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Schools, Programs, Facilitators, and the related...

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello All,

I do appreciate the efforts and knowledge many have experienced this far into their adventures into "natural and sustainable architecture," and the views they share with many on these varied topics. I still must share publicly my perspective as a seasoned and experienced facilitator (over 35 years) that many have less than half of the recommend 10 to 15 years of experience to "solo facilitate" such architectural workshops. As of late, this has crossed my desk more and more often. Most recently, with "I have six years..." and that followed by an explanation why that is enough.

I know many feel otherwise, and that is more than their prerogative, and that personally feel comfortable with what they teach, and think its o.k. to do so without any specialized training, oversight, mentorship, or general peer feedback. I am also sure many are sharing some valuable information. Yet I must share that each year I see more and more folks like this coming to the "permaculture world" thinking they are "qualified" to teach all manner of things...and charge money for it...often a lot of money. So I have started pushing back on folks to really evaluate the funds they spend on these "experiences" and vet the qualifications, and backgrounds of the folks that are going to be the lead facilitators of the classes they are considering. Buyer beware...in other words.

I am but one voice on this matter, and I am sure there are many others that feel as I do...and some do not. It's funny how most that don't have less than the recommended 10 to 15 years of experience and/or specialized training-technical experience in the construction-design arts. I will, regardless, continue to "warn" folks to be cautious of information that is not sourced from at least a decade's worth of active years in working, guiding, research, book reading-reviewing, and facilitating, the different modalities of topics that they intend to teach others about. Sometimes it is just a matter of "quality of the knowledge" and yet at others (like in architecture) it is a matter of safety, good practices in engineering and intimacy in materials, which takes decades to acquire...not just "I really love this topic", taking a few classes, doing a couple projects, or reading 5 or 10 books on a subject...it take dedicated application, mentoring, and dare I say it..."paying your dues" under the guidance of senior practitioners...this is the only way to really develop and nurture the deep understanding and enlightenment that is required to honor these different Arts and Crafts well. Apprenticing and working hard has been the way of it for a very long time, and I am not suggesting 20 to 30 years of grueling and tortuous apprenticeships as is found in some cultures, or "one shoe fits all," yet I am strongly suggesting that this "new age" and "instant gratification" mentality has no place in the "arts, crafts, and life skills," that so many are too rapidly embracing...then thinking they can go out and teach it to others...very few actually can, and only see this after they can actually look back over that 10 to 15 years and realize just how little they knew...and still have to learn. As I said, I have been doing this "permaculture" stuff a long time...and I am still amazed... almost daily... at how much more I can (and should) still learn...

Regards,

j
 
Nathaniel Steinrueck
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Thanks J! I really appreciate this post. I took Public Design Build and Yestermorrow with Steve Badanes, Jim and Bill. Just being in their presence was enough to make the course incredible.

-N
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Nate, et al,

I must say, when I think of young facilitators that are coming to the "natural build" and permaculture venue the more thorough and balanced way, you are one of the folks I think of. You are really internalizing the approach needed to become a great lead facilitator yourself, by listening and exposing yourself to as many different instructors as you can...while you read and study from other sources...planned excellence IMHO. Charlie is a perfect role model of a great facilitator. You and he are the complete opposite of so many I have of late been experiencing that just have such a narrow perspective and skill sets, further exacerbated by the belief..."we know enough..." That "attitude" tells me they know what they think they know and only use the metrics they themselves create to evaluate themselves...Not a good standard. Mentorship and feedback from peers is how we grown as humans and as facilitators.

Thanks again for taking the time to post.

Regards,

j
 
susan vita
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This is an older thread but as I am researching schools I thought i'd bump it and ask for some recommendations as well.

My goal is to immerse myself in a program for a year or five---thankfully at this time in my life I have that luxury, though otoh the luxury of a strong young body is not as do-able.
However my mind is agile enough, the spirit is willing and the body will come up to speed well enough given some time.


I love to design systems, work with critters, not so interested in plants. I've applied to CalEarth and am excited about their program, but maybe a more permie intense experience might suit me better.

Any advice on schools to check out or avoid is very appreciated.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Susan,

I would have to ask where you are and what your specific goals might be. Can you travel? Is it general Permaculture you care to study or just permie architecture methods?

If wanting to learn just traditional and/or natural building Cal Earth would be on the very bottom of any list I have. It is still on there, but it is a very "experimental" form of architecture, and very "site specific" to application. Even the long term success is in question by many professionals even in the natural building realm. Some really love EG architecture (those that do it and live in them) while others have a more "big picture" and longer view that question its application in many places. EB does have application, but not as broadly as many seem to "think" it does...

For building school, I can't recommend Yestermorrow School enough, and for traditional living the Root's school is a good one. With your specific goals and location I may be of more help.

Regards,

j
 
susan vita
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Thank you for your response!
I am in New England and can travel anywhere in the world by the end of the summer, as I have the luxury of no ties at this moment in time.
I am inclined to seek out the best I can afford and just get myself there as soon as the summer is over.

I do not yet have specific goals, but do have a laundry list of interests which I believe will come together and coalesce into a more specific path as I start my education. I think I need to get doing and the path will make itself clear.

In my former life I owned and managed a small farmette on the side of a mountain and with farm help we raised fowl and goats and pigs for our freezers.
I started reading about permaculture a few months ago and realized I'd been practicing some of the habits on my land, mostly using ideas I got from my extensive reading habit.
Though I gladly admit my late husband and I designed our hen house ramp after watching cartoons of Foghorn Leghorn!

So now I have the time and inclination to immerse myself in learning. I hope to stay somewhere with class time and hands on work most days a week, learning about soil management, water systems, livestock management, natural buildings, cheese making, etc etc.
I know I could go to classes five days a week and have field trips once a month---that type of learning doesn't interest me at my age--I want to learn by doing as much as I can.


As you can see, I am eager to get going, and pretty much starting with anything on that list will be fun and educational. I think a year long immersion is vastly superior (for me) to several week long workshops.
Long term I sort of see myself seguing into design build, as I am a serial remodeler and have more building and construction knowledge than the average middle aged lady.
Or I could easily be a project and/or farm manager, and that appeals to me as well.

I hope I've answered your questions well enough, and I thank you for your time and response.
 
susan vita
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Bumping in hopes of further discussion.
 
Kristen Tabor
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hi Nate, et al,

I must say, when I think of young facilitators that are coming to the "natural build" and permaculture venue the more thorough and balanced way, you are one of the folks I think of. You are really internalizing the approach needed to become a great lead facilitator yourself, by listening and exposing yourself to as many different instructors as you can...while you read and study from other sources...planned excellence IMHO. Charlie is a perfect role model of a great facilitator. You and he are the complete opposite of so many I have of late been experiencing that just have such a narrow perspective and skill sets, further exacerbated by the belief..."we know enough..." That "attitude" tells me they know what they think they know and only use the metrics they themselves create to evaluate themselves...Not a good standard. Mentorship and feedback from peers is how we grown as humans and as facilitators.

Thanks again for taking the time to post.

Regards,

j
 
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