Rochester Ecology Partners is excited to announce a new initiative that will bring students from different backgrounds together for community building beginning at the RMSC Cumming Nature Center in Naples, NY.

Our Worlds Connect participants in the opening circle.

The Story

Our Worlds Connect is a project designed to build relationships between high school students from different communities through a series of environmentally based community building experiences. These experiences are designed to immerse students in a common experience and provide opportunities for students to share their perspectives. The relationships they cultivate during this collaboration give students a better understanding of each other and prepares them to act in ways that create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful community.

In 2017 this project was launched when educators, in collaboration with the RMSC Cumming Nature Center and Headwater Food Hub, brought together students from a rural and city school, Naples High School and World of Inquiry School for a common plate lunch.. Over the course of two years students met up for a city scavenger hunt, shadowing at each other’s schools, and a three day retreat in Ithaca. 

In 2021 this project was revived when, facilitated by the original organizers, educators from Walden School New York in Naples and Early College International High School in Rochester came together to connect their students during the 2021-22 school year. Three engagements between students from both schools are planned with the hope that this new collaboration will lead to more. The first meeting between the students will be in Early December, 2021.

Guiding Questions

  • How does a shared experience create relationships?
  • How do relationships create a bridge?
  • How does our environment shape our perspective?


  • Bring students from different communities together to have a shared experience
  • Encourage dialogue that develops an understanding of diverse perspectives
  • Build relationships that lead to empowerment for individuals and communities


The students who are participating in this series of activities are from The Walden Project at the Cumming Nature Center in Naples, New York and Rochester Early College International High School in Rochester, New York. 

The Walden Project is a year-long educational experience for high school and gap year students located at Cumming Nature Center in Naples, NY. They offer interdisciplinary education in an outdoor setting with an emphasis on academic independence and freedom.

Rochester Early College International High School is an RCSD school that offers students the opportunity to participate in an Early College program. They welcome students who are highly motivated, hardworking and self-disciplined to pursue their dreams of going to college.

Project Partners

The following partners are offering their time, expertise, and resources to this project.

  • The Walden Project New York
  • The RMSC Cumming Nature Center
  • Rochester Early College International High School
  • Rochester Ecology Partners
  • Rochester Museum and Science Center
  • Wegmans
  • Headwater Food Hub

Additional partners are welcome and needed. 

Wegmans: New logo | Corporate Identity Portal

For more information or to offer support to this project please reach out

Please consider making a contribution to the Rochester Ecology Partners to support this and other programs that build community though nature based learning.