Permaculture Practicum in Water and Forestry Systems

September 24 to November 2, 2018

Join us for six weeks of applied hands on education as we explore the regenerative power of trees and water to restore landscapes, increase farm resilience, and increase economic health.  This course is designed for farmers, land owners, contractors, and students seeking to deepen their on-the-ground Permaculture skill-set at a level that empowers them to design and install regenerative forest and water systems on their land and within their communities.  This program is suitable for both someone new to Permaculture or someone with prior education and experience wanting to take the next step in their Permaculture studies. It is presented as a holistic framework for planning and installing integrated Permaculture based forestry systems that are both ecologically regenerative and economically sustainable.

Aprovecho’s forest is a mosaic of wild woodland, riparian forest, conifer forest, orchards, forest gardens, and other agroforestry systems. The forest has been managed sustainably for a multitude of products for 30 years and sets a powerful example of long term regenerative forest management in the Pacific Northwest. This series is designed to contribute to an ongoing forestry planning process on Aprovecho’s site and is a unique opportunity to participate in the development of a 10-year Forest Stewardship Plan at Aprovecho. The Forest Stewardship plan, a project supported by the Oregon Department of Forestry, is a site specific plan which provides resources and recommendations for the use and conservation of forested lands.

This program has three integrated focus areas:

  • Agroforestry and Perennial Food Systems

This program embeds students within a working farm and forest environment.  Students will work with a diverse set of food production systems including sheet mulched and cultivated annual gardens, outdoor aquaculture systems, tree crop agroforestry, silvopasture, forest gardens, hedgerows and windbreaks, tended native savanna and riparian plant communities, mushrooms, and forest medicinals.  Direct management of a range of production schemes occur within a series of farm landscapes from intensive community scale production to broad acre applications.

  • Timber Based Forest Management

Using Aprovecho’s managed forest as a classroom, students will learn selective harvest and regenerative forest practices.  Topics covered include timber cruising, botanical survey, optical surveying and compass use, reading the forested landscape, forest ecology, tree falling and yarding, developing holistic forest stewardship plans, tool maintenance, and green woodworking.

  • Water Harvesting

We will cover the supply of water for home use as well as the integration of water into the systems described above.  Projects include the planning and installation of ponds and other water harvesting earthworks, optical surveying for earthworks, check dam construction and watershed restoration, bioswale and raingarden design, and greywater installation.

The Weekly Schedule

After a community meeting on Monday morning, students engage in both lecture and hands on projects through Thursday.  Friday is a day devoted to independent or group projects.

Applied and Hands On Learning

This course includes over 200 hours of direct hands on time.  Over the course of each week, students work with members of the Aprovecho community on our 40-acre land trust and within the extended community of non-profits, farmers, and homesteaders that neighbor our site in the installation and management of forest and water systems.

Personal Projects

Students have the opportunity to take on independent projects over the course of the Program.  Past projects have included research in mushroom insulation, undertaking optical surveying on our site, methane digester construction, and biochar production.  Aprovecho’s extensive library and local experts are available to assist in much of these independent projects.  We have an extensive list of suggestions for you!  You are also welcome to pursue your personal interests.


Students receive organic and locally sourced (often directly out of our garden) prepared meals Monday through Friday for lunch.  Meal shifts are shared between all students for breakfast and dinner and on weekends.  Organic and local food is supplied for your use.  Students have their choice of a shared dorm in our strawbale dormitory or their own campsite for this program.  All students have access to plentiful indoor space including a large common room, showers, kitchen and library as well as hiking trails and relaxation space.


Stay tuned for 2018 tuition rate.

There is a limited number of positions for this course.

We are now offering interest-free tuition financing to qualified residential students. To learn more about these options to finance your education at Aprovecho click here or call us at (541) 942-8198.

For more information please contact Abel Kloster at or call our office at 541.942.8198.

Click Here to Register for this Course!