Building the Village


Building the Village is Back to Earth’s custom outdoor education program for schools. Whether it's camping at Point Reyes, building forts in the Mendocino Redwoods, or backpacking at the foot of Mount Shasta, we work with educators and administrators to develop beginning and end of year programs that offer students opportunities for deep nature connection and outdoor skill building. Treating the school community as a village, Back to Earth instructors work with students to create the physical infrastructure and emotional container for adventurous learning. We believe in the benefits of safe risk-taking and in the multiplying effects of connecting students to their in-school STEM and humanities curriculum through hands on experience.

During Building the Village programs, we build habitable structures, craft from natural materials, engage in land restoration projects, and ceremonially mark milestones in students’ personal lives. We make fires, talk about dreams, and play epic games of capture the flag. We do talent shows and sharing circles, chi gong and self defense. We lose ourselves in the woods, and find ourselves using new navigation skills. Our ultimate goal is to connect students to a deeper sense of purpose and passion by inviting them into a learning environment that turns on a culture of thanksgiving, mutual aid, and beginner’s mind. 


For more information or to begin planning a trip contact Eli and Jesse at


Partner Schools


East bay school for boys

The East Bay School for Boys empowers middle school boys to cultivate their intellectual, physical and emotional selves to become the engaged, thoughtful and courageous men of tomorrow.

millennium School SF

Millennium School is an independent middle school in San Francisco. Our premise is that middle school should have both stronger academics - using Socratic seminars and project-based, real-world learning - and a stronger focus on developing the habits and mindsets that lead to happy, meaningful, purposeful lives as adults. After a three-year design process with leading educators, adolescent development experts, and parents and students, we opened in August 2016 with a school model that aspires to realize the full potential of the middle school years.