Permaculture Goes to School
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  • 1. Permaculturegoes to school...An education and networking tool from Pacific Edge PermaculturePermaculture Paper No. 2 — Autumn1997... ideas and bibliography for permaculture educators ideas for permaculture educators 1
  • 2. By way of introduction... If there are titles you consider should be A work of included, please send them in the format which appears in the bibliographic listing many people... to Pacific Edge Permaculture. We can include them in updated listings. T he Permaculture in Schools information kit had its origin at Courses the Sixth International Courses on permaculture in schools are Permaculture Convergence which took occasionally offered. place during October 1996 in Bridgetown, Western Australia. Readers are referred to the course listings pages of the Permaculture International Pacific Edge Permaculture undertook to Journal (PIJ) for details. publish the information assembled by participants and distribute it. How-to information The PIJ carries a regular, two-page Aims section on working with children in The aim of the kit is to bring together the permaculture. titles of publications and other resources of potential use to people working in The section is produced by Brisbane-based permaculture projects in schools or permaculture in schools consultant, who are working in permaculture with Carolyn Nuttall, author of children in other circumstances. A Children’s Food Forest. Most of the resource listings were contributed by participants at the Approaches The articles which follow describe Permaculture in Schools Networking Day different approaches to designing following the 1996 Convergence. permaculture in school projects. Others were contributed by participants Whether you find an informal, small in Robyn McCurdy’s Children in projects approach, or a more formal, Permaculture course which took place larger project approach more applicable, immediately prior to the February 1995 we hope you find this education kit of national Permaculture Convergence at benefit to your work. Black Forest Primary School in Adelaide, South Australia. Content As well as the bibliography and resource listing, there are a number of articles. P a c i f ic • E d g e P ermaculture Thanks are due to all who attended the Æ Permaculture Design Courses — permaculture in schools sessions at the part time in Sydney convergences and who contributed to this Æ Home and community gardens — resource package, as well as to those who design and implementation have contributed since. Æ Desktop publishing and design — The package is not intended as a brochures, newsletters, publicity material complete listing of all publications of Æ NSW state contact — Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network relevance to the practice of permaculture in schools or to working with children in Æ Approved EarthWorks program trainers. permaculture. It simply aims to record Contact us at: those resources identified as useful ITVYV >WZX IXe`TVh_gheX by participants of the permaculture Fiona Campbell and Russ Grayson convergences. PO Box 446, Kogarah NSW 2217 Australia. Phone: 02 9588 6931 Email: pacedge@magna.com.au2 permaculture goes to school
  • 3. Permaculture goes to school... A t a time when school curricula Environmental education and are crowded and teachers are permaculture are natural allies. stretched almost to breaking point Their focus, however, is somewhat trying to get through everything they different, with environmental education are supposed to teach, the chances of concentrating on the wellbeing of the permaculture making incursions into the natural environment and permaculture education system appear minimal. focusing on the production of human But the unexpected is happening. needs. Permaculture is making inroads into Given the widespread perception of schools. incompatibility between the wellbeing Not only is this happening in the affluent of natural systems and the provision of world where permaculture originated, it is human needs — an erroneous notion also happening in developing countries. perpetuated by some environmentalists and others quoted in the popular media There, the link between food, shelter, — it would appear that permaculture clean water and communities is and environmental education should be frequently more direct than in the incompatible. developed world. Because permaculture is primarily concerned with access to these The truth, as practitioners of basic human needs, it has a pertinency in permaculture design know, is that developing countries often lacking in the positive environmental outcomes flow Western world. from good design which incorporates the needs of human populations and the The two artilcles An Australian trend environmental contexts in which theywhich follow describe In Australia, permaculture’s move into live.different approaches to schools is a trend mainly of the past five It is in this sense that permaculturepermaculture in schools years. education and environmental education project design. There were permaculture in school are compatible and are natural allies. The first was used in a projects before that time, of course, but As practitioners of a whole systems design project in inner-urban permaculture in schools only really methodology, permaculture designers and Sydney. The second, opened up in a substantive way as a permaculture in schools educators knowby Robyn McCurdy,was developed for the new area of permaculture application in that good design plans for the wellbeingTlhelego Development comparative recent times. of both human societies and the natural Project in rural Now, it is building its own body of environments they occupy and derive South Africa. knowledge and practical skills. Experience their livelihood from.The ideas are presented is leading to the development of people only as a guide. with some expertise in the area, not all of Current status them with formal teaching qualifications. With several years of experience now It is important to behind it, where does the practice ofdesign projects so they are compatible with Environmental education permaculture in schools currently stand? local circumstances, Links are being made with the existing One thing which is evident is that it is environments, human teaching of environmental education in becoming more widely accepted as a cultures and resource the school system for which there exists, valued input into the school experience, availability. in a number of states, formal curricula particularly for primary students. material, structures and experience. ideas for permaculture educators 3
