Educational Programs - La Duna Youth Leadership Program
Facing the undeniable environmental and social collapse of our times, we see our younger generations in the forefront of demanding change, and we want to support their efforts by offering a holding space, an incubator for knowledge, organization, and networking to help manifest and grow their own initiatives. It is essential to offer tools and inspiration to support a different type of relationship with both the Earth and amongst people: A relationship of mutual respect for all living beings, and of personal responsibility to lead our actions so they sustain life.
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"La Duna’s mission is to inspire the protection and restoration of the natural community through collaboration, scientific research, ecological practices, spirituality and art.”
La Duna is an incubator of community initiatives and we are looking into sustaining its mission. We maintain a tight collaboration with scientists and educators, who are training the community into more sustainable practices while creating an economic opportunity that supports their conservation efforts. Our collective mission contributes to the awareness of the importance of our re-connection to Nature, and the needed collaborative efforts for nature conservation and sustainability. By collaborating with Ana Karina Pelaez and her La Paz non-profit C. A. S. A. (Centro de Asesoría para La Sustentabilidad, A.C) we will create a science and environmental education place-based program called Un Aula Viviente (A living Classroom). The program activities transform la Duna into an outdoor classroom for science and sustainability for any visitor, but specially for the community of La Paz.
C. A. S. A.'s budget to run this program in 2020 is $15,000 dollars. The program is divided in two parts: the development of a placed based curriculum and materials, and selecting 5 young local university students to benefit from 6 month internships for training and outreach purposes. This core team of five interns will become our skillful ambassadors and guides to the rich biological and human diversity of the desert coastal dunes systems and marine environments for the community of La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico and beyond.
C.A.S.A., has already received grant donations from Mexican public sources in the amount of $5,000 dollars to achieve the first part objectives of the program. However, we will still need your help, this funding will not be enough to cover the second part of the program for 2020 and we still need to raise $10,000 dollars more to achieve these goals:
- Map the community around La Duna and help incorporate their resources and needs into our mission.
- Create a place based curriculum, activities and materials needed to propagate the Aula Viviente program at La Duna, incorporating Stephanie, Brandon, La Duna, and CASA programs
- Select a core group of 5 docents selected from senior students in local universities and other organized local youth groups to run an introductory two day training session on the Aula Viviente program
- A rich educational curriculum based at La Duna to help achieve its mission
- A well trained core group of 5 youth leaders with practical knowledge and tools to be effective docents and ambassadors of our education programs
- Promote and receive at least 5 organized community groups in 2020 invited and managed by our core youth leaders
- Be an exemplary community collaboration with positive tracked results
With your support, we will consolidate this collaborative relationship between citizens, businesses, artists, scientists, educators, community and tourists, to bring more awareness and participation into developing a sustainable future for our communities. We envision the expansion of our educational program beyond the La Paz community to others, including audiences abroad, in the years to follow.
Be Part of our Community. Your contribution is tax-deductible thanks to our fiscal sponsor SkyMountain Institute. Make a DONATION Today!
Meet our Collaborators!
Stephanie Rousso, Mexico's representative for Upwell Foundation, is a scientist and PhD candidate at the local marine research center CICIMAR. She created a model program of citizen science and travel with a purpose, based at La Duna. She works with our neighboring fishermen communities to encourage sustainable practices and turtle protection, as well as their economic development. Her academic groups and yoga retreats with her brand Blue Turtle Retreats focus on the understanding of our interconnection with all living systems, and on supporting sustainable fisheries.
Conserva Collective is a parallel program lead by Brandon Rus, a scientist and eco-tour operator living in Los Cabos. His project includes an important aspect of youth leadership and business training through educational travel, conservation practices, and community building. Conserva Collective created an eco-route between La Paz and Los Cabos where tourists and local youth groups visit La Duna and other selected locations to learn about sustainable tourism, ecology and natural sciences, organic gardening and permaculture, mindfulness and spirituality, sustainable fisheries and artisanal soap making, as part of an educational and vocational track for local youth.
La Duna collaborates with Lali Mitchell and Alden Hough from Sky Mountain Institute, and with Martha Blane from Qigong for Life to co-create unique nature immersion and mindfulness programs. Both the Eco-arts and Qigong are important resources for balance and resilience. They are basic tools to align our kin with the natural world and restore our patterns and rhythms to those of the Earth. Our experiential program We are the Earth is offered this February 9-14, 2020. It is an approach to our participation in the Natural History of the Earth, where understanding comes from using our own bodies and the eco-arts processes, to discover and join the natural intelligence.