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Advanced Permaculture Course in Optical Surveying for Earthworks and Water

(Watch a short video of Tom showcasing designs that utilize the skills taught in this course here.)

Basic surveying and layout are essential skillsets for every farmer, homesteader, designer, and consultant. In this six-day course (Sept. 8-13), Tom Ward teaches the use of many types of analog (non-battery operated) surveying tools, along with advanced skills in keyline, pond and swale layout, mapping skills, and other core competencies for design and execution of permaculture projects.

Students will become familiar with swale, terrace, ditch and pond layout, profile cross-section drawing, keyline and trail system locating, solar assessment, ditch and wiggle water way layout, small cabin orientation and pad layout, staking, note taking, and compass and map reading. We will use telescope-like devices and other hand tools such as sight levels, pocket transits, builders levels, A-frames and various vertical measurement rods, as well as measuring tapes and wheels. The course will include flagging for trails, swales and ponds, as well as observations on the landscape with mapping of topographic, ecological, and cultural data.

The 72-Hour Permaculture Design Course is a prerequisite for getting an advanced certificate from this course. Others may have the certificate held until they have a PDC certificate. You must complete all six days of the course to get your certificate. The course is open to all who have a working knowledge of Permaculture.

Course Details

When: September 8-13, 2012

Where: Atlan Center, White Salmon, WA (More about venue below)

Course Fees

A deposit of $200.00 is due with registration. At time of registration, you can indicate when you will be ready to pay the remaining balance. Remaining balance required to secure early bird pricing will be due by the following dates:

Early Early Bird (Before 7/1): $895.00

Early Bird (Before 8/1): $995.00

Full Price (After 8/1): $[masked]*

*Full payment must be received no later than 9/1

Required Tools

Pocket Transit: You need a pocket transit for this course. A pocket transit combines a compass and clinometer. We have tried many, but we are now recommending the Silva Ranger 515 CL (NOT the "CLQ"). As of 3/22/12, available from Amazon for $36.95. We have also used the Brunton Eclipse 8099 and found it reliable. We found the Brunton Pro to be flawed.

Hand Level: We recommend the Johnson Hand Level which has thinner lines and a split screen ($16 at Amazon).

Pocket Survey Rod: The Keson Pocket Rod available at Amazon for $14.30.

Other Items

Pencils, clip board with rain protection, and 1/4 inch graph paper pad.

Other helpful items include engineers rule or wooden ruler, 100 meter/foot tape, walking wheel, transit, jacob's staff or tripod. We have much of this but if you have any of these tools, please bring them and you will have more practice with your own tools. We will check the accuracy of levels by back and fore shots. A surveying vest with pockets galore would be great.

Students are strongly encouraged to purchase and bring a pocket transit and hand level.

Additional Info

Course Site: Atlan Center is an aspiring ecovillage situated on 150 acres of ~90 year old Grand Fir forest and White Oak woodlands. The site offers a topographically, ecologically, and geologically diverse site that provides a compelling living laboratory for the exploration of advanced curricula in permaculture design.

Vicinity: The course site is located in rural Washington, about 10 minutes from the City of White Salmon, WA, and 15 minutes from Hood River, OR. Additionally, Atlan Center is located in an oasis of recreational opportunities. There are extensive kayaking/rafting, single track mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and other recreational opportunities within walking/biking/short driving distance of the site.

Camping: We will provide improved campsites in a communal camping area, with a rustic outdoor kitchen, picnic tables, potable water, and toilette facilities. Participants will be responsible for their own tents, sleeping bags, camp chairs, etc. (Participants will be provided with a comprehensive list of things to bring for maximum comfort.)

Weather: Average weather for early September at the site are highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s. That said, daytime temperatures could easily be in the 90s, and night lows could reach into the 30s. Rain is not common in September, but a rainstorm or two is certainly possible. Please bring camping gear and clothing that will allow you to be comfort at any of these possible extremes.

Other Lodging Opportunities: If for any reason tent camping is not feasible for you, there are opportunities for indoor accommodations adjacent to the site that may be available at an additional cost. Please inquire if you would like to explore this option.

Food: Delicious and hearty lunches and dinners will be provided every day of the course. Soy, wheat, and dairy will be included in some meals, but avoided where practicable. Meat will be served with many of the meals, but prepared as a separate dish so those who do not eat it still have plenty of options. We will do our best to meet additional dietary constraints. Continental-style breakfast will be provided as well (Granola/milk, fruit, etc.)

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  • Gloria B.

    Hey everyone Im really wanting to learn all this course offers. Not that it really matters but just wondering if there are any other women registered, also about the accomodations? Hope I can make it. please feel free to let me know if any of you have more information. Gloria

    August 29, 2012

    • Lainy

      Hi Gloria, I am a girl registered for the course ~ not sure what the accomodations are ~ I was planning on camping ~

      August 30, 2012

    • Joelle B.

      I am attending the course and a female!! It seems to me that we shall be camping! ;-)

      September 5, 2012

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