Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

Children of the Earth Foundation

  • Waretown, NJ
  • www.cotef.org

Mission Statement

Ensuring the survival of future generations by guiding youth and community toward a pure connection with the Earth.

Main Programs

  1. Family, Youth and Teen Experience
  2. Teen Survival Quest
  3. Way of the Woods
  4. Tracking and Awareness
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Office located in NJ serving states throughout the US.

ruling year

2002

Executive Director since 2013

Self-reported

Holly Strahan

Keywords

Self-reported

nature, education, environment, survival, Earth, camps, family, outdoors, recreation, youth, teens

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Also Known As

COTEF

EIN

22-3793012

 Number

4859508243

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Recreational and Sporting Camps (Day, Overnight, etc.) (N20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Our goals are not only to preserve ancient skills, but to show children and families how these skills can empower their lives and their connection with nature and the Earth. By providing real skills, real adventures, immersion in nature and broadened awareness, participants revitalize their lives and become passionate about making their life vibrant and meaningful. They also become advocates for the Earth because the experience the delicate balance of all things of the Earth and learn to respect each for they see that we are all connected.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Family, Youth and Teen Experience

In this program, youth and teens age 4-17, and their parents or guardians attend a week learning survival, tracking and nature awareness. They learn the ancient skills of making fire without matches, how to make shelters from the landscape, collecting edible and medicinal plants and much more. All teachings help participants change their relationship with the natural world, learning respect and appreciation for what we take from the land to sustain ourselves. So many leave transformed by this new relationship with the Earth.

Category

Environment

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Adults

Budget

$20,800.00

Program 2

Teen Survival Quest

This unique rites of passage program creates opportunity for teens to test the skills they have learned and learn a great deal about themselves in the process. After a few days of preparation in a base camp, making jerky, gourd water bottles and other preparations, they venture into the woods with very limited gear. They must use what they find on the landscape to create what they need, making their own shelters, finding and purifying water and much more. This supervised experience allows them to be fully embraced by nature, knowing their needs can be met through the gifts of the Earth.

Category

Youth Development

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Budget

$3,200.00

Program 3

Way of the Woods

In this class participants move from the basics of survival skills to skills that make living in nature a joy. They learn advanced shelters, how to make leather from hides, flintknapping arrowheads, making pottery and baskets and much more. They increase their awareness in nature and take another step in their role as caretakers of the Earth.

Category

Environment

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$9,100.00

Program 4

Tracking and Awareness

Tracking and awareness go hand in hand. Tracking is more than following footprints in the soil, it's about understanding animals and all the interactions of nature through the signs we can read in the Earth and all around us. This class delves into understanding how to read tracks, animal signs, scat and other evidence of their passage to be able to tell the story that answers "what happened here?" Students broaden their awareness through understanding the concentric rings that are given by all movement and activity in the woods as well as challenging the senses to expand what we take in and understand. And all of this is achieved through hands on games, experiences and adventures!

Category

Environment

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$15,000.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Many people, especially those living in urban areas, live lives so separated from the natural world that they literally are forgetting that everything we have comes from nature. Children do not play outside, they do not see animals that are used for food or see how vegetables are grown. We had one child in a program who lived in the city and had literally never touched the Earth with his hand. He was 10 years old and had never touched the real ground.

    When you combine this with the extensive interaction with television, video games, computers, cell phones and all our other technologies, our children are at risk of living a life not based on reality. They're experiences lack adventure, passion and joy. By bringing children to nature, not to use it as a place just to recreate, but as a place to understand how the Earth works and our relationship to her, we are helping children and families reclaim a more natural way of being in the world.

    The ancient skills of primitive living ignite a connection with nature because we see how everything fits together. It also touches a place in us that is universal. When we can take two sticks and create fire from them or gather plants from the forest to feed ourselves, we realize that we are capable of sustaining ourselves. This is a freedom few people realize. Whether you ever need to use the skills, knowing that if you became lost you could sustain yourself, or with practice could even live in nature without grocery stores, electricity or other modern conveniences, you touch a confidence that can translate into every area of your life.

