Permaculture Design Course at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano


I can’t think of a better place to earn a permaculture design certification than the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. Their PDC course starts up soon . . . 

Dive deeper into hands-on ecological design with this 3-month certification course in Orange County exploring food, water, waste, energy, and shelter, and become an eco-advocate! Read on for details and download the application.

Facilitator: Jeff Davis, [email protected]

Description: Under the tutelage of agro-ecologist Evan Marks and other permaculture professionals, increase your knowledge of applied sustainability by joining us in this 72-hour, permaculture design certification course. Gather the tools and practical, systemic solutions to repair and benefit our local ecosystems and environment. Engage hands-on sustainability and understand how to integrate it into your own life, home, and community.

This course is for homeowners, renters, educators, business leaders, designers, architects, builders, gardeners, farmers, ranchers, landscapers, developers, environmentalists, activists, students and more…anyone with a desire to learn and apply the principles of permaculture to create a more sustainable life.

To download the application head over here.

Course Organization: March 29 – June 19

Every other Saturday/Sunday from 10am – 4pm.

10am-11am – Design charrette

11am-noon – Lecture

noon-1pm – Lunch break

1pm-4pm – Hands-on workshop/demo

Schedule will vary on days with off-site engagement

Course Objectives: The intention of this course is that each apprentice will graduate as an eco-advocate who can better design human settlement. This course will shape how we think about community and culture, as a whole and individually, resulting in a holistic approach toward greater, more sustainable civilization for all.

Texts and Recommended Supplies: A digital course reader with supplemental readings is uploaded via Dropbox ( Directions for downloading a dropbox account for access to these readings will be provided. Access to a computer, with internet connection, is recommended. Design supplies, including colored pencils, tracing paper, rulers, compasses, will be provided by The Ecology Center; participants of the course are certainly welcome to bring their own supplies.

Certification Criteria: Completion of 72 education hours (12 sessions across 3 months) including participation in all workshops, plus a practicum (to be discussed later). In addition, any work study and scholarship commitments will need to be completed by the end of the course (June 19). Attendance at all sessions is considered mandatory for certification.

Course fees: $895/$850 for member of The Ecology Center

Please note, a non-refundable deposit of $200 is required to reserve your space. Work-trade and educator scholarships available. In addition, we are pleased to offer 1 Outstanding Student Full Scholarship.

Course Topics: Each weekend will focus on a different theme and associated topics.

MARCH 29 / INTRO TO PERMACULTURE – Design philosophy, ethics, basic principles, site observation, zones, and sector analysis, climate, seasonal weather, micro-climates, site observation of The Ecology Center, zone 1 design exercise and more…

MARCH 30 / ECOLOGICAL DESIGN – Intro to design process, elements of design, presentation graphics, interview, site analysis, group brainstorm, mapping with graphics

APRIL 12 / WATER – Water in context, water systems, homescale vs. large scale, appropriate scale technologies. Presentation on rainwater and greywater basics, fundamental earthworks basics, observation and mapping water excersize, greywater workshop, rain barrel building demo

APRIL 13 / WATER OFF-SITE – including larger scale home systems design, hands-on rain barrel/greywater systems, watershed basics, home install of 1,500 gl tank, tour of home and greywater systems, tour of nearby Trabuco Creek, group design brainstorm, large-scale watershed restoration, earthworks

APRIL 26 / FOOD – Tour of South Coast Farms, discussion of common organic farming practices, agroecology, fruit tree care, planting, guild assembly, home garden design/consideration, fruit trees and food forests, orchard design workshop

APRIL 27 / FOOD OFF-SITE – Guided tour of various farms in Vista, Tour of permaculture plant nursery, build plant lists

MAY 10 / WASTE – Composting methods, nutrient cycle overview (nitrogen, carbon cycles), soil science overview, building biomass- focus in permaculture, keeping backyard chickens, composting methods workshop / build a worm bin

MAY 11 / ENERGY + SHELTER – Passive solar design, walk through an energy audit, how to read a utility bill, ‘going solar,’ tour of energy-efficient home, design an alternative energy plan for your own energy-efficient home / home-scale energy audit

MAY 31 / DESIGN OFF-SITE – Perform client interview/determine clients needs/wants; budget considerations; site walk; sector analysis; mapping of space; create a design + plan, group design time with guided mentoring

JUNE 1 / ALTERNATIVE FUTURE – Social entrepreneurship lectures with various profesionals in the field, conceptualize/outline a business plan integrating permaculture (ie. nursery, preserving food, teaching, landscaping etc.)

JUNE 14 / APPLIED PERMACULTURE – Large-scale / global permaculture projects, past Eco-Apprentices project updates

JUNE 19 / FINAL GROUP PRESENTATIONS – Group presentations, potluck, evaluations, feedback, favor and information exchange

Scholarships and work/study opportunities exist thanks to the generous support of The Boeing Company Global Corporate Citizenship Fund, SDG&E Environmental Champions, and the Center for Living Peace.

To register, complete the Permaculture Design Course Application and submit by email to [email protected]

*For proper consideration time, we ask that scholarship and work/study applications be submitted no later than March 16th.

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