Sustainability Outdoor Education

4-H Program: Green Jobs for the 21st Century

Sustainability Outdoor Education-  Cornell’s Dept. of Energy & Sustainability (E&S) Cornell Outdoor Education (COE), and the Sustainability Hub are developing experiential sustainability education programs for student leaders, the Greek community, religious communities, residential student staff, and Cornell staff, utilizing the Hoffmann Challenge Course. Powered by solar panels, set in the woods atop Mt. Pleasant with a recently-installed compost system, the Challenge Course is a great tool for hands-on sustainability education. E&S and COE are working together to create outdoor education programs which foster ecological literacy, systems thinking skills, critical self-reflection, leadership development, and community-building. These departments are also collaborating with Cornell United Religious Works and Hillel for faith-based sustainability initiatives, such as the "Sustaining Our Power" retreat, with a focus on interfaith dialogue related to environmental protection and positive social change.

COE's Team & Leadership Center and the Dept. of Energy & Sustainability recently collaborated on a sustainability program for a 4-H group of teens interested in pursuing Green Jobs. During their two-day program, teens were able to experience a wide variety of events and challenges, all centered around the idea of green jobs. They toured the Cornell Combined Heat and Power Plant, canoed around Beebe Lake, took in the local flora and fauna, and spent a day at the Hoffman Challenge Course learning about teamwork and the interconnectedness of humans and the environment. Programs like the 4-H Sustainability Program are unique opportunities for individuals to learn leadership and sustainability skills in a fun and safe environment.

Contact: K.C. Alvey <>, Molly Smith <>
Highlights from 2009-2010:
  • Hub members participated in "Sustaining Our Power," a leadership development program, related to sustainability, faith, and social justice in April 2010
  • Hub members helped create 4-H Career Explorations Program, "Sustainable Development: Green Jobs for the 21st Century" in June 2010