OAEC empowers place-based communities to design their own regenerative systems, building regional-scale resilience to global crises.
From tours to trainings, see what's happening at OAEC or co-sponsored by us this year.
Our Biodiversity Nursery offers thousands of varieties of open-pollinated plants through our seasonal Annuals Plant Sale events and Perennials Weekends.
There is nothing like learning by doing.
Join us March through November for a rare opportunity to tend the Wildlands Preserve at OAEC with knowledgeable OAEC staff.
Volunteers work on projects such as saving seed on native grasses and wildflowers; conducting restoration forestry activities such as thinning and limbing Douglas fir, preparing round poles for building projects, tending heritage oaks; creating habitat brush piles and bird boxes; and much more. We botanize, birdwatch, learn about the mammals and insects at home in the backcountry, and generally have a wild time!
For more information, contact Lindsay Dailey or call (707) 874-1557 ext. 127.
The Wildlands Program hosts courses with leading professionals working in the realm of wildlands management. Follow us to find out about upcoming 2015 courses!
In 2013, over 40 people gathered at OAEC for “Tending the Wild,” an OAEC course that melded indigenous knowledge with permaculture principles to address an issue that’s on many of our minds: how do we restore our degraded landscapes—and our relationships with those landscapes?
According to course instructors M. Kat Anderson and Dennis Martinez, “ownership” of natural resources in indigenous economic models means choosing stewardship. But because of the Western economic model’s emphasis on reaping maximum possible yields from land, many of us see “conservation” as one of two things:
Both of these ideas are based on the belief that humans are separate from nature, rather than a part of it, and that sustaining ourselves from a landscape is inherently destructive. The goal of Tending the Wild was to change that story.
Through hands-on field work, presentations and discussions, course participants learned not just how to restore land but also to “re-story” their relationship to place; to reawaken to the potential that human beings can not only peacefully “co-exist,” but also benefit the land and life around us with our presence. For instance, we saw that digging up native yampah (Perideridia gairdneri) roots not only provides a nutritious food source, but also loosens the soil for the benefit of the yampah population. And thinning douglas firs to build round-pole structures both creates housing and strengthens our keystone oak population, currently overcrowded by young fir trees.
Melissa Elgin, course participant and member of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, noted that the sheer number and diversity of people in attendance at Tending the Wild seemed to speak to the growing desire to remember ancient ways that have been forgotten in modern times.
“No matter who you are, wildtending is true to your ancestors,” Kat Anderson said on the first day of the course. It’s no wonder, then, that the yearning to reclaim our human ancestry—to again become of Place—is so widely felt.