Staff Spotlight: Megan Toben



Megan Toben graduated in 2002 with a degree in Biology, doubts about the ability of University to prepare students for the social and ecological challenges ahead, and a deep longing to be an active part of the healing of our world. Megan co-founded The Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain in 2004 and has been a nurturing presence throughout the six year evolution of young adult programming that is now the Rising Earth Immersion.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory is of backpacking for three months through Central America with my husband and two travel-schooling children, ages 9 & 13. There are essential life lessons and living culture that simply can't be learned in a classroom. It was a joy to explore & experience this with my children.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

My worldview is continually expanding, as is my skill set and my ability to deeply connect with people from radically different life paths. I feel so fortunate to live & work in a place like The Eco-Institute, where food & community are grown by visionary social & ecological change-makers.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

A young man was enrolled to join the army after the immersion, as a way to belong & purposefully contribute. Through powerful perspective-shifting conversations during the semester, he discovered his true calling as an Ecological Activist within the Faith Community & the courage to change his path!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

The Rising Earth Immersion, because this full ten-week season is holistically designed for empowerment in all facets of a young adult's development, including hard skills, conscious communication, philosophical explorations, activism, emotional literacy, somatic self-care, & life-path navigation.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

All of the administrative roles within the nonprofit organization are held by women under the age of 40. Everyone earns a living wage and care is taken on every level to make decisions in harmony with our ethics of social & ecological justice & wellbeing.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Navigating the current ecologically & socially extractive, exploitative system economic system while upholding values of social justice, including not turning anyone away for lack of funds, while generating enough financial abundance to take good care of our staff team & make ethical choices!