Sustainable Settings’ Whole Systems Learning Center is an unprecedented effort in the inter-mountain West to provide an experiential learning environment for the cultivation of a sustainable future. By utilizing place as pedagogy and harvesting nature’s intelligence, the whole systems learning center offers a rich and dynamic context in which people are inspired to embrace integrated solutions for sustainable development.
The core elements of the whole systems learning center form a foundation from which learners of all ages experience and develop ways to live more sustainably.
These core elements are:
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Green Development
- Land Stewardship
- Art for Daily Life
- Education & Ecological Literacy
– Our educational programs are rooted in the concepts and methodologies of ecological literacy.
By teaching and learning within a whole-systems pedagogical framework that favors a symbiotic relationship between learning and locality, we seek to:
- Equip people with a basic understanding of systems and to develop habits of mind that seek out patterns that connect human and natural systems.
- Teach people the analytical skills necessary for thinking accurately about cause and effect.
- Give the practical competence necessary to solve local problems.
- Teach people the habit of rolling up their sleeves and getting down to work.
Our educational programs are open to people of all ages.
The rigors of our ecological literacy curriculum are appropriately geared toward the different age groups that we serve.
These programs include: adult internships, university partnerships, mentor/ apprenticeships, Sustainable Settings for kids, workshops, lecture series and our volunteer program. We believe that the coupling of concepts, theory and technique with practical hands-on experience, stimulates memory and anchors deep learning. At Sustainable Settings, learners of all ages are enriched, for example, by:
- Netting and identifying the diversity of wetland insect species
- Collaborating in the design and construction of a solar home
- Sniffing the rich compost while amending the garden
- Designing and planting perennial food forests
- Harvesting and sorting fresh garden produce for market delivery
- Observing bees pollinating the orchard blossoms
- Stacking & pinning straw bales while building the chicken coop
- Discovering the art and craft of collaborative design and project execution
These tangible experiences of patterns and connections form the underlying contextual web of meaning, knowledge, insight and relationship that is so critical to creating a holistic view – one that triggers sustainable choices in our daily life.