of Israel. ” Our economy is based on date plantations, dairy, tourism, holistic health center, field crops, mariculture and various professions held by members who work outside of the kibbutz. Presently we number 55 adult members and around 60 children”.

Yestermorrow Design/Build School, Vermont

Over 150 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design. 1-day to 2-week hands-on courses are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional.

Pishwanton – Life Science Trust, Gifford, East Lothian, Scotland

The Pishwanton Wood Project is a place of learning set in 60 acres of semi-woodland at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills in East Lothian. Its work is inspired by the methodology pioneered by the German poet, playwright and natural scientist, J. W. v. Goethe whose work in integrating science and art points the way towards a more holistic understanding and sense of connection with nature.

La Via Campesina, Agroecology Training In Africa

Masvingo District, Zimbabwe: “We are 47 people from 22 organizations in 18 countries (Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Central African Republic, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Portugal, USA, France, and Germany)”. Farmers and staff represent member organizations of La Via Campesina and its allies.


Ecological games reviewed and tested

Environmental Literacy in Maryland

Maryland is the first US state to require multi-disciplinary environmental literacy education as a high school graduation requirement. Governor Martin O’Malley called the law a “defining moment for education” in his state.

Outdoor Classrooms, by Carolyn Nuttall and Janet Millington (book)

For teachers and home educators who want to incorporate outdoor education at all levels of the school curriculum, with an emphasis on: setting up vegetable gardens; teaching children about growing food; economic concerns; human and planetary health and future sustainability
Not strictly speaking an alternative to university – but distance learning, so just eligible. Its holistic approach recognizes the importance of both the social and biophysical dimensions of environmental restoration.

(insights from a design firm)

What is education for? “Since the advent of the Industrial Age and its universal, place-blind culture, we are increasingly losing the ability to develop and maintain appropriate relations with place. We have, “fallen out of place” and are losing or have lost the once inherent capacity to understand and then establish right relationships, to put ourselves “back in place.”x Learning how to restore the value and the capability for inhabitancy is the creative challenge and opportunity facing independent schools.”

Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education (book by David Sobel)

“What’s important is that children have an opportunity to bond with the natural world, to learn to love it, before being asked to heal its wounds.” Beyond Ecophobia speaks to teachers, parents, and others interested in nurturing in children the ability to understand and care deeply for nature from an early age.

Into the Field: A Guide to Locally Focused Learning (book)

Into the Field provides teachers with curriculum ideas for taking their students out of doors, with the nuts and bolts details of how one gets started.

Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms & Communities (book by David Sobel)

The most comprehensive review of place-based education – its pedagogy and its practice – yet to appear, by the author of the highly influential book Beyond Ecophobia. Sobel celebrates teachers who emphasize the connection of school, community, and environment.

Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators David Sobel (book)

Noted educator David Sobel makes the case that meaningful connections with the natural world don’t begin in the rainforest or arctic, but in our own backyards and communities. Based on his observations of recurrent play themes around the world, Sobel articulates seven design principles that can guide teachers in structuring learning experiences for children. 7411-0

Stories in the Land: A Place-Based Environmental Education Anthology (book)

Expanding Children’s Food Experiences: The Impact of a School-Based Kitchen Garden Program (book)

Ecoliteracy – Getting Started: 50 page guide

Ecology Imagination in Childhood , by Edith Cobb (book)

She sees the child to be innately connected with the natural world. Inner powers alone do not further the imagination. Her book remains an important philosophical meditation on the importance of children’s deep experience of nature to their adult cognition and psychological well-being.

Escolas Transformadoras (Transformational Schools)

Cieja Campo Limpo

Amorim Lima e Politeia, Sao Paulo

CPCD, MInsa Gerais, Brazil

Escuelas Experimentales, Provb da terra do Fogo, Argentina

Quest To Learn, NYC

North Star, Massachusetts

YIP, Jarna, Sweden

Team Academy, Basque, Spain

Schumacher College

Sustainability Institute, Stelenbosch, South Africa

Riverside School, Gujarat, India

Green School, Bali

Wilderness Awareness / Coyote Guide

“Our ancestors’ children didn’t go to school: School surrounded them. Nature was a living teacher. There were many relatives for every child and every relative was a mentor. Stories filled the air, games and laughter filled the days, and ceremonies of gratitude filled mundane lives”. This Guide passes on this method of invisible schooling, so that people will connect with nature without knowing it. They’ll soak up the language of plants and animals as naturally as any of us learned our native language.