    Our goal is for children and families to walk away from the programs with new skills and to see the world through new eyes. We don't expect them to run into the woods, forsaking modern life, but we want them to really see their life and live it to the fullest.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Woven within all our courses are teachings outside the scope of just learning primitive skills. These skills alone are very powerful because they connect children to the Earth, to their own bodies and to parts of the brain not accessed through most activities in modern society. The method we use to teach is also an integral part of achieving our goals. We use a method called "Coyote Teaching" which works quite differently from modern education. Any number of methods are used to entice children into being passionately curious about something at which time an experience or skill can be introduced. When you see someone create fire with a bow drill set, almost no one can resist desperately wanting to try it yourself! We use the art of questioning to help children learn and explore on their own and we encourage them to live in the moment. We also let nature do a great deal of teaching. Once you immerse yourself in it, you discover there are endless things to see, learn and experience. We nurture this passion and guide children and teens through many real adventures.

    We do short-term programs within schools that are able to just touch on some of these things, but even that can have a huge impact. We see the most significant changes in youth who come to weekend or longer programs, especially those who return from year to year. We also offer volunteer leadership positions for teens so they can come and help and continue to grow as they progress.

    Our outcomes differ from child to child but we've been amazed at the countless stories of transformation we hear and see. Many children improve in school because they've found how to enliven their own passion for learning. Others have marked improvement in relations with siblings, parents and friends. Many report increased confidence, leadership skills, drive and commitment.

    As an organization we continually work to reach more children. Because of the special skills needed to teach, we work constantly to increase our staff so we can teach more.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Our strong asset is our partnership with the Tracker School. This was founded and is run by author Tom Brown Jr. who is the source for all the teachings we pass on. All of our staff have had extensive training through the Tracker School so are well versed in the skills. This also provides ongoing opportunity to recruit new instructors.

    The Tracker School also serves as our strongest support. Most of volunteers and donors are part of this large community. Tracker School is involved with over 5,000 current and past students giving us a strong base of support. Much of our fundraising is also done with Tracker students who wholeheartedly support the vision of the organization.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    We monitor enrollment and new program development as well as retention information to assess our growth and long-term viability. We also monitor donor giving and retention and staff/volunteer recruitment and retention as indicators to the health of the organization.

    Within programs we do a verbal evaluation finding out the highlights and least favorite/challenge times of the programs for all participants including parents. This is followed up by a written evaluation which provides opportunity for participants to give specific feedback regarding the programs. These evaluations are summarized and reviewed by staff and board.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Since our goals are rooted in the experience people have with us and how it impacts their lives, we see can see our success with this from a program to program basis. As for extending the organization to reach more people, we are working on several fronts- financial, marketing and staff development. We have increased board size and involvement and are moving forward in all areas.
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Office located in NJ serving states throughout the US.

Social Media

Funding Needs

Scholarships are provided for individuals and families who are unable to pay the full fee and programs are provided at reduced or no fee to disadvantaged youth in neighborhoods or communities unable to fund programs.

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External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

THE CHILDREN OF THE EARTH FOUNDATION INC
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Children of the Earth Foundation

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Holly Strahan

STATEMENT FROM THE Executive Director

"When children learn to make fire without matches, to build shelters from the landscape, to find water and food in nature and so many other ancient skills such as making bows and arrowheads, baskets, pottery, traps, cordage and so much more, they are not only capable of sustaining their lives in the wild, but they learn their relationship to the Earth. They are dependent on nature to provide food and shelter, they understand that a life is taken each time they take in nourishment, they see the world in a new way and discover how vibrant and adventurous life can be. These are not artificial activities like video games and television, but real experiences in which they push their skills and come alive through their awareness. We hear again and again the profound affect learning these skills has on a child's life and can see the passion and enthusiasm with which they approach life. In my decades of work with children I have never encountered anything that has been so transformative."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Tom Brown Jr.

Tracker School

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

Gender
Race & Ethnicity
Sexual Orientation

We do not display sexual orientation information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies
Yes
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
Yes
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
No
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
No
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
No
We have a diversity committee in place
No
We have a diversity manager in place
No
We have a diversity plan