Learn how to create sustainable, productive and beautiful human environments using natural ecosystems as models. Gain the skills to implement a permaculture project in your own community as you move through the design of projects beginning with interviews of real clients, needs assessments, development of real solutions, and a formal permaculture design and presentation.
At Sirius Community explore the relationship between personal, social and ecological sustainability in the rich context of this educational and spiritual ecovillage.
• Visit urban farms, Community-Supported Agricultural (CSA) projects, Eco-homesteads and micro organic food cottage industries.
Summer 2013: $2,400
Includes tuition and program costs.
Learn about Financial Aid options here
4 Transferable Credits from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
upon successful completion of the program
Summer Session: July 13 – August 2, 2013
Minimum GPA: 2.5
Minimum Age: 16 and above
Language: none required
Summer Session: March 15
Rolling admissions on a first come first serve basis, so apply early! Contact us for availability.
Sirius Community is an intentional community built on the values of respect for the individual, cooperation with nature, and spiritual growth.
The sustainable community incorporates passive and active solar architecture, composting toilets, rain and wastewater cycling, off-grid energy, water catchment, greenhouse bioshelter, and season extending techniques into everyday life.
The green and natural building technologies and design showcased at Sirius Community model values of permaculture and harmony with nature in a practical approach. Learn more about the community here!
The health and safety of students and faculty on Living Routes programs is always our highest priority. Living Routes has clearly articulated health and safety protocols and procedures compiled in our Health and Safety Manual. This manual is reviewed and updated on a yearly basis to ensure the highest standard of care is in place on all Living Routes programs. The Health and Safety Manual is available for download here, or contact our office for a copy to be sent to you. All students also receive a comprehensive handbook including detailed chapters on health, safety and guidelines for preventing illness during the program.
Living Routes faculty and staff have extensive international experience and numerous affiliations throughout our various host communities and countries. These individuals and networks ensure that we stay informed about changing conditions and help us prevent health and safety risks while also responding to emergencies quickly and effectively if they should arise. Our program managers and directors have regular communication with field staff and faculty, who all carry emergency cell phones and are trained to carry out Living Routes Emergency and Evacuation Protocols, in the event that we must respond to an emergency, or remove a student or program from the field.
For questions or more information about Living Routes Health and Safety policies, please contact our office at (888) 515-7333 or email us at info[at]livingroutes.org.
Natural Resources Conservation- NRC 398A (4 credits)
Reading and Designing the Landscape:
Essence of Ecological Design principles and skills; Site Mapping; Land assessment for optimal, multi-functional use; Patterns and cycles of nature; Basic plants engineering skills
Water in the Landscape:
Water storage and restoration keyline management, swales, dams, and water catchment; Aquaculture, streams, ponds, tanks, & plants; Grey and black water treatment and use
Building Healthy Living Soil:
Soil structure, texture and pH; Sheet mulching & composting; Green manures, living mulches, and intercrops; Remineralization
The Cultivated Ecosystem: Human Habitiat
Human habitat: Integrated gardens and orchards with small livestock and wildlife; Species selection and designed management; Ecological pest management; Rotational poultry systems; agroforestry systems
Patterning for energy efficiency; Alternative and least toxic building materials; Appropriate technologies
Regional economics; Urban-suburban restoration; Village and community design; Design report writing and presentation
B.S., Environmental Geosciences, Boston College
Natural Building and Solar Home Design Certification, Solar Energy International
Permaculture Design Certification, Naropa University
Permaculture Instruction Certification, Dynamics Ecological Design
Kay Cafasso is a natural builder, a certified permaculture design course instructor, and a designer of ecological landscapes. Kay holds certificates in Solar Home Design and Natural Building Construction and has many years of experience specializing in earth plasters and natural finishes for straw bale and other natural buildings. After documenting ecological design applications in homes and landscapes in arid, temperate and tropical climates worldwide, Kay founded Sowing Solutions, offering education and ecological design and consultation services for homeowners and land stewards. Kay practices what she teaches: thoughtful and holistic design of landscapes, agriculture, dwellings, and communities.
B.S., Environmental Studies, University of Vermont
Diploma of Applied Permaculture – British Permaculture Association
Mark is a permaculture designer, traditional woodworker, natural builder and community organizer who resides in Burlington, VT. After studying Integral Sustainability with Living Routes in Auroville, India and earning his degree in Environmental Studies, he compiled A Directory of Useful Plants of New England – a comprehensive resource detailing the uses and ecological characteristics of over 115 useful plants hardy to Zone 5. Today, he directs Keyline Vermont, RivenWoodCrafts, and Burlington Permaculture and is an active member of Seven Generations Natural Builders, and EcoSystems Design Inc. Mark’s teaching credits include Edible Forest Gardening, Coppice Forestry the Re-vitalization of Urban Landscapes, Lawn to Garden Conversions, Farm Scale Agroforestry, and Keyline Design and Soil Building. At RivenWoodCrafts, he produces chairs, agricultural implements and other useful objects from raw logs and also works as both a natural building educator and contractor, specializing in cob, adobe, wattle and daub, light clay, natural plasters and dry stone construction.
M.A., Landscape Design, Conway School of Landscape Design, MA
B.S., Forest Biology, SUNY Syracuse College of Environmental Science and Forestry, NY
Jono has a diverse background in ecology, environmental research, conservation, restoration, land stewardship, and landscape design. A permaculture teacher and designer since 1996, he was the Land Steward and Permaculture Apprenticeship Program Director at Lost Valley Educational Center in Oregon for 5 years. Jono is a Conservation Biologist with 17 years experience, is founder of Regenerative Design GROUP, a permaculture design and consultation firm in Leverett, Massachusetts and is a faculty member at the Conway School of Landscape Design. A sought after speaker at events, businesses and workshops, Jono’s recent presentations include: Moving Towards Sustainability, Questioning the Invasive Species Paradigm, Urban Permaculture, Northeast Permaculture, and Natural Building Alternatives: Strawbale, Cob and Living Roofs.
UMass Faculty Sponsor: Permaculture Design at Sirius (NRC 398B)