The School of Permaculture
My experience with the School of Permaculture (SOP) started before I left for Lost Valley Education and Event Center in Oregon, where I earned my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) and Ecovillage Design Education Certificate (EDE) as part of LV’s Holistic Sustainability Semester (HSS) program. (See past blog posts)
I officially met Nicholas Burtner and his wife, Kristi Burtner, at their suburban home demonstration site in Plano, Texas, for one of their free ‘Intro to Permaculture’ classes — which was the Friday before the start of their in-person PDC class weekend from Saturday to Sunday at the Plano Environmental Education Center.
My birthday month started off with another ecstatic dance. I had gotten to the point where I was comfortable with the people attending the dances and familiar with the experience, but I still was very uncomfortable actually participating in the dances myself. However, I usually enjoyed the morning after sessions for the people that stayed the night. This session was about spiritual connection with the self, and in turn, how the self interacts with others on various levels, like physical touch and emotional connection.
HSS Week 12
The weekend before our final week, Bri and I went over the Bethany’s to make final touches to our PDC project design and PowerPoint presentation. I was very proud of our design, and really appreciated Bethany’s proactiveness and follow-through, because those weren’t common characteristics of the people living in the community.
HSS Week 11
As the final weeks of the program were before us, Sara Siegler (Lost Valley’s Executive Director) and Colin Doyle, approached me to see if I was interested in working as the part-time Communications Manager for Lost Valley Education and Event Center. I accepted the position knowing I could put my marketing skillset to use and help Lost Valley move forward with their marketing and outreach. I was even given my own office space that I overhauled and organized for myself, and anyone else who needed public space to work.
HSS Week 10
That weekend before classes started, Rich – the friendly neighborhood vagabond – returned to Lost Valley, and we got the dragon pizza oven fired up! Rich has a long history with cob fire pizza ovens, which started at his grandpa’s and was also how he wound up staying at Lost Valley and became an approved seasonal traveler.
Pizza days at Lost Valley generally attracted a large crowd, and this weekend was no different. We had residents making fresh dough, cutting up ingredients and toppings, and others just hanging out around the cob booth area while Rich tended the pizza oven.
HSS Week 9
Our guest instructor for Monday’s classes was Laird Schaub, who has spent over 40 years living in various communities – primarily at Sandhill Farm with his former partner, and then Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Laird is a shrewd man, and has been a community networker and group process (facilitation) consultant for over 25 years, so he had a wealth of contextual knowledge.