Summer Program for High School Students Combines Adventure Travel to South America with Sustainability Education
Brooklyn, NY, April 18th, 2013 – Sustainable Summer, a new summer abroad program for high school students, will launch its first programs this June in the South American country Ecuador. The programs will provide teens from across the US with an immersion experience that combines outdoor adventure, leadership development, and environmental education. Sustainable Summer is run by the not-for-profit Sustainable Learning, which specializes in experience-based environmental education programs for teenagers.
Sustainable Learning was founded in June 2012 by Jeff Sharpe and Anne Fenton. Mr. Sharpe and Ms. Fenton both have extensive experience in the pre-college enrichment field.
Sustainable Summer is initially offering two programs for Summer 2013, each framed around a specific sustainability theme: a 3-week program from June 28 to July 19 focused on food and agriculture in Ecuador’s coast and highlands regions, and a 2-week program from July 19 to August 2 focused on natural resource management in the Amazon rainforest.
The programs are designed for students between the ages of 15 and 18 with a strong interest in learning about environmental sustainability. Programs feature 3 adult trip leaders, approximately 10-20 students, and blend field activities with expert-led workshops and discussions. For example, the food and agriculture program combines academic instruction on topics like the global food production system with practical instruction in organic farming techniques.
Sustainable Summer, which also counts the owner of a study abroad company and professors from Dartmouth College and Vanderbilt University on its board, represents an ambitious response to the dearth of sustainability-focused options in the summer enrichment learning market.
“If you’re a high school student and you want to travel to the developing world to do community service for a couple of weeks in the summer, you’ve got hundreds of options at a range of price points,” says Sustainable Summer Co-Founder and President Jeff Sharpe. “But none of these organizations is teaching ecology — or the social, political, and economic dimensions of sustainability — in a structured way. Our goal is to prepare teenagers to be future environmental leaders in their communities and around the world through intensive, but fun environmental education summer programs in some truly exciting destinations.”
Sustainable Summer is currently accepting applications online at www.sustainablesummer.org and participants should plan on applying before May 1st to ensure availability. Tuition for programs starts at $1995 and financial aid is available.
The organization has plans to expand summer program offerings internationally and a “gap-year” program called Sustainable Semester is also planned for fall 2014 for high school graduates that are taking time off before college.
“Most Americans don’t know from where their energy, water, or food comes; yet our global society is on a path to a future where all of these resources will be in short supply,” adds Sharpe. “We need the next generation to become more ‘eco-literate’ to solve these critical issues. We want to make summers all about sustainability for high school students.”
Only 12% of Americans can pass a basic quiz on awareness of energy topics and “about 80% are heavily influenced by incorrect or outdated environmental myths,” according to the National Environmental Education Foundation. Yet only a small number of states have taken proactive steps to adopt curriculum and teacher standards related to sustainability education, despite the fact that climate change and other environmental issues are among the most critical public policy issues the US will face over the coming decades.
Sustainable Learning Inc. is a non-profit incorporated in the state of New York for the purpose of facilitating experience-based environmental education programs for teenagers. Sustainable Summer is an environmentally-focused summer abroad program for teenagers.
For more information, visit www.sustainablesummer.org or contact Anne Fenton at 646-504-5046, or email Anne at anne at sustainablesummer.org.