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Permaculture Design Course: Rancho Mastatal, CR

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EVENT DATES July 21-August 6, 2010

    Join renowned Permaculture instructor Chris Shanks for this life-changing 2-week experience. The course covers the core Permaculture Design curriculum including applications of Permaculture in diverse settings and techniques for meeting human needs that harmonize with ecological patterns. Lectures and hands-on work will explore bioregional designs, natural building, renewable energy choices in North America and the Tropics, agroforestry, composting toilets, methane biodigesters, watershed management, community development, tropical and temperate garden and orchard design, energy and nutrient cycling, and the integration of animals into cultivated ecosystems. Local experts on organic production and goat management will make guest appearances. The course will conclude with students doing their own Permaculture site design. Permaculture design benefits community leaders and professionals in the fields of architecture, planning, ecology and education.

    Christopher Shanks has over 10 years of experience in Central America with Permaculture design and implementation. After a three-year stint in Costa Rica apprenticing throughout the country he joined Project Bona Fide (www.projectbonafide.com). Chris currently co-directs Project Bona Fide and is the farm manager and chief designer and master-planner of the site. He has spent most of the last seven and half years developing the site's agro-forests, agro-ecologies, educational programs, research facilities, and natural building examples with the passionate help of hundreds of volunteers, interns, as well as a wonderful and dedicated local staff. Chris has extensive experience in botany, horticulture, poly-cultures, ethno-botany, natural building and construction, water management and purification as well as renewable energy systems. Chris has worked professionally in the US and abroad in the fields of site design, master-planning, and permaculture design. Currently Chris owns and operates a small design build firm called: Living Systems Solutions LLC in Nicaragua. It is a triple bottom line business founded and run on Permaculture principles. Chris has also worked extensively in the field of design in the temperate regions in the frigid cold states of Vermont and New York state as well as the temperate states of Washington and California and has lived and traveled in Spain and Thailand as well as worked and designed in the Bahamas for many years. Chris' experience and training spring from a deep passion for all things green and good and an intense desire to co-create a regenerative landscape for all beings for all time. He is the product of all the wonderful teachers and mentors he has been fortunate to have and is eager to share what he has learned.

    Students will be accommodated in one of three houses during the course. Most students will stay in the wonderful, private bunkhouse (Jeanne's) set amongst fruit trees on the edge of the rainforest. There are six beautiful bamboo bunkbeds and one double bed to sleep in, as well as a number of hammocks where you can relax outside. This house has 65 acres of protected forest, six kilometers of trails, a 60-foot cascade, views to the national park, and beautiful swimming holes. Jeanne's comes equipped with running water, electricity, one flush toilet, one composting toilet (which we encourage everyone to use as to reduce the pressure on our small septic system), two passively heated private outdoor showers, and an indoor shower.

    The Hooch is a magnificent private building that sits high amongst the trees with dramatic vistas out towards the forest. It is outfitted with one double bed and two single beds on two floors and sleeps up to four people. It features a beautiful bamboo floor. Guests staying in the Hooch share two beautiful showers and an awesome composting toilet with interns at the Hankey House.  And as with all of our other accommodations, the Hooch has perfect access to many of our trails, swimming holes and waterfalls.

    The main house is set on our 250-acre private wildlife refuge and features eight kilometers of trails, abundant wildlife, waterfalls, rivers, swimming holes, and beautiful forests that border the La Cangreja National Park. The house is less than a one-minute walk to town and contains three comfortable rooms. There are numerous Mayan hammocks on the porches in which to read a book or nap. Guests at the main house share a bathroom. The house has one flush toilet, one composting toilet and one methane biodigester toilet that provides cooking gas for the kitchen. The main house is generally the most active place at the Ranch, and where all meals are served.

    We also have a beautiful camping area that looks out to the La Cangreja National Park.

    Meals are vegetarian, wholesome and delicious. The Ranch takes their cooking and food seriously. For snacks the Ranch serves bananas and sweet breads, the latter often times cooked in our homemade earthen oven or solar cookers.

    $1,200. Includes all food, lodging, instruction and access to the Ranch and its facilities. We are offering a discount to Costa Ricans and scholarships to three locals.

    For more information and/or to enroll in the course please contact Jackie Pitts at jackie.pitts13@gmail.com. You can also check out Rancho Mastatal's website at: www.ranchomastatal.com.
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