The Forest Laboratory of Regenerative Arts will interweave indigenous geographical principles of Seven Generation Stewardship alongside rigorous student-centered technical, vocational, and liberal arts curriculum so learners can actively address modern problems of society in a community, integrating wisdom of the past with innovation of the present, to achieve a fair, equitable and prosperous future for the environment and global community.
The Forest Laboratory of Regenerative Arts will partner with students, parents and community members to foster a learning environment that develops academic, social, artistic, and applied skills through a holistic and expeditionary approach, integrating storytelling and outdoor environments, to build inquiry, critical thinking, and relationships students utilize to maintain individual and global health, wellness, sustainability and regeneration.
Consideration for FLORA began in early 2015 when former Escuela Tlateloco administrators and teachers watching a migration of students from the gentrification of the Denver Highlands and Sun Valley areas to Sheridan and the College View areas of South metro Denver joined with Originateve Holistic Learning Designs founders, with an integrated model of cultural celebration and hands-on learning, imagined the successful expeditionary and indigenous wisdom approaches to community building attached to broad enrichment and outdoor education models that support a Task-Based Learning environment to achieve social and academic readiness for college and beyond. The success of this integration was witnessed in module delivered to a nearly 100% Chicano and Latino K-12 learning community via urban forest expedition and stewardship and regenerative gardening and lifestyle workshops.
Upon the verification of community desire and enthusiasm for this opportunity, the FLORA Planning Committee addressed synthesizing a constellation of approaches and rationales that specifically addressed the needs of this local and regional body of young learners within the larger picture of community struggles and global market relevance of skills both concrete and social in nature. The core focuses that the Committee arrived at are as follows:
- A relationship-based culture of mentoring and learning that builds long term, post-institutional bonds between students, faculty, families and the greater community that demonstrate and encourage trust and risk necessary for rigorous and healthy growth;
- A responsive curriculum that is designed to support the individual needs, strengths, responsabilities, and learning style of each student to maximize student achievement while attending to the mutuality of community goals and health;
- An environment reinforcing the belief that every individual has a lineage, cultural and genetic, known or unknown, that contributes to unique potential that can be developed and is the duty of the community to celebrate, while recognizing that success in this process manifests in various shapes and over different times;
- An atmosphere that models and expects respect and authorship; that encourages the individual ideas and intellectual pursuits of students, faculty, staff and community and provides avenues of recognition, collaboration, and actualization on behalf of a greater whole than the self;
- A system-wide (faculty, staff, and administrators) commitment to modeling relationship development, personal and communal accountability, and life-long learning;
- An intentionally cultivated awareness that that structure, assets, and obligations of and to community extend beyond an anthro-centric (human only) perspective and include the biosphere that we inhabit;
- A culture of stewardship for our community with a sustained consideration of the ramifications of our actions, individually and collectively, understanding that we are a product of multiple generations of ancestors and that we will affect the lives of future citizens for twelve generations and more;
- A lifestyle of regenerative practice built into the routines and expectations of all participants of the FLORA community;
- A commitment to health in body, mind and environment that actualizes personal and public engagement and activities that contribute to positive individual, cohort and familial, community and environmental well-being;