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2021 Drylands Permaculture Course in WA!

Posts: 184
Location: Port Townsend, Washington
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2021 Drylands Permaculture Course

With Michael Pilarski, Penny Livingston
& guest teachers!

October 4 – 13th, 2021

Skalitude Retreat Center
Methow Valley, Eastern Washington

Hello fellow permies! We are excited to share with you this very unique and specialized permaculture course in the ever-expanding drylands.

Drylands occupy 40% of the world’s land surface and they are growing. Most of these dryland ecosystems have been degrading for hundreds to thousands of years.  It’s time to turn things around! Regeneration instead of degradation! The need is so great! This course explores how to regenerate the world’s drylands.  It will be useful for farmers, land-owners, land managers, policy-makers, restorationists and others keen on this topic.

This 10 day in-person Drylands Permaculture Course will include:

-An overview of dryland strategies and techniques from arid and semi-arid regions around the world, from ancient to modern, with a particular focus on indigenous and traditional methods.
-Specialized, advanced permaculture principles and methodology.  (PDC is not required to take this course)
-A variety of hands-on activities throughout the course.
-Field trips visiting diverse dryland ecosystems and farms.
-Designing in self-selected teams for specific projects.
-All instructional materials.
-3 great meals a day for 10 days.
-Free camping for entire course.
-An on-line course offered at a later date.
-Optional indoor accommodations at an additional cost.

About the Instructors:

Michael “Skeeter” Pilarski has lived and farmed in the semi-arid Inland Northwest since 1972.  He took his first Permaculture Design Course in 1982. In 1986 he helped organize and graduated from the 1st Drylands Permaculture Design Course taught by Bill Mollison who was one of the leading drylands experts in the world. In 1988, he published a Resource Guide to Sustainable Land Use in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands. 1988 was also the year he started teaching permaculture design courses. In the ensuing two decades he taught 40 permaculture design courses in various climates.  He has accumulated a lot of dryland knowledge over the years and wants to pass it on.

Penny Livingston has been teaching internationally and working professionally in the permaculture,  land management & regenerative design and sustainable development field for 30 years and has extensive experience in all phases of ecologically sound design and construction as well as the use of natural non-toxic building materials.  She specializes in site planning & design of resource rich landscapes integrating, rainwater collection, agroforestry systems, edible and medicinal planting, spring development, pond and water systems management, habitat development and watershed restoration for homes, farms, co-housing communities and businesses. She is currently teaching online courses with Ecoversity and the Permaculture Skills Center.

Guest Speakers:  (We will bring in some of the world’s leading dryland experts via Zoom to give presentations and answer questions)

Precious Phiri

Precious Phiri is a member of the Regeneration International (RI) steering committee and also serves as RI’s Africa coordinator. She is a training and development specialist in regenerative environmental issues and community organizing. She recently founded an organization called EarthWisdom a network, which she formed immediately after her full time nine-year career with Savory hub in Zimbabwe. Her vast experience in education and mobilizing communal populations and implementing institutions in Zimbabwe and Africa in restorative farming programs using Holistic Land and Livestock Management (HLLM) is the force behind her network. Her work currently focuses on training rural communities and collaborating with networks in Africa to reduce poverty, rebuild soils, and restore food and water security for people, livestock and wildlife.

Walter Jehne
Healthy Soils Australia

Walter Jehne is an internationally known Australian soil microbiologist and climate scientist and the founder of Healthy Soils Australia. He is passionate about educating farmers, policymakers and others about “the soil carbon sponge” and its crucial role in reversing and mitigating climate change. His work shows how we can safely cool the climate by repairing our disrupted hydrological cycles. As a research scientist at CSIRO (Australia’s scientific research organization), Jehne investigated the potential of mycorrhizal fungi to recolonize toxic, degraded soils and to rebuild productive biosystems. Later he worked with his federal government on changing the paradigm of land management to foster strategic innovation. He retired 15 years ago so he could get back to practically applying science and grassroots empowerment.

John D. Liu
Ecosystems Restoration Camps Foundation.

John Liu has lent his knowledge to countless ecological restoration efforts across the globe. In the numerous projects he’s been involved in, amazing and seemingly impossible things have happened. In 2013 he received the Communications Award from the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), “Green Gold” a film about his work produced by the VPRO won a Prix Italia award. “Hope in a Changing Climate” was named the best ecosystem film by the International Wildlife Film Festival and won several other honors. He currently also serves as ambassador for the Commonland Foundation.

Andrew Millison
Permaculture Rising and Oregon State University.

Andrew Millison has been studying, teaching and practicing Permaculture since he took his first design course in 1996. He started teaching Permaculture at the college level in 2001 and has been an instructor at OSU in the Horticulture Department since 2009. Andrew first learned Permaculture in the drylands, where he studied at Prescott College for his undergraduate and Master’s degrees. In Arizona, his focus was on rainwater harvesting, greywater systems, and desert agriculture. In recent years, Andrew’s focus has been more on design for climate change resilience, broad scale water management for farm and development planning, Permaculture housing developments, and Oregon water law for obtaining water rights.
About the Venue

Situated in the foothills of the North Cascade mountains, Skalitude’s 160 acres are nestled in a secluded basin in the renowned Methow Valley. Surrounded by thousands of acres of National Forest wildlands, the power of the land nourishes and rejuvenates.

