Curriculum Overview

Redford Center Stories is an environmental storytelling initiative for students in grades 5th-12th, designed to empower youth as changemakers to impact environmental justice, restoration, and regeneration through the power of storytelling.

This free program provides the following:

  • A flexible and cross-disciplinary curriculum and resources to engage students with storytelling, film, science, social and environmental justice.
  • 10 lessons and bonus lessons (standards-integrated) that include PDFs, slides, links, media.
  • Writing prompts and conversation ideas; narrative + digital storytelling analysis; critical/creative thinking; English, science, and history connections; research ideas; extensions; and media—including original Redford Center/Redford Center-supported content.
  • Lessons can be taught in 20-30 minutes, extended to 45-80 minutes, or otherwise customized.
  • Materials examine the relationship between communities and nature, with emphasis on the impacts of climate change, social-environmental justice, the disparity in access and equity outdoors, and meaningful, youth/community-inspired solutions.
  • Opportunities to learn directly with filmmakers and activists in a “Meet the Moment” dialogue series.
  • Challenge prep activities to help students develop their visions and voices.
  • Support to help students produce a 90-second film with a focus on environmental justice and regeneration.

In partnership with incredible organizations doing important work to empower youth and climate solutions, this project is about young people’s agency and capacity for vibrant impact and meaningful contribution. Expertise in environmental science or digital media is in no way a prerequisite for this project; just the opposite, this project is about everyone’s capacity for contribution and impact. Join us!

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Curriculum Preview

The 2021-22 Redford Center Stories curriculum includes 10 Lessons + Bonus Lessons. Each lesson includes a PDF lesson plan, slides, media, and short films, science/writing extensions, and more.

Lesson One – Wisdom and Wonder: A Foundation For Justice

Introduces students to The Redford Stories Project as a journey of learning and discovery to connect with the natural world, ourselves, and each other, and bring health to our planet and communities.

Lesson Two – EarthRise: Awakening Hope For The future

Over 50 years after Apollo 8 and the iconic Earthrise photo, what new perspectives are needed now?  How can we redefine who is an “environmentalist” in ways that honor and center impacted communities, visions, and voices?

Lesson Three – The Sea Around Us (Life and Reciprocity, Part 1)

How does the history, science, and story of water connect us all?  How is ocean health connected to community health, and who is thinking about environmental justice, protection and repair with respect to the ocean?

Lesson Four A Water Story (Life and Reciprocity, Part 2)

While water covers the Earth, only a tiny percentage of the Earth’s water is available for human use and consumption. The United Nations identifies water as a human right and a necessity for health. Who is most impacted by declining access to clean water?

Lesson Five – Shared Land & Tuning to the Trees (Life and Reciprocity, Part 3)

As hidden, communal qualities of trees are being newly discovered, so is the importance of communion with nature for human health. Amidst the pandemic, it’s common to hear “nature is still open,” but is it? How can nature be a shared and accessible space of nourishment for all?

Lesson Six –  Energy

What can our relationship to non-renewable/renewable energy show us about how we could be living, and who is most impacted by decisions about energy use?  What innovations exist—or could exist—to impact our use of fossil fuels and energy, and who are in “frontline communities”?

Lesson Seven – Advocacy & Food Justice

What is advocacy, and how can we understand the different ways we act as advocates in our own lives and communities? What kinds of advocacy takes place in food justice movements? What are innovations in urban farming and soil health teaching us about our environment’s capacity for regeneration?

Lesson Eight – Youth Activism

Around the world, young people are raising their voices for environmental justice and repair. How are the rights of nature and all beings coming into public dialogue?  Amidst rollback of fundamental environmental protections, what can youth do?

Lesson Nine – Community Power

How do communities work together to fight for environmental justice and regeneration? How has collective action worked as an agent for change? How can we work together to come up with powerful solutions for our own communities? 

Lesson Ten – Redford Center Stories

What can inspire us all to live in greater reciprocity?  When we create a story, invent something new, design a city/building/food system/way of sharing resources, are we thinking about both immediate and long-term impacts on natural systems and all people?  What future can, and will, we call into being?  What will the legacy of this generation/time in history be?

Objectives and Learning Targets


  • Help educators integrate environmental content/context into any unit of a class/course
  • Draw connections between social-environmental-economic patterns and inspire deeper self-reflection and confidence for learning across subjects
  • Learn techniques for listening, interviewing, collecting data, film composition, purpose-driven storytelling, and more
  • Write and tell critical stories that can inspire and impact local and global action for a more environmentally sustainable and socially just world
  • Support a relational understanding of human beings and nature; and mutual influence
  • Affirm nature as a teacher and model for systems thinking and creativity
  • Encourage joyful, purpose-filled learning and an expanded sense of belonging

Students will:

  • Explore and deepen their relationship to the natural world and local environment
  • Cultivate different perspectives on issues of environmental/community degradation and regeneration
  • Learn techniques for listening, interviewing, collecting data, film composition, purpose-driven storytelling, and more
  • Write and tell critical stories that can inspire local and global action for a more environmentally sustainable and socially just world
  • Lead an intergenerational dialogue around environmental impacts and greater reciprocity with the Earth
  • Join a joyful and collaborative learning community for collective Earth activism and constructive hope
  • Create films that embolden generations of environmentalists as inheritors and designers of the future

Materials Required to Participate:

  • An inquiring mind and an open heart
  • Curiosity and creativity
  • Paper and pencil
  • Internet access (to show/view slides and media)