The Living Earth School
Offering immersive nature-based education programs in central Virginia for 20 years
A year that will last a lifetime.
This nine-month gap year program is your time to dive deep into an earth-based curriculum, from wilderness survival skills, ecology, and ethical edible harvesting to community building, bird languages, and beyond. With nature as your classroom, you will learn what you value, what you love, and how to let that lead your life.
Importance of Living Earth School Programming
LES is best known for our fun nature-based education summer camps for kids and teens that go beyond a typical summer camp experience. We cultivate a culture at camp that builds community and fosters nature connection to a living earth, teaching kids about themselves, others, and the natural world through direct experiences. Our amazing instructors teach skills that relate directly to life – shelter, fire, water, food, awareness of our surroundings – we remind and show kids what is real. We teach kids to love nature by giving them time and experience in nature, without digital diversions or extraneous activities. Everything we do is geared to deepen our connection with each other and with the natural world around us.
Beyond summer, programs at the Living Earth School range from one-day workshops to weekly homeschool classes, weekend expedition trips, and long-term immersive courses for adults, all in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
You know mom, all the other programs you put me in, at least some of the kids don’t want to be there but their parents force them to go. The thing I’ve noticed about the Living Earth School is that everyone wants to be there.
The work you do is incredible. It is not just a fun week for our son, but an important part of shaping who he is, and an incredible support for the values and way of being that we care about. You make our work as parents easier – he wants to live off the land, he see greater possibilities, and cares more about connection to people than technology etc. (things that are unfortunately not so common for a 11 yr old american boy) This is an incredible camp, where our son feels at home in nature, is genuinely cared for and inspired by the great staff.
Watch a Video Intro to Living Earth Adult Programs:
Watch a Video Intro to Living Earth Summer Camps:
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The Living Earth School is located on the homeland of the Monacan people, now central Virginia, part of the James River watershed. Our main offices are based in Afton and Charlottesville, Virginia.