We encouraged rituals as a means of reinforcing the values of the program and to enhance the sense of belonging to the community. We all had nature names, at first as anonymity for our students but it evolved to becoming important personal identity markers.

We developed a waste watch king/queen skit to collect and measure waste at meal times. We also took turns providing a reading or quote before meals. We held sharing circles and ran coffee house nights open to all of our students and alumnus, where students performed music, told stories or read poetry.


Reflection was an important ingredient of the program as it should be for any organization that wishes to strengthen itself. We held regular staff gatherings to plan activities but also to review, evaluate and revise what we were doing. We had full community meetings so that the students felt that they had some input into issues and decision making. They often would bring up issues then proceed as a group to solve them.

Tao Sites & Magic Spots

In the beginning students and staff all had Tao sites. Each staff and student would choose a place In nature, somewhere on our property, where they would regularly go and have a direct natural experience. They would write in their journals and creatively express their spots seasonally. For the younger students these became Magic spots. The young students were given a small handbook with short tasks to encourage their observation skills. This was an introduction to a behaviour that many took home to their own yards or neighbourhoods.

Students as well as staff kept journals to provide a means of reflecting on their personal experiences. There were also, some assigned journaling tasks but they were left to become mostly private and personal reflections.