Plainly said: schools are where trees and children’s livelihoods go to die; both cut down, gutted and their desecrated remains used for the maintenance and reproduction of the establishment. Through its critique of schooling—its ties to individualism, harmful social reproduction, colonial foundations, and centering of white supremacist ideologies, this paper makes the case for land-based education as a conduit toward healing, innovation and connection. It draws links between the irreconcilable nature of youth wellness and schooling, while centering pedagogical reverence for the natural world, particularly connection with tree spaces, as part of a critical educational trajectory toward symbiotic relationship with the land. Only by nature of youth understanding that they too are extensions of the land, can we build toward a more liberated and sustainable future.

Author Biography

Tiffani Marie

Tiffani Marie hails from a lineage of Arkansas educators. She is also the co-director of the Institute for Regenerative Futures and Professor of Teacher Education and Ethnic Studies at San Jose State University, where her research focuses on health disparities, the study of anti-blackness as a social determinant of health, and the embodiment of critical pedagogies as an attenuating agent of toxic stress in black children. Her broader research interests integrate theoretical frameworks and methods from public health, critical race studies and education.



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