This transformational 12-week program introduces five spheres of sustainability — Personal, Social, Ecological, Economic, and Worldview — and integrates classroom learning with an immersion experience in our 27-year-old intentional community.
Students earn two internationally recognized certificates: the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), which is the global standard in permaculture education, and the Ecovillage Design Education Certificate (EDE), a holistic sustainability standard anchored by Gaia Education and recognized by UNESCO.
Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple. –Bill Mollison
If you want to be part of a movement of people who work for sustainability, discover viable ways to live harmoniously with communities and ourselves, and thereby become more resilient in the world, join the Holistic Sustainability Semester.
This program is a good fit for individuals who are:
- aware of the ecological crisis on the planet and want to learn ways to be part of the solution
- seeking deep and meaningful social connection, going beyond the superficial
- taking time off to develop sustainable and environmental approaches on their career & life paths OR students who would like to set do an independent study program (credit to be arranged by student)
- interested in learning fundamental skills to participate responsibly in a sustainable society
- seeking to cultivate personal enrichment in a community context
- seeking healthy outlets for creativity
- consider themself to be in a transition and period of discernment
- pursuing a higher quality of life with a smaller ecological impact
“At Lost Valley I learned how to co-exist in harmony with people, all living beings, and mother Earth. I am inspired to fulfill my life purpose of building healthy community. I feel clear, focused, and passionate.” — Nicole R.
Classes run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9am-4:45pm. Monday focuses on the social and economic sides, Wednesday the ecological sphere (as a standalone Permaculture Design course), and Friday on worldview and personal sustainability. Learning is reinforced by the community immersion. Activities on non-class days include:
- connect with community during shared meals
- kitchen cook & clean shift, with another student or resident (5 hrs once per week)
- working in the community gardens, with residents and other students (2 hrs once per week)
- integrate the previous day’s lessons and prepare for the next day’s
- participate in occasional classes offered by residents such as sound healing, meditation, yoga, dance, fermentation workshops, etc.
- engage with community processes such as meetings and forums, as well as leisure activities such as saunas and spontaneous social & musical events
Many participants end up citing the community experience as an unexpected highlight – they are so happy to engage with real people who don’t hide behind devices and fences. This is so much more than just a course – it’s an experience!
“Lost Valley is an inspirational education center that encourages students to find their passion and immerse themselves in something new and exciting. I learned a lot of new skills, information, and resources that I can take with me to other aspects of my life. Lost Valley and its residents/mentors have inspired me to use permaculture in new ways and address problems with a new attitude.” — Kayla B.
The land and other attractions nearby:
One step on the land at Lost Valley reveals a world many describe as serene, magical, and healing. An 87-acre nature sanctuary with ancient oak savanna meadow dating to indigenous times create a world of its own in the Willamette Valley. Anyone traveling from the city can experience a much-longed-for connection with nature — sounds of traffic are replaced with bird songs, and walks are filled with a diversity of edible berries and other wild plants. Deer roam the land comfortably and the creek cools humans off after hot summer days. Every season boldly defines itself with the changing colors on trees and beautiful frost covered grasses. Camas, once a staple to local Native Americans, proliferates in some areas and red jasper stones are uncovered in others.
Those who live here connect with and steward the land in both a personal and communal way. Stargazing in the meadow, singing around a campfire, enjoying the earthen sauna, hiking the trails, cultivating and wildcrafting herbs, interacting with the chickens, meditating at sunrise, digging in the garden, enjoying the food forests, and creating harmonious connections with community. Nearby: In addition, there are many great destinations nearby. We are 30 minutes from Eugene, considered by some to be the greenest city in the U.S. An hour further is the coast, with sand dunes, cliffs, and vistas of the same calibre as the more famous California coast. To the east are the Cascade Mountains with peaks up to 10,000 feet, extensive hiking, world-class mountain biking, and multiple hot springs. We are lucky to be situated in such a great location.
- tent camping
- shared rooms
- private room
- communal kitchen access
- communally cooked meals
- fast: streaming video
Visit lostvalley.org to learn more about the Holistic Sustainability Semester, then fill out the online application. If admitted, register and plan. Arrive at our location at 81868 Lost Valley Lane, Dexter, OR.
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