Design, Education, Social Impact

Bucky-Inspired Permaculture Education Programs for K-12

A story from 2014 Catalyst Program participant Nathan Ayers, who applied to the Fuller Challenge with the Chiwara Permaculture Initiative:

As a Kindergarten to 12th grade permaculture educator, I have the great privilege of introducing many young students to Buckminster Fuller. I use Bucky quotes and images in my classes and seminars all the time. I was inspired to apply to the Fuller Challenge as a way to honor what I’ve learned from Bucky, and also for the chance to share our whole systems approach to K-12 education with a wider audience.

Bucky was an absolute pioneer in biomimicry—thinking and designing solutions rooted in nature’s brilliance. Since learning about him, the question I had was “given our current global challenges, how do we teach everyone to think like nature?”

I’ve found that the pedagogy of permaculture is an extremely powerful vehicle for teaching closed loop, systems thinking, and biomimicry to K-12 students. Our courses empower students through place based service learning in science, technology engineering, and mathematics. That’s a fancy way of saying we get students outside, challenging them to use their minds and hands in solving community problems the way nature would.

When the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive offered me the opportunity to bring these courses and curriculum to their organization, I saw right away that we had everything in place to educate a new generation of nature based problem solvers. At Archangel, we’ve designed closed loop processes that engage the business community to sponsor agroforestry education and installations done by students as young as 5 years old. Using a whole systems approach, we work with K-20 schools to build solutions in education, ecology, and economy.

Much thanks to The Buckminster Fuller Institute for carrying on the teachings and legacy of one of Nature’s greatest teachers!

More information on The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive can be found here: