A year-long virtual program for youth, adults, and schools

Offered in partnership with UP for Learning

Empower youth to make real change in their schools and communities with Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability.

Over the course of a year, youth-adult teams develop and implement community action projects to address the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Adopted by the UN in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals offer a blueprint for building a socially, economically, and ecologically just society. The goals address global challenges including poverty, inequality, climate change, and peace and justice. Cultivating Pathways pairs the goals of Vermont’s personalized learning initiative, Act 77, with the SDGs.

Applications Are Open for 2024–25

Express your interest by September 16th, 2024 to join us in the coming school year.

What to Expect

Form a team of students and educators and join in Youth Participatory Action Research, with resources and support from UP for Learning and Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools. You’ll explore the Sustainable Development Goals; connect with and assess your place; and plan and implement a project to advance the global goals.

Calendar of Virtual Events

  • Kick off: October 2024
  • Youth-led gatherings: November 2024; January 2025; and March 2025
  • Closing retreat: May 2025
  • Coaching meetings: To be determined by teams and coaches

Choose your support level. Click on the support level to expand details and pricing.

Level 1: Attend two virtual learning retreats
  • Foundations of youth-adult partnership
  • Rooting in the SDGs
  • Youth Participatory Action Research project
  • Sustainability
  • Sharing across groups and celebration

Price: $100/team

Level 2: Level 1, plus three youth-led virtual support sessions during school year
  • Connect with other CPS groups
  • Talk with youth facilitators who have done CPS in the past
  • YPAR project support
  • Shared resources and strategies

Price: $1,000/team

Level 3: Levels 1 & 2, plus personalized team coaching for 1 hr./month
  • Coaching with your team
  • Build shared leadership, power, and responsibility
  • Support for agenda setting, vision, and project management
  • Support with grants
  • School transformation

Price: $7,500

Georgia, Vermont Middle School's Cultivating Pathways Project: A Day of Service

Recognized by United Nations University as an Innovative Project in Education for Sustainable Development

Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability started as a collaboration among Shelburne Farms, Vermont educators Kate Toland and Lindsey Halman, the Rubenstein School of the University of Vermont, the Greater Burlington Sustainability Education Network, and Vermont Learning for the Future. Now, Cultivating Pathways has grown to include other community partners, hundreds of youth, and their teachers.

CPS was recognized by United Nations University as an exemplary project in education for sustainable development (2018). Read about this and other projects in, RCE Contributions to a More Sustainable World: Celebrating Five Years of Innovative Projects on Education for Sustainable Development (2015–2019). (Cultivating Pathways starts on p. 12.)