A diverse mix of courses, lectures, and workshops.
New services may be added, or existing ones subject to change, based on season or on current interests.
The nature of soils, the relationships and practices of ancient indigenous cultures as well as modern. Structures and textures, hydrology, biological and chemical life within the soil, and how to maximize full potential. Students will be given simple techniques to identify different soils through touch, smell, even taste, as well as the use of plant indicators for classification. Overview of earthworks: terraces, swales, raised beds, hugelkultur, ponds & aquaculture, keyline design, compost, and the use of biomimicry and geometry to shape the earth. Students will apply all of this with a series of hands-on activities, and also partake in a seed ball making activity, which they will take home.
Plants & Agroforestry
Introduction to botany, the key structure of forests, forest ecology and succession. Discussions and examples of ‘food forests’ in both ancient and modern settings. Climate specific species, as well as the function of water, roots, fungus, myccorhizae, and proper placement. Introduction to polycultures, companion planting, plant matrices, and guilds. Discussions on small scale and broad acre development. Creation of microclimates, bio-remediation, myco-remediation, and evaporative cooling for both agrarian and urban sectors.
Animals, Wildlife, & IPM
An in-depth discussion and outdoor workshop on understanding animals, including a deconstruction of the term ‘pest’. Introduction to basic tracking, reading animal sign and patterns. Understanding the importance of wildlife, their needs, eating habits, and the incorporation of wildlife corridors within the landscape. Introduction to domesticated animals, tending, rotational grazing patterns, and management; to utilize life in such a way that the landscape benefits from a multi-special presence. Overview of Integrated Pest Management as a way to bring an unstable system back to a natural balance.
Mapping & Design
It all begins with a relationship of observation and immersion. Introduction to the history of landscape design, from ancient Persia through Europe and beyond. Indigenous methods and practices, essential awareness, and the modern necessary tools. Triangulation, baseline, and direct measurement methods. Scale, plotting, drafting, and cross-sectioning. Plant identification, wildlife patterns, zones & sectors, and topography. Overview of hand-drafting methods and CADD programs. This course offers the first step in understanding from within and above, and the ability to see the order of design through function, form, and further the ability to work with the land to create truly lasting, integrated systems.
A hands-on class that begins with a discussion and slideshow of natural building examples from across the world, from ancient to modern, ranging from different climates and geographies, materials and uses. After, an in-depth look on cob, it's history including the different recipes and necessary ingredients; ending in a fun class of mixing clay, sand, straw, and water, getting the hands and feet in the blend, and building a functional piece of earth art meant to provide a means of discovery into the vast possibilities of building with nature.
Indigenous Agriculture & Forestry
A tour across the globe exploring the many land use practices of our ancestors; the sophisticated design and relationship with ecological habitats, the socio-cultural significance, and what we can learn from it. The expanded view of large scale systems that lasted thousands of years via low tech, natural materials and practices will provide a means of understanding, as well as a template for lasting systems, while opening the awareness of natural patterns and principles. Ultimately, we do not need to reinvent the wheel.