Earth-Based Wisdom

Background and Structure

The gift you carry for others is not an attempt to save the world but to fully belong to it.  It is not possible to save the world by trying to save it.  You need to find what is genuinely yours to offer the world before you can make it a better place.  Discovering your unique gift to bring to your community is your greatest opportunity and challenge.  The offering of that gift - your true self - is the most you can do to love and serve the world.  And it is all the world needs.
-- Bill Plotkin, Ph.D.

These are challenging times. We stand on a precipice where our future will require courageous actions and an expansion of consciousness unprecedented in human history. We are called to stretch our latent capacities and illuminate life supportive possibilities for our species and the earth. This is why I am emerging from my comfortable cave of retirement to guide teens as an elder to facilitate this EARTH-BASED WISDOM program.

This pilot program is being designed to provide a guide for healthy teen development. Part of that adventure involves helping our young people gain an understanding of earth's broad-based ecological processes, as well as deepening feelings for the earth and it's life. These naturally evolve through our practice of ecological restoration. In the process of healing the earth, we heal ourselves.


EARTH-BASED WISDOM is a program rooted in ecological restoration that will provide a framework for teens to not only discover their unique place in this world, but also expand their human potentials in service to themselves, culture, and the web of life.

Level One involves ecological restoration and immersion in the natural world, with tasks worth 100 points – all outlined in a Guidebook/Journal. Opportunities for completing the activities and earning the points will be available throughout the year. Participants get their completed tasks initialed by a guardian. The Guidebook/ Journal will be available in the St. Louis region through a sponsor organization, in hopes of attracting young people who resonate with the idea. Participants completing the Level 1 requirements will be honored with EARTH-BASED WISDOM Level 1 certification.

“These loaded times question the essence of who we are, and what we value most. It's time to cross the threshold of traditional thinking and respond with even larger, more thoughtful questions and insights. Each person's task is now to grow his or her capacities to match the challenges; and turn insight into action. -  Jean Houston PhD

I intend to bring to the table the highest quality and most powerful processes and practices from my many years of sourcing and discovering deeper understanding, including those from Dr. Jean Houston, and Dr. Bill Plotkin, both visionaries of our time. Attention will also be given to the Institute for Earth Education program design template.

Although we have been taught that the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest reins supreme, the reality is that nature operates, to a far greater extent, on cooperation from the smallest to the largest toward value fulfillment at every level. This is where my attention is directed as EARTH-BASED WISDOM is co-created.

The activation of this program will depend on sponsor organizations and funding sources.


Level 1 achievement is worth 100 points

  • 5  - Collect seed
  • 5 - Process and screen seed
  • 10 - Prepare a bare ground site and plant seeds
  • 10 - Seed flats for greenhouse growing
  • 10 - Plant plugs out in a restoration
  • 15 - Remove invasive plants
  • 10 - Immersing techniques
  • 5 - Relating
  • 10 - Solo spot (first time)
  • 5 - Solo spot (second time)
  • Broad-basd Ecological Concepts
    • 5 - Energy flow
    • 5 - Cycling of materials
    • 5 - Interrelationships that change through time

(Completion of Level 1 is required prior to applying for Level 2.)

Cultural change that is positive, naturally emerges as a result of healthy individual development, because mature people visualize culture through their own actions. Individual health and cultural health create each other.

 "The times of great change and remarkable opportunity are upon us. To succeed we can no longer go it alone, but must partner with one another to share innovative and creative ways in which to rethink and restructure our individual existence within the context of our expanding global communities. To do this requires a heightened awareness, an awakened sense of purpose, and a dedicated commitment to actively seek out the possible." -- Jean Houston

"Restorationists are part of the most important environmental movement in history. Ecological Restoration evokes emotion, speaks of optimism, and involves an act of imagination and power."  - Bruce Babbitt, Sec. of Interior - 1998

Line art drawing
drawing by Gary T. Schimmelpfenig

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