A Snowy Mountain Passage (Sierra's Birth Story)

By having Sierra at home, not only was I finally able to simply experience transition and birthing, but I was able to experience it with a sense of peace and control due to the personal strength and perseverance developed through struggling with every contraction that prepared me along the way. Nature was able to take its own path and adjust to the needs and challenges being experienced by not just my mind, body, and soul, but also my child's.  It seems to me that Sierra needed me to release my ego and to realize the strength that can be found in true gratitude for life in order to become her mother. Natural processes such as childbirth are put forth so that we might discover a bit of wisdom by letting go of fear and control, and by continuing to greet life with acceptance, true observation, and gratitude. 

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Mother Earth Advanced Teacher's Permaculture Course 2014...

 

Mother Earth School Advanced Teacher Training

Beyond providing tons of resources and further content to dive into within Permaculture, this course provided an experience of what it feels like to be actively engaged within a Permaculture community. Out in the southwestern desert we have a lot of space and infrequent connections. I think it is fair to describe the community knowledge and experience expressed the summer in the Northwest was perhaps the missing link needed to further our local efforts in this region. Throughout the course I saw many of my green dreams come to reality. Thank you Kelly Hogan, Matthew Bibeau, and Patty Parks-Wasserman for your ideas and projects. Portland's City Repair Projects also deserve a thank you for creating so many beautiful places and experiences within Portland! 

Schools and Farms at the Same Place?

The Mother Earth School is an outdoor school that is located on a farm. The kids learn through stories, their environment, and by their active engagement within their community. If there was ever a school I felt comfortable sending my children to it would be this one. I am pretty sure that I would be one of those parents sneaking there way into the farm as much as possible so that I could also experience this environment day by day!

Imagine Your School Days Being Replaced with These Outdoor Spaces...

Walk to School

Walk to School

Yurt Classroom

Yurt Classroom

Learning in the Garden

Learning in the Garden

Sitting Under the Old Apple Tree for Class

Sitting Under the Old Apple Tree for Class

Cedar Tree Jungle Gym

Cedar Tree Jungle Gym

Cozy Times in the Greenhouse while listening to the rain

Cozy Times in the Greenhouse while listening to the rain

Story Time within the Cedars

Story Time within the Cedars

Potty Break with the Pink Palace and its Lovely Compost Toilet

Potty Break with the Pink Palace and its Lovely Compost Toilet

HIdden Forts and Play Spaces in the Forest

HIdden Forts and Play Spaces in the Forest

Connecting through Melons

Connecting through Melons

The course covered many of the vast issues of Permaculture Education within schools. We all left with lists  of resources, projects, books, and information on different educational movements developing within Permaculture. Here are just a few of the topics we covered: Food Forests in Schools, School Gardening Programs, Child Development through Songs, Stories, and Movement, Mentoring (Jon Young), Communication and Community Building Skills and Activities.  I didn't know what I didn't know! The course also included direct applications of our knowledge by having us complete design projects and put together a Family Activity Day on the last day of the course. Our group of about 30 educators pulled together and made a storyline for the kids where the kids pretended to be goats, scraped off their hooves at the beginning of the day, collected and learned about apples, water, and the garden through songs, games, and stories, and then finally received their own little bundle of Biochar to take home with them at the end. Each Biochar package included the soil from all of their hooves and was tied together by cordage we made from Stinging Nettles. Baa! We also had a program set up for adults who wanted to learn more about Permaculture and experience the kinds of games and activities their kids experience on a regular basis. 

Permaculture School Gardens and City Repair

We explored the city together in order to see some of the city-wide Permaculture projects by visiting schools in the city and projects developed by City Repair in Portland. Walking around these schools was like a dream come true. Being able to observe and witness these scenes made it that much more feasible for us educators to spread similar projects back in out home locations. Here are some pics of the amazing work being done around Southeast Portland:

An Alternative Teacher's Lounge

An Alternative Teacher's Lounge

Recycling Projects

Recycling Projects

Public Space outside the school with a Living Roof

Public Space outside the school with a Living Roof

A Poetree for anyone to come and share their words 

A Poetree for anyone to come and share their words 

A Bathtub w/plans for Carnivorous Plants

A Bathtub w/plans for Carnivorous Plants

This house is within a community that reworked public spaces to allow for more community through poetry, benches, fruit trees, and has a large murral in the middle of the intersection that provides a space for play, block parties, and slows traffic.

This house is within a community that reworked public spaces to allow for more community through poetry, benches, fruit trees, and has a large murral in the middle of the intersection that provides a space for play, block parties, and slows traffic.

Exploring a School Food Forest

Exploring a School Food Forest

Chickens located right outside the school's front door

Chickens located right outside the school's front door

These projects and applications of Permaculture within schools are just the beginning of what is possible when applying Permaculture design and principles within a community. The folks that made these projects possible have pushed their local cities edges and are changing the system they live in by demanding the freedom to create lasting solutions and stack functions within their city, which is causing a reformation of city codes and making further explorations and development of their city more of a reality!