H.O.P.E. for Ecological Literacy

What is HOPE?



Hands-on Outdoor Place-based Education.

H.O.P.E. engages head, heart and hands in reflective inquiry in nature, while cultivating critical thinking skills.

H.O.P.E.  is a culturally relevant pedagogy that builds on experience.

H.O.P.E is using the environment as a foundational context for education. When educators weave nature into the curriculum, students gain the opportunity to develop an understanding of and respect for the global ecological community. 

H.O.P.E. offers a platform for service learning, develops leadership skills and provides opportunities for discovering solutions to local and global challenges to biodiversity and affiliated social justice issues.

Origins of HOPE



Chief Seattle's Thoughts

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us….

So, we will consider your offer to buy our land. But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us. This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you the land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father….

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children that we have taught our children that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves….

This we know; the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Chief Seattle 1854

Threads of HOPE




“From the freedom to explore comes the joy of learning. From knowledge acquired by personal initiative arises the desire for more knowledge. And from mastery of the novel and beautiful world awaiting every child comes self-confidence.”

— E.O. Wilson

“An environment-based education movement–at all levels of education–will help students realize that school isn’t supposed to be a polite form of incarceration, but a portal to the wider world.”

― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

“First, all education is environmental education. By what is included or excluded, students are taught that they are part of or apart from the natural world.”

“No institutions in modern society are better equipped to catalyze the necessary transition to a sustainable world than colleges and universities. They have access to the leaders of tomorrow and the leaders of today. What they do matters to the wider public.”

— David Orr



People Protect what they love.

They love what they value.

They value what they  understand.

Understanding is a function of relationship. 

Relationship is rooted in  experience.

HOPE provides youth the opportunity  to explore and experience their role as citizens of diverse local ecological communities so they may  know, understand, love and serve as stewards of all earth communities. 

How do we Create HOPE?



H.O.P.E. for ecological literacy is a pedagogy that cultivates the desire and skills for effective stewardship, demonstrates how the Laws of Thermodynamics interface with our choices and creates opportunity for every child to embrace the Law of Unity first-hand.

Through active participation in environment-based education, reflective inquiry and experience in cooperative problem solving, H.O.P.E. empowers youth with the knowledge that they can make a difference in the world and prepares them with the tools to exercise that knowledge.

H.O.P.E. is a process of discovery through which students embrace a lifetime of creative investigation and an existence based on respect for life upon the planet.





“For decades, Gerald Lieberman has been at the forefront of environment-based learning. The concept, which has acquired several names over the years, is essentially this: children and young people learn best when their time in the classroom is augmented by experiences in the wider community…

Gerald  Lieberman’s ongoing work underscores the right of a whole child to feel and be fully alive.”

— Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

The Law of Unity  ~  Everything and everyone is connected, all our actions have consequences, all consequences are cumulative.