Luis Camargo, Founder & Director, OpEPA
OpEPA - Bringing Nature into Learning
HundrED shortlisted this innovation
Why did you create this innovation?
Children are increasingly growing up in a world where nature and wilderness are mostly absent. Education does not empower building a healthy deep relation with the living system around us. As the planet moves closer to potential ecological and climate collapse, we realized the human-nature disconnect is a crucial aspect affecting our capacity to help the planet heal and regenerate.
How does your innovation work in practice?
Assume we want to build a future in which all life on the planet can thrive together. In that case, it is fundamental to provide children the learning environments to develop a deep and long-lasting relationship with nature. Through this process, they also strengthen their connections with others and with themselves. There are three pillars to this work: re-connect; awaken the naturalist within and embody action for regeneration.
We provide students access to nature in short to 35-day programs that combine academic knowledge, physical and experiential immersions in nature (awe), and socio-emotional learning. These experiences strengthen the students' capacity for critical systems thinking, empathy with nature, and empowerment for action (change-making).
Incorporating nature as an essential and powerful ally in education and working with a living systems approach facilitates breaking the barriers between humans and nature to allow students to start exploring "we are nature."
How has it been spreading?
We have focused on training educators to provide significant experiences to students. Our work has spread into many educational organizations and schools using our approach or parts of it. We are now developing and moving forward with teacher training programs that will directly provide teachers' skills and tools in Latin America to bring nature into the classroom and take classrooms into nature. Working with ally organizations, we are creating resources to share with and stimulate educators and families worldwide. These will help them incorporate nature learning experiences and shift education towards a more nature-based model that promotes activating children's regenerative capacity and fosters thriving relations with the self, others, and nature.
If I want to try it, what should I do?
To start including nature into your programs, allow yourself to deeply reconnect with nature, be inspired by and explore your sense of being and capacity for love. Go outside with your students, share this feeling with them, allow them to breathe, feel, and be in awe with the magic of nature.
Contact us and we will help you with ideas and tools you can use, or courses you can take.