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Back To School In The Garden, A Digital Lesson Guide For Educators

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"I have a question," Iliana said raising her hand and beckoning me over to her seat just before class ended. "Maybe you won't be able to answer this," she paused.

"Well I'll try, what's up?"

"So all this stuff with this environment and climate, is it irreversible?"

Words piled up in my mouth, not sure what I should let escape. Iliana is 16, the same age I started to realize the imbalances of how humans lived, how I was growing up in uncertain environmental times, how I resented my parent's generation, how I was scared for the future.

"Irreversible? Well, yes, I don't think we can ever back. That's impossible. We can only look and move forward," I heard my mouth say.

"But how can we fix this?"

"Through education. We can relearn how to take care of the environment, of each other."

Class ended and Ilana packed her books and left, leaving me in a whirlwind of colliding pasts, presents and futures. How many young people have asked, are asking, will ask this question? What answers are there?

One year ago, I left The United States for the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship I received to learn and share stories about seed stewardship in India. I met amazing people, worked on incredible farms, and had the pleasure to hold many beautiful seeds in my hands.

With each seed, an answer seemed closer. How can we fix a broken climate? How can we create a better future? How can we relearn to care for the environment? For each other?

In a Seed is a digital lesson guide* I created for educators to help answer questions like Iliana's, like my own. It offers an opportunity to engage youth in understating and developing a sense of self and interconnectedness to the environment. I hope that this understanding empowers future generations to create a future full of beauty, care, and hands full of seeds.

*In the spirit of open-sourced seeds and bringing seeds back into the commons, this digital guide is open to feedback and contribution to improve its use and resilience.

Lauren Ladov is an educator and multi-media artist based in Atlanta, GA. For the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, she spent nine months in India engaging with indigenous seed preservation and stewardship.

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