The Living Earth School

Offering immersive nature-based education programs in central Virginia for 20 years

Connect with Nature and Journey into the Heart
The Living Earth School draws from both ancient and modern wisdom to empower students in becoming better caretakers, mentors, and leaders. We help people connect with each other, and the natural world through meaningful relationships and experiences.

CHILDREN

TEENS

FAMILY

ADULT

NOW OFFERING!

DEEPER ROOTS immersion

A year that will last a lifetime.

This 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 outdoor 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 just 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.

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.

Homeschool Student M.
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.
Caroline P.

Watch a Video Intro to Living Earth Adult Programs:

Watch a Video Intro to Living Earth Summer Camps:

Support students connecting with nature at the Living Earth School:

Land Acknowledgement

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.

Living Earth School programs operate on the indigenous land of the Monacan People. The Monacan People experienced a violent forced removal from much of their original tribal lands that had provided abundant sustenance to their culture for thousands of years. We acknowledge that history, the impacts of colonization on their culture and native peoples across this country. We know the fight for the Monacan people continues – not only for their people being recognized, but for respect for their sacred sites, and their sovereign rights as a tribe.

We are grateful to be able to live on, learn from, and love this land along the Blue Ridge in the James River watershed that is the homeland of the Monacan People. We honor the Monacan people of the past and those that live here today for tending this land since time immemorial. We at LES know the first step is acknowledgement, but that means little if not followed by action. LES is on a journey of learning about the impacts of colonization, and how we as an organization play a part in its continual violence to human culture and dignity. As an organization, LES is committed to learning how to restore the landscape to the vitality that supports life, and supporting our neighbors the Monacan people.

We know we at LES have a responsibility to reckon, and reconcile, with the past to help right a wrong. There is no peace when one is oppressed.

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