Sam Adels and Dana DeSousa

Joining me on The Born To Talk Radio Show Podcast are Sam Adels and Dana DeSousa from Land to Learn. They are a nonprofit organization located in the Hudson Valley in New York.

Meet Sam Adels. 

Sam Adels is the Co-Director | Beacon Educator & Program Manager | Youth Leadership | Development at Land to Learn. Sam fell in love with gardening after years of being asked to help out in the family garden. A love and respect for the natural world was instilled in him by frequent camping trips.  His earliest memory is of a family road trip to national parks at age four.

Sam studied history and the environment at Macalester College and has a masters degree in environmental education from New York University. Sam is committed to social and environmental justice and has devoted his professional life to environmental education. As a former national park ranger, Sam spent many years educating youth about ecology and the environment.

Before joining Land to Learn, Sam taught ecology and gardening to NYC public school students, and also worked on a small, organic farm in Maine. Sam teaches through hands-on, experiential education, and enjoys encouraging kids to explore and connect to the world around them. Asa result, Sam hopes of inspiring future generations of eco-literate stewards.

Meet Dana DeSousa.

Dana DeSousa is the Co-Director | SproutEd Chair | Newburgh Educator | Outreach Chair at Land to Learn. She grew up exploring different ecosystems both in NY state and Puerto Rico where her extended family lived. Dreams of becoming a marine biologist led her to the University of Delaware to study Wildlife Conservation. In addition, Dana researched leatherback sea turtles in the US and Virgin Islands.  She studied Environmental Science in grad school.

Dana discovered her passion is for education of the natural world. This led to a number of years teaching local communities about the environment and how they could be stewards of the Earth at Greenburgh Nature Center in Scarsdale, New York.

Gardening has been a part of her life since a young age due to the influence of her maternal grandmother.  Consequently, combining the love of education and personal gardening led to her current position at Land to Learn. Dana enjoys sharing culture and the joy of growing your own food with anyone she meets. She hopes to continue to connect the community to growing food and empower students to educate others while learning about food justice in their classrooms.

Land to Learn.

To start with, Land to Learn’s work is rooted in gardening, food, community, health, and ecology. Their learner-centered approach fosters understanding and agency within youth in schools, residential centers, virtual classrooms, and other educational settings.

Land to Learn’s curriculum cultivates a deepened awareness of self, the world and its inhabitants, and the interconnectedness of all beings. Experiential, place-based, democratic, and transformative philosophies and practices inform their work.


In addition, they strive to center social justice and environmental consciousness in the learning communities they co-create with students and participants.

Here are some examples of their outstanding programs:

SproutEd  brings garden-based education to over 2,000 k-2 students in 10 public elementary schools throughout the Hudson Valley.

RadicleRoots for Teens employs and trains youth (ages 14 – 19) to work throughout the summer, maintaining school gardens and leading activities for younger kids.

ToolShed offers training and consulting services to educators and schools looking to start or develop a garden-based education program.

Sam and Dana’s Takeaways.

“We hope that with this conversation, individuals will be inspired to volunteer with their local garden based organizations.  Or to contribute financially to a charity that impacts their community. We hope that our conversation will remind individuals that there are many ways for students to learn.  Outdoor education can be extremely impactful to a child’s whole body health. Academic success, social-emotional skills, nutrition & health along with environmental awareness are at the center of our practice to educate our students. In doing so, we hope that this can be shared with more students throughout the country.”

In Closing.

Above all, Land to Learn is a growing movement for food justice and community wellness through garden-based education. Thank you Sam and Dana for making a difference!!!

Tune in to hear about more about Land To Learn.

Conversations + Connections = Community

Making the world a better place.  One Story at a time.

 What’s Your Story? I want to share it!