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Reconnecting children and youth to nature so they can build peaceful and regenerative communities

OpEPA - Bringing Nature into Learning

location_on Colombia
OpEPA centers on the advancement of nature-based and regenerative education, heritage interpretation, and weaving. Using a holistic approach to learning, we activate students' regenerative capacity by creating integral (academic, emotional, and experiential) learning experiences that allow students to start realizing and embodying their interconnected and interrelated self.
Luis Camargo, Founder & Director, OpEPA
To move forward into a thriving future, we must facilitate learning experiences to fall back in love with nature and fall back in flow with life.

Luis Camargo, Founder & Director, OpEPA


HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.
Key figures

Innovation Overview

Target Group
130 000
Updated on October 14th, 2021
about the 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.


See this innovation in action

Living Maps
Based on the concept of emotional mapping, OpEPA created with the Red Cerros (which we co-lead), a living maps program for Outdoor Classroom Day (UnitedWay Colombia).This tools was aimed to help parents and educators during COVID-19 virtual schooling to guide students in an exploration of their indoor-outdoor, self-community-nature that allows to awaken empathy and awareness of the intrinsic emotional value of nature in the home, neighbourhood, and city.
Students connected by the mountains of Bogotá
OpEPA is one of the creators of the Cerros de Bogotá School Network (Red de Colegios Cerros de Bogotá). This initiative connects more than 100 public and private schools through the nature of the city.
Aprendiendo de ciencia ciudadana y educación basada en la naturaleza - Marymount muy verde | Colegio Marymount Bogotá
Taking into account that in the coming months the forest restoration process will be carried out around the new preschool and primary school building, the Marymount seeks that its forest serve as a pedagogical tool, allowing the entire community to benefit from what nature can offer us.
'Entornos de Aprendizaje que están transformando la educación' con Luis Alberto Camargo
We believe that learning environments are only classrooms, but when we understand that they also have to do with the space, context and teaching culture, we realize that designing these spaces well will allow us to transcend and take education to the next level .In the first Santillana Plus Virtual Forum of the year, we will explore the details of the learning environments that are transforming education, the construction of creative or maker spaces, and the integration of nature within these environments.
Conectados a la Tierra desde pequeños - Ruta Maestra
Early education is much more serious than we think. During the first years of life we establish the neural and mental structures that allow us to build solid, meaningful, and deep relationships with others and with nature.
Liderando el cambio más allá de la sostenibilidad - Ruta Maestra
At a critical time on the planet, where man-made changes are affecting the balance of life systems, the need to accelerate the change of direction is imminent.
Caminando hacia la educación basada en la naturaleza - Ruta Maestra
In this article Luis Alberto Camargo, Executive Director of OPEPA, raises how alternative pedagogies are a powerful tool to achieve strong relationships between human beings and their ecosystem.
La OpEPA: Reconección con la tierra
Semana Educación: Special: 40 transforming education.
Entrevista en la Película Futur simple (espanol)
Salida de la película Futur simple ! OpEPA y School Trotters.
"We need a wave of people who transform this world into a healthy world"
Inspiring conversations are brief interviews with people who are leading the change in education. Some insights from these interviews will be part of the Film "Searching For Superman" for 2021. This time we talk with Luis Alberto Camargo, founder and director of OpEPA (Organization for Education and Environmental Protection), a non-profit organization constituted in Colombia whose work focuses on the development of projects and collaborative social entrepreneurship in order to reconnect children and young people with the Earth to act in an environmentally responsible way.Three years travel around Europe searching for inspiring educational projects and schools to connect people and experiences with the aim of inspiring and growing change makers all over the world:
Un emprendedor social nos muestra el camino para reconectarnos con la naturaleza.
"Taking care of our environment is taking care of ourselves": Luis Alberto Camargo. A social entrepreneur shows us the way to reconnect with nature.
Educación basada en la naturaleza: aprender lejos de los salones y las ciudades contaminadas
Luis Camargo, social entrepreneur and leader of global change, is a pioneer in an educational method that seeks to generate ecological awareness in children by creating deep links with natural environments.


Achievements & Awards

November 2020
Innovation page created on
October 2011
NOLS Alumni Achievement Award
January 2008
Young Global Leader 2008

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