  • 4. conservation of these resources and the Food gardens will of school administration to act on the Characteristically, permaculture enters data resulting from the audits, have the into the school in the form of food potential to reduce energy and water use gardening. and to reduce school expenditure on these Permaculture designers are well aware resources. that gardening is only one component of permaculture design, however it is Auditing wastes perhaps the easiest to use as an opening The waste audit, having identified types into the schools and the most interesting of wastes, their sources and quantities, blah for the students. has the potential to be developed into a blah strategy for dealing with them. blah.. Permaculture food gardens, true to the permaculture design principle of This would involve: multifunction, can be linked with science, Æ waste separation mathematics, studies of local and global Æ recycling of food and garden wastes food systems and other curricula subjects through the school’s permaculture and become truemultiuser sites. garden composting or vermiculture This encourages greater use and makes (worm farming) system the garden’s sustainability more assured. Æ reuse and recycling of paper and other wastes An urgent role Æ strategies for the reduction of wastes, There is an urgent role which which normally go to landfill, such as permaculture school gardens may have introducing the practice of minimal- potential to fill. waste lunches (packaging reduction). Nutrition and health are seldom a primary use for the school permaculture Whole school design garden in affluent countries where people A further use of permaculture design in see food as something to be bought rather schools is in the development of whole ...a further than self-produced. school design. use of Given the will, it may be possible to link This involves a thorough analysis of these issues with initiatives such as the the existing school ground — a role permaculture Healthy Breakfast program operating for sector and site analysis as practiced design in in some Sydney council areas. This is a in permaculture design — and the response to children turning up at school participative development of plans to schools is without eating breakfast or without having a lunch. enhance: in the Æ individual and class learning To fulfil this role, permaculture school development opportunities garden projects would have to be Æ shade and shelter from unpleasant of whole upgraded to a higher level of organisation winds and planning. school Æ the internal climate of buildings by In some developing countries, school food shading and solar access through design... gardens already fulfil a nutritional role. the use of evergreen and deciduous plantings, and structures such as Resource auditing pergolas and trellising Other roles for permaculture education Æ areas for active, imaginative and within the school system other than food creative play gardening include auditing the school Æ areas for useful plants and animals use of energy and water and auditing the Æ natural areas production of wastes. Energy and water audits, when combined with the development of strategies for the4 permaculture goes to school
  • 5. Æ areas presenting opportunities for Project sustainability quite reflection, small and large group The designer is unlikely to be able to discussion and socialising contribute to the same project for years Æ areas for adults. on end, unless they are a parent of a student at the school or a teacher or Students, parents, local community groundsperson. people, teachers and school administration should rightly be involved It follows that planning for project...facilitation, in a design of this magnitude, no matter sustainability in the absence of direct how protracted its implementation. designer involvement be a part of design. negotiation, Education is the key to this — education of conflict People skills a necessity interested teachers and local supporters of Participative design calls for well the school. resolution developed people skills in the permaculture designer if they are to lead Work in this area in Australia has been and a the process and implement its community started by Robyn McCurdy, Ross Mars and range of input stages. Salli Ramsden, among others. However, it will have to become more widespreadparticipatory Facilitation, negotiation, conflict if projects are not to go into decline if an resolution and a range of participatory enthusiastic teacher is transferred or if the skills are skills are useful techniques for the permaculture designer moves on to other permaculture in schools activist to acquire useful through appropriate adult evening things.techniques.. college courses, books and audio tapes. Networks to worknets Techniques developed by Edward de Bono, If permaculture is a means to taking such as the Six Thinking Hats, positive/ local action on global issues as well as of negative/ interesting comparisons, addressing local concerns, then we need to organising and exploring diagrams would develop effective networks which include prove of benefit in simplifying the process people in different countries as well as and maintaining participant focus. people from our own regions. The idea is to turn these networks into Challenges worknets through which we can advise If permaculture designers are to become and, where possible, physically assist each further involved in education, then other. there will be a need to develop skills in participative design, the groundwork This was a reason for organising the for which was laid by Robyn McCurdy Permaculture in Schools networking day at the 1995 Permaculture Convergence at the 1996 International Permaculture workshops in Adelaide. Convergence in Bridgetown, Western Australia. Development of design skills and those A large core of people active in the area pertinent to working successfully with came together on that occasion. More groups of people will be of advantage. have signalled their interest since. So will the ability to develop designs It is now up to individuals to take the which are achievable within budget, initiative and use the skills, knowledge which are constructed to a timeline and and experience available through this which can be integrated into the curricula. network. Then we will be on our way to turning the permaculture in schools network into a functioning worknet. ideas for permaculture educators 5
  • 6. Participatory Permaculture ethics permaculture design... The ethics guide the overall direction of permaculture and Permaculture works when the designer provide a takes the principles of permaculture Work chunks reference by which design and adapts their application to Even within a small stage, further projects can be the circumstances and characteristics of dividing the job into chunks of work leads assessed. different sites and groups of people. to its completion in a logical order. The work chunks can be placed on a timeline Permaculture This is how the designer adapts if necessary; those requiring finishing ethics provide permaculture to different design contexts. before the next step started and those a framework, which can be done in parallel identified. encouraging These contexts consist of: designers to address Doing small work chunks in parallel, Æ the physical characteristics of the site the real needs of the providing there are enough people to do and the surrounding catchment Earth and its people. the work, saves time. Æ the needs of the client group Æ availability of funding, time and other resources Let’s imagine... developing a whole school plan Care of Æ the motivation and commitment of participants. This might be broken down into a the Earth number of discrete but connected stages: • caring for the soil, Small, manageable stages Æ site and sector analysis including water, atmosphere, Implementing a larger project as a analysis of the surrounding catchment plants, forests, connected series of small stages rather, area animals than dissipating energy and motivation Æ survey of school and community needs by tackling too large a segment at a time Æ energy/ water/ waste audits Care of or by trying to implement bits of several stages over a longer time period. This Æ developing the brief, a vision for the people makes a large project manageable and school grounds • providing essential achievable. Æ permaculture participatory design process needs of food, The idea is to break larger projects into shelter, clean Æ presentation to school community smaller stages, tackle them one at a time, water, healthcare, consolidate each as it is completed (don’t Æ plans of action education, leave small bits unfinished), then move Æ implementation: livelihood, on to the next small stage.  workshops conviviality The completion of each small stage can  food garden be treated as a