Camping is included! If you need other accommodation, you can rent the Bermhouse for an additional $200 fee per person. The Bermhouse has 3 suites. Each of these suites is divided into 2 sleeping areas, with a half-bathroom (composting toilet and a sink) between them. Each sleeping area has 2 single beds.

Fill out this form and send $250 deposit

Course fee $1,400
This includes:
~ All classes & Field trips
~ Instructional materials
~ 3 great meals a day for 10 days
~ Camping

$250 Deposit to hold your place.
Rest of payment is due by Sept 21st unless other arrangements have been made.

We will deduct $100 from your course fee for each full-paying student your outreach brings into the course.

Send Payment via Paypal or check
Paypal account-

Checks make to-
“Global Earth Repair Foundation”
Pobox 1133
Port Hadlock, WA 98339

We are committed to encouraging BIPOC communities along this career path. We are open to adapting fees to insure your attendance in this course via worktrades and/or scholarships

We will award some scholarships to individuals from under-represented groups to create a more inclusive course. The amount of scholarship will be decided on a case by case basis.

We encourage anyone seeking scholarships to raise money from other channels to help pay your fees. Friends, family, scholarships, donations. Some organizations will contribute funds in exchange for people doing workshops or presentations in their community after the course. If you can come up with any money at all it will help your case.

Anyone may apply but preference will be given to people of color, indigenous people, and other disadvantaged groups and who have already been involved in earth repair, permaculture or related work. This includes people from Native American, inner-city or non over-developed nations of The South. Also to people who will give workshops and trainings in their home communities.

Fill out this form to apply for Work-Trade and/or Scholarship––iZXqWji01dIQfMdw/viewform?usp=sf_link


If we cancel the event or the course cannot run due to a government-mandated lockdown there will be a 100% refund. Up to 30 days before the event starts is an 80% refund. Up to 7 days before the event starts is a 75% refund. Up to 2 days before the event starts is a 60% refund. After that refunds are n a case by case basis.

Contact: Michael Pilarski

We request that all participants take turns with basic housekeeping tasks, food preparation and clean-up. Not to interfere with class times.


Course Topics Include:
Geography of the worlds drylands. Strategies and techniques for dry forests, thorn forests, shrub steppes, sand dunes, gibber/rock deserts, peneplains, salt flats, savannas,  rock cliffs and talus slopes dry land farms, irrigated farms, cities, towns and homesteads. Dryland settlement design. Permaculture Principles, Permaculture methodology, Zones, Sectors, Observation, Wildfire’s role in drylands, Fire risk mitigation. Wadi culture from the Middle East and North Africa. Crescent terraces. Qanats, Karez. Stone mulching, gravel mulch, litho-mulch. Grid Gardens. Barrow pit planting basins. Stone linear borders on contour. Floodwater farming. Cliff base fields. Soils, alkalinity, saline soils, flocculated soils, Mineral fertilizers, Caliches, Soil carbon sponge,. Cryptobiotic crust restoration. Swales, spreader banks, Interceptor banks, Diversion banks. Gabions. Check Dams. Net and pan. Sand dam. Nabatean runoff agriculture. Snow fence ponds. Nebkhas. Inselbergs/rock dome catchments. Zai holes and Yacouba Sawadogo. Kona Field System. Chris Reij, Tony Rinaudo and Farmer managed natural regeneration.. John Pollock on Maui. Species selection for dryland climates. Plant establishment. Shrub garlands. Keyline system of Soil and Water Management. Restoring summer monsoons. Wild and domestic animals in drylands. Subterranean growing. Subterranean housing. Agroforestry. Soil pitting. Dixon imprinter. Aga Khan Village Support Project. Curb cuts, street runoff. Designing/adapting roads for water catchment. Fog fences. Salted soils. Halophytes. Irrigation methods. Chaparral/Garigue/Maquis. Jean Pain. 12-foot borehole tree planting. Syntropic agriculture. Horticulture Surveys. Woody biomass in drylands. Waste-water, greywater. Holdridge Life Zone ModelWindbreaks and hedgerows, Restoration forestry, Plant establishment through the zones, Seed pelletizing. Wild and domestic animals in drylands. Grazing, Food forests, Honeybees, Uses and management of weeds, Garden strategies, Pit Gardens, Hugelkulturs and subsurface hugelkulturs. Mulch, Bio-engineering, Vine trellises over houses and buildings. Erosion Control, Runoff factors. Slow, spread and sink, Ponds, dams, Roof water catchment. Tanks, ponds and water storage. – and much more.
Posts: 36
Location: phoenix, az
forest garden trees greening the desert
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I've told a few people I know about this and posted it in my garden groups on fb. Looks like it will be really good, thanks for having it.
The only taste of success some people get is to take a bite out of you. Or this tiny ad:
Our perennial nursery has sprouted!
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