Saint Stephens Church, Sebastopol CA
Here are some examples of site designs created by the OAEC permaculture class which provided the inspiration for the congregation to create their own master plan.
Church congregation members discuss their goals and aspirations for the site. They crafted a land stewardship vision to guide the group decision making process: To create “a welcoming, naturalistic garden, inspiring quiet contemplation that nurtures souls and spirits of all ages and backgrounds throughout the year.” Guided by permaculture instructor, Kendall Dunnigan, this group process is an example of OAEC’s Resilient Community Design.
The phases of implementation begin with the installation of a contemplative labyrinth with a surrounding food forest and pollinator garden. The second phase will transform the 1-acre asphalt parking area into more permeable surfaces for water infiltration and catchment. The third phase will build a playground for children and reinvigorate the entry way with more low-water, edible landscaping and trees. The fourth phase will be the integration of ecological principals into their Christian education programs.
In March 2019, OAEC’s Permaculture Design students installed the food forest in the front entrance area fo the church grounds as part of their community permaculture service project. They planted over 200 perennial plants! After several years of work with PDC instructor Kendall Dunnigan and members of the congregation to come up with a design plan for the grounds, this long-awaited installation by the PDC class was a momentous occasion!
As of June, the 250 trees and shrubs are doing well and filling out. The California poppies are bursting orange over the site. The project leads report that the Church members are thrilled with the results. Neighbors and church members have increased their use of the area for their evening strolls and dog walking. They are looking forward to phase two implementation this winter.