All of us are vital elements in our ecosystem; we can destroy or we can restore. Knowledge marks the difference.
Education needs to play a central role in addressing Earth’s environmental crisis and is perhaps the most effective tool in correcting the sense of powerlessness and indifference that young people feel in the face of our damaged living systems.
We have designed The Field Semester to be precisely the sort of program needed to confront our environmental crisis. Far beyond what is available inside the walls of a traditional classroom, The Field Semester's innovative program of study immerses students in a working farm and the rural California coastal region, offering a potent blend of intellectual study and experiential learning.
Bringing together high school juniors and seniors from diverse communities across the United States, The Field Semester designs a term of study and action that will help students develop a deep understanding of the living systems in which we are all embedded. They will leave The Field Semester equipped with the insight, skills, and passion necessary to bring transformative change to every place they call home and to thrive as sustainability-minded leaders in their communities and careers.
An integral part of the program includes integrating students from all backgrounds: geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic. The environmental crisis affects everyone, and equipping students from all backgrounds to confront this challenge together is a core part of our mission. To that end, the Field Semester will open with a budget allocating 30% of our revenue to financial aid. This amount will enable 20 of our 90 annual students to attend free of charge. Furthermore, we have carefully designed the operations of our program so that they do not depend on donation-based revenue. This model allows any funds we raise to go directly to financial aid. Our goal is to build an endowment large enough that students will be able to attend on a pay-what-you-can basis—ensuring equal access to the program for students from any socioeconomic background.
At the moment, the East Coast of the United States is served by three well-known environmental semester-study programs—The Mountain School in Vermont, Chewonki in Maine, and The Island School in the Caribbean. The West Coast has no comparable option.