Weekend Education Retreat

Hands-on Sustainability and Living Systems Long Weekend (Thursday Afternoon – Sunday afternoon) designed for students in 6-8th grade, and adaptable for high school. Structure and timing can be adapted based on the needs or interests of the group

Program includes:
Games: Icebreaker activities, ecological demonstration games, team building challenges, free play on playground
Stories: Mythologies as an introduction to living harmoniously with nature, bonfire with stories
Technology: Tour of Cambia’s systems, including food systems, composting systems, insect production, water filtration pond, wood fired hot tub, solar hot water
Science: Static models of ecological footprint, natural building, alternative energy, and lifestyle choices; Interactive, dynamic models of water cycle, erosion, geology
Philosophy: Nature connection and mindfulness practice
Art: Tour of art installations and opportunity to create art or handicraft.
Hands on work: Contribution to a natural building project.



  • Arrive at Rustling Roots (1-2pm)
  • Icebreaker Activities (2-2:30pm)
  • Introduction to Sustainability (2:30-3pm)
  • Storytelling
    • Story of ‘What is Cambia’
    • Mythological story of earth-centered interdependence and later resource depletion
    • Story of community and human-scale societies
  • Trophic tag game (4- 5pm)
  • Nature Walk and Journaling (5-6pm)
  • Dinner (6:30pm)
  • Evening Activity (7:30-9pm)


  • Breakfast (8am)
  • Tour of Sustainable Technologies: (9-10am)
    • Water filtration/ecology, biosand filter for drinking water, rainwater catchment, solar cooking/hot water, rocket mass heater, composting toilet, geothermal air conditioner, wood fired hot tub
  • Introduction to Food Systems (10 – 11am)
    • Permaculture/organic farming, building soil, gardens, food and seed production, fruit and nut trees, free-range laying hens, canning, dehydrator, compost
  • Lunch prep/food preservation/recipes (11am-12pm)
  • Lunch (12:30pm)
  • Play on playground or free time (1pm-2pm)
  • Static models: (2-4pm)
  • Introduction to Ecological Footprint, Sustainability
    • Little Land: A visual and tangible representation of the average American’s land and resource-use footprint scaled to Lego-person size (1:40)
    • Barbie’s Ecovillage: Barbie scaled (1:6) natural building, passive solar design, mini alternative energy models
    • Carbon Balance: Comparing ecological footprint of various lifestyle and consumer choices
  • Nature Connection: (4pm-6pm)
    • Nature walk including learning about the local ecology
    • Finding a sit-spot in nature & journaling
  • Dinner (6:30pm)
  • Bonfire (8-10pm)


  • Breakfast (8am)
  • Team building/trust challenges (9-10am)
  • Learn about Dynamic models: (10am-12pm)
    • Atmospheric Model: uses a CO2 meter in a closed system with plants to demonstrate photosynthesis, respiration of plants and gives opportunity to experiment with creating a balanced atmospheric system.Hydrological Model: how water interacts with the land. How and why to slow water, the role of plants, the spread of fertility / pollution, desertification, erosion, and geology
  • Lunch (12:30pm)
  • Play on playground or free time (1-2pm)Intro to Community Anthropology and Cooperation (2 – 3:30pm)
  • DIY Crafts Workshop (4 – 6pm)
    • Weaving/woodworking/basket making
  • Dinner (7pm)
  • Night Hike & Stories (7-9pm)


  • Breakfast (8am)
  • Work contribution to a natural building project (9am-12pm)
  • Lunch (12pm)
  • Sharing personal stories/take aways (1-2pm)
  • Goodbyes

Food and Meals:
All meals are vegetarian. Snacks will also be provided.

Short Description
Hands-on Sustainability and Living Systems Long Weekend: Program for 6-8th graders. Enrollment: 6 – 14 students.

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