Redford Center Youth Stories Curriculum

A flexible curriculum and resources to engage students with environmental storytelling (Source: The Redford Center)

Redford Center Youth Stories invites students as the visionary leaders of environmental impact storytelling. Youth Stories puts students in the director’s seat to discover and articulate their wisdom as authors of humanity’s collective narrative through the medium of filmmaking.

The 2021-22 Redford Center Stories curriculum is available for use at any time. Please note that the “filmmaking challenge” is not being offered at this time. This curriculum includes 10 Lessons + Bonus Lessons. Each lesson includes a PDF lesson plan, slides, media, and short films, science/writing extensions, and more.

This free curriuclum 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.

Lesson One – Wisdom and Wonder: A Foundation For Justice

Lesson Plan | Powerpoint
Capítulo (Lección) 1 – Sabiduría y Curiosidad: Un Fundamento Para La Justicia
Plan de la Lección | Powerpoint

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

Lesson Plan | Powerpoint
Capítulo (Lección) 2 – La Tierra Naciente: Despertando la esperanza para el futuro
Plan de la Lección | Powerpoint

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)

Lesson Plan | Powerpoint
Capítulo (Lección) 3 – El Mar A Nuestro Alrededor: La Vida y La Reciprocidad
Plan de la Lección | Powerpoint

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)

Lesson Plan | Powerpoint
Capítulo (Lección) 4 – Una Historia Del Agua: La Vida y La Reciprocidad, parte 2
Plan de la Lección | Powerpoint

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)

Lesson Plan | Powerpoint
Capítulo (Lección) 5 – Tierras Compartidas & La Sintonización Con Los Árboles: La Vida y La Reciprocidad, parte 3
Plan de la Lección | Powerpoint

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

Lesson Plan | Powerpoint
Capítulo (Lección) 6 – Energía
Plan de la Lección | Powerpoint

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

Lesson Plan | Powerpoint
Capítulo (Lección) 7 – Abogar y La Justicia Alimenticia
Plan de la Lección | Powerpoint

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

Lesson Plan | Powerpoint
Capítulo (Lección) 8 – Activismo Juvenil
Plan de la Lección | Powerpoint

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

Lesson Plan | Powerpoint
Capítulo (Lección) 9 – El Poder de la Comunidad
Plan de la Lección | Powerpoint

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

Lesson Plan | Powerpoint
Capítulo (Lección) 10 – El Desafío de Historias del Redford Center
Plan de la Lección | Powerpoint

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)