Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability

Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability (CPS) 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.

The program pairs the goals of Vermont’s personalized learning initiative, Act 77, with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to form a learning program in which students create year-long projects to address one of the SGDs, which focus on pathways to building a socially, economically, and ecologically just society.

Schools form teams of students, and those teams come to Shelburne Farms to participate in a day-long kick-off event in the fall. The teams prioritize the 17 Sustainable Development goals according to which ones they felt were most critical to creating a sustainable future and begin to formulate their projects. In the spring, the teams regather at the Farm to report back to one another on their work throughout the previous year.

This next academic year (2021-22), Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability will hold its kickoff summit in late September 2021!

In 2018, Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability was recognized by the United Nations University as an exemplary project in Education for Sustainable Development. 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.)