Childrens Permaculture Resource Network

A clearing house of Permaculture-related print material, online resources, history, and support to further expand the network of childhood education. Topics include Permaculture, Primitive Skills, Gardening, DIY, and Self-Sufficiency among others.

Ecoliterate. How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence (book)

Includes a Professional Development Guide and Exploration of Five Practices of Engaged Ecoliteracy

Richard Louv Field Guide (lots of useful links)

Sections on: Creating a Restorative Home & Garden; Creating a Natural Health Care System for Your Family and Community; Be a Citizen Naturalist; Know Who You Are by Knowing Where You Are; Creating Restorative Neighborhoods and Cities; Urban Agriculture and the New Agrarians; Natural Teachers and Restorative Schools; Strengthen Family and Community Bonding Through Nature; The Nature Principle in Business

Exploring a Sense of Place (Guidebook)

Provides the means by which people anywhere on Earth can reconnect to the natural world where they live. ESP began in 2001, inspired by Wendell Berry’s observation, “You can’t know who you are until you know where you are.” ESP helps people know where they are through its leadership training and local courses in several bioregions.

Natural Play (Forestry Commission, Scotland)

By Leslie Groves with Hugh McNish.
Natural play within school grounds was piloted by Forestry Commission Scotland at Merrylee primary school in partnership with Glasgow City Council (GCC) as part of its efforts to allow children to play and interact with trees and the natural environment on a daily basis.

Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning: Using the Outdoors as an Instructional Tool (book)

How-to advice on using school grounds and natural areas beyond the campus as outdoor classrooms, including lessons and activities for teaching content and developing skills in experiencing, observing, and learning from nature. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, 2007.

Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation (book)

An extensively illustrated tour of innovative schoolyard projects around the world, including edible gardens, wildlife habitats, rainwater catchment systems, energy generation projects, and creative play areas, with advice, technical resources, ideas and frameworks that can be adapted to a variety of settings. Danks, Sharon Oakland: New Village Press, 2010.

Teaching the Food System

From the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, this free downloadable curriculum for high school teachers covers food system topics from field to plate for today’s modern classroom. The curriculum, developed by former teachers and content experts, emphasizes the relationships among food, public health, equity and the environment.

Guide to Education for Sustainability

The estimable Vermont Guide to Education for Sustainability reflects the changing field of education for sustainability and shares new strategies learned by the Sustainable Schools Project. Shelburne Farms’ Sustainable Schools Project Shelburne, VT, 2011. Download at

Muir Ranch (Pasadena, CA, USA)

A community of student farmers at John Muir High School in Pasadena, California. Muir Ranch is sponsored by the Pasadena Educational Foundation.!/Cocoxochitl

School Garden ABCs

A forum for parents, educators and community members seeking guidance, resources, fundraising, networking and teaching support to start and maintain learning gardens. Infiormation on books, grants, tools, lesson plans and more. Run by freelance writer Anne Nagro of Gurnee.

Farm To School (USA)

Connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.

Meet The Trees Foundation (North Carolina)

Take Me Fishing (National Parks) // Credo | Mobilize // Illinois Young Birders // Rise // //
Discover The Forest // Center for Snake Conservation // North Carolina Children and Nature Coalition
Wildwoods Foundation

Minnesota Environmental Education Association

Serves environmental education professionals, students, K-12 educators, and supporters of EE in Minnesota through: an annual conference; acknowledging successful EE programs and professionals; supporting legislation that advances EE at the state and federal level; sharing resources among its members (blog)

Rustic Pathways

Travel and service programs for students and families in some of the world’s most welcoming countries. Rustic Pathways “enrich the lives of our students and our staff, benefit the parts of the world we serve, and build cultural bridges that lead to greater global understanding and cooperation”.

Aero Education Revolution (AERO) (many pertinent links)

Indralaya (USA)

A sanctuary of natural beauty and peace located on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. The internship structure is based on the theosophical premise that a well-balanced life includes elements of study, meditation & service. Interns are also mentored in practical life skills including office administration, building maintenance, organic gardening, grounds maintenance, kitchen management and vegetarian meal preparation.$950

Liberated Learners

Liberated Learners helps teenagers use self-directed learning in a network of closely related projects across the country and around the world. The primary goal is to support teenagers feeling trapped in school to use homeschooling as a mechanism to stop attending school.

Pono Learning

An independent, democratic, and outdoor center for children set up with the purpose of immersing children in stimulating environments and harmonious learning communities

Rethinking Everything

A diverse community of re-thinkers from around the globe who challenge conventional views of education, work, parenting, marriage, birth, death, and life.

Global Village School

An international distance learning school. Global Village School offers a progressive, accredited, customizable K-12 homeschooling program via online and text-based curriculum, complete with individualized teacher services. Our Whole Child, Healthy Planet K8 curriculum guides and our high school homeschool diploma courses integrate peace, justice, and diversity studies with the core subjects.

No Child Left Inside (NCLI)

The No Child Left Inside® Coalition is composed of environmental, educational, and public health organisations, businesses, civic organisations and other public enterprises, all dedicated to ensuring a comprehensive education for all.

Backyard Nature for Children (India)

In Kerala, K B JInan runs nature sensitization courses for young children that reawaken the aesthetic sense we are born with. There is no classroom teaching. The children spend their time searching for medicinal plans, making whistles out of leaves, and story-telling

Project Nature Connect (Institute of Global Education)

Real School Gardens (USA)

Tree People (USA)

Has worked with over 4,000 schools and reached over 150,000 students with unique environmental education approach.

Oklahoma Green Teachers

School Garden Wizzard (Chicago Botanic Garden)

Nourish (USA)

An educational initiative that opens a meaningful conversation about food and sustainability in schools and communities. To inform and inspire the largest number of people, Nourish combines PBS television, curriculum resources, web content, short films, and teacher and youth seminars. To maximize the effectiveness of Nourish, WorldLink is collaborating with more than 50 organizations to create a sustainable food future.

Cloud Institute (USA)

Transforms the evolving thinking and skills of the most important champions of sustainability into educational materials and a pedagogical system that inspires young people to think about the world, their relationship to it, and their ability to influence it in an entirely new way.

Phipps Conservatory (USA)

Meaningful connections with the natural world don’t begin in the rainforest or arctic, but in our own backyards and communities. At the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, urban naturalist Molly Steinwald is reimagining environmental education in this spirit. Steinwald’s basic assumption is that the natural world is crawling past you on the sidewalk or drifting through the air right under your nose.

Ecoliteracy Training for Teachers (Turkey)

In Turkey, hundreds of teachers across the country are being certified as ecoliteracy instructors in a programme that spans subjects from soil erosion to ethical forestry. Their classroom is an arboretum. Sponsored by the Ministry of Education and the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, Reforestation, and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA), the project aims to certify 300 teachers over the next four years. The place is called Yalova Karaca Arboretum. and TEMA education Director Ms B Akyuz via @yesilekran may be a good start. TEMA/

Jungle School, UAE

The Liwa International School located in “the Garden City” is the first in the Middle East to develop a living, breathing “green” wall.

Center for Ecoliteracy (USA)

The Center for Ecoliteracy brings together inspiring educators, scientists, artists, and activists for residential seminars that explore a new model of education that connects emotional, social, and ecological intelligence.

Ecology Center of San Francisco

Introducing Permaculture, natural building, and lots of other cool things to kids. Their website contains many resources.

Natural Teachers Network

Natural Teachers Network shares access to regularly updated research, tools, activities and resources. Research connecting nature to education; download the C&NN report, Children’s Contact With the Outdoors and Nature: A Focus on Educators and Educational Settings. [PDF]

Green Teacher magazine

available in English, Spanish, and French, and the Learning with Nature Idea Book, published by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Project Learning Tree and Project WILD (USA)

Professional resource programs, tie nature-oriented concepts to all major school subjects, requirements, and skill areas. The National Environmental Education and Training Foundation’s Classroom Earth maintains a directory of environmental education programs and resources for K-12 teachers, parents, and students.

National Wildlife Refuge (USA)

Offers teacher training and other educational opportunities.

National Audubon Society (USA)

To green your schoolyard, look at programs such as Evergreen in Canada, and National Wildlife Federation’s Schoolyard Habitats. Check out the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide.

National Wildlife Federation Eco-School (USA)

Pathways to help schools become an Eco-School.Consider initiating or supporting nature-based public, charter, or independent K-12 schools that place community and direct experience in nature at the center of the curriculum.

Antioch’s Center for Place-based Education (USA)

Partnerships between students, teachers, and community members that strengthen and support student achievement, community vitality, and a healthy environment.

Food Tank: 14 Initiatives Educating Youth About Agriculture (USA)

By Danielle Nierenberg and Katie Work. According to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, in the United States alone, elementary school students only receive an average of 3.4 hours of food education per year. But there is hope…

Edible Schoolyard Project (USA)

Kids are excited to get involved in building gardens, like the one that began the Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley, California. Co-founded 17 years ago by Alice Waters, famous chef and Vice-President of Slow Food International, the project brings together students, teachers, parents, and community members to to grow more than 100 varieties of crops. The schoolyard now boasts a chicken coop and two rainwater cisterns.

Farm Africa (Kenya)

A farm training program for rural Kenyan youth, growing vegetables, mushrooms, and passionfruit. Also teaches students how to get the best price at market and encourages them to get involved in local governance.

The FARM Institute (Martha’s Vineyard, USA)

The institute provides education about sustainable farming to children and adults. Located in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, the FARM Institute encourages experiential learning–kids learn by actively growing, preparing, and eating food on the farm.

The Farming Kindergarten (Vietnam)

The Farming Kindergarten in Dong Nai, Vietnam, is designed as a prototype of tropical sustainable education spaces. It provides food and agriculture experience and a safe outdoor playground to Vietnamese children in a suburb of Ho Chi Minh City.

Green Youth Farm (Chicago)

Every year, the Chicago-based Green Youth Farm hires 60 high school students from ages 15 to 18 to work from mid-May to mid-October on an organic farm, managing bees, selling produce at markets, and cooking with the produce they’ve grown.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Jamie Oliver’s organization has been drawing national attention to the problem of unhealthy school meals and the lack of food-related education children receive in school. Along with improving school meals, Oliver’s program has launched a network of community kitchens that provide cooking classes, in-school cooking lessons for kids, and support to parents lobbying schools for better food.

Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools (JFFLS)

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO), has programs in Kenya, Uganda, Antigua, and Barbuda in Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools as part of their “Strategic Plan for Youth Development/Involvement in Agriculture.” FAO and ILO aim to foster market demand for sustainable food while providing youth with tools to begin growing their own sustainable food.

Mexico Child Link

Provides a home for a small group of abandoned children and children with learning disabilities on a working farm. The children learn skills such as intercropping, animal husbandry, and cheese-making.

The Natwani Coalition (Arizona)

Gets Native American children involved with traditional Hopi dry-farming practices, including a video-based curriculum and several school gardens. Students from the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health are also starting community gardens and school gardens on a Navajo reservation.


A website dedicated to seeds, biodiversity, and food, features an interactive map that shows seed diversity, threats to the planet’s biodiversity, and solutions. Kids and adults can look at the site to learn about the state of agro-biodiversity all over the world.

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Puerto Rico
Grants and education program advances agricultural innovation that promotes profitability, stewardship of the land, air and water, and quality of life for farmers, ranchers and their communities. This year’s projects included “Weed Management and Nematode Communities in Organic Coffee Farms of Puerto Rico” and “Internship on Mapping Sustainable Farm Systems: An experiential introduction to sustainable agriculture.”

Sprouting Healthy Kids (Texas)

The Sustainable Food Center brings gardens and fresh produce to 22 schools throughout central Texas. Sprouting Healthy Kids serves fresh fruits and vegetables in school, teaches classroom lessons about food systems, and provides after-school gardening and cooking programs.

The Sylvia Center (New York)

The Sylvia Center, based in New York, teaches children about sustainable food production. Cooking classes are hosted in New York City, and at Katchkie Farm in Columbia County, a 60-acre organic farm, students learn how to grow, harvest, and cook fresh produce.

Pachamama Alliance / Connecting Children With Nature

Environmental Education Week (USA)

Since its inception in 2005, EE Week has reached millions of students and educators across the United States with non-biased, high-quality, environmental education materials grounded in accurate, timely scientific information and tied to local, state and national learning standards.

Classroom Earth

Close To Home (Bay Area)
Inner City Outings

Schoolyard Habitat Program (USA)

Avalon (Alta Garrotxam, Gerona, Spanish Pyrenees)

Inspired by the ancestral Vision Quest rite of passage tradition, Create Your Quest is an invitation for you to “become silent, listen and reconnect with a deep understanding of your life’s purpose. This age-old practice serves to help discover what you are here for, what you can give and above all gain direction and power for life”.

Grail (South Africa)

Training for Transformation, designed for community development workers, is founded on the philosophy that there is need for a new generation of leaders in development who are self-motivated and whose thinking and practice is grounded in communities’ realities. Training for Transformation recognizes the importance of linking local and national initiatives to the global civic movement.

TEACHING DRUM SCHOOL (Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest) (CANADA)

The school’s mission is to function as a bridge to the wisdom and lifeway skills of our native ancestors (which we call the Old Way), that we may reconnect with our intrinsic selves and relearn how to live honorably and respectfully with each other and the earth. The Wilderness Guide, Guardian Training, and Wild Moon wilderness living experiences of their kind were created because the modern way of life has isolated us from the Earth, each other, and our intrinsic selves.

Ecoraiz (Mexico)

Top thinkers in their fields develop workshop-expeditions.

School in the Forest (UK)

Forest School Association Conference

Mycelium School (USA)

The mycelium organism is the root system of mushrooms; an underground network that connects to the roots of plants and trees and distributes nutrients and information to support the health of the whole ecosystem. This adaptive, pro-health organism is a teacher for us as we ask, “How can humans more successfully interact with each other in ways that nourish ourselves, each other and the world.”

Education Scotland

15 Scottish delegates from Learning and Teaching Scotland’s Scottish Continuing International Professional Development (SCIPD) group were in Norway to investigate Outdoor learning in Arctic Norway with the aim of applying aspects of what we have learned to improve practice in Scottish schools and early years settings.

Long Green House (Maine)

A cross-cultural partnership for regeneration of social and ecological networks and webs, involving the Anikwom WholeLife Center, UMaine Permaculture Club, and Still Water Lab at UMaine. LongGreenHouse weaves together indigenous culture, permaculture, and digital culture in this bioregion based on the intersection of evolutionary wisdom, natural patterns, and social networking. LongGreenHouse includes a multi-age integrated homeschool, Wassookeag, based on an experiential and ecological curriculum; operates a Permaculture research lab for UMaine graduate and undergrads; develops and implements protocol for Longhouse living in partnership with Wabanaki elders; and develops global social networks with state-of-the-art network technologies.

Living Education Group

Formal educational processes such as schools but also community revitalization. Facilitate processes that enable colleges and universities to integrate sustainable philosophy, practices, programs, and structures throughout the organization so education becomes responsive to the emerging potential for transforming the world.

Echoing Seeds – Central America

A year long international program bringing together 18 to 25 year olds from first and third world countries. Through learning about organic farming, indigenous building, language, and philanthropic work students will not only learn about themselves but will be empowered and required to create a project that adds value to their community or the community in which the school resides.

Alternative Art Schools

Boulder Outdoor Survival School

The oldest and largest traditional living skills / survival school in the world. Since 1968, we have offered adventurous souls the chance to learn indigenous skills in an active, hands-on environment. Courses range from 3-28 days in length and take place in the spectacular landscape of Southern Utah.

Rural Education and Agroecology Rural School, Tenza Valley, Colombia

An alternative space, a community-based process of knowledge and dialogue, that is woven into the educational community regardless of academic qualifications in order to collectively develop knowledge and skills about agri-food and environmental problems of the region, proposing alternative organizational, production and improvement in the welfare of rural communities to strengthen cultural identity and territorial belonging.


School of Traditional Herbalism (Claudia Keel and Richard Mandelbaum) NYC


Partners with businesses to implement customized sabbatical programs that attract, retain, and accelerate top talent through personal and professional enrichment.

Conway School (USA)

Ten months of intensive, specialized graduate study that will prepare you to work as a designer/planner on important real-world projects by working on important, real-world projects—as a student, with the support of teachers who are seasoned professionals.

see also…

34 Alternatives to University or Design School in Europe

24 Alternatives to University and Design School in Africa and Australasia

50 Alternatives to University and Design School in the Americas & Canada

Journal Of Sustainability Education

School Garden Certificate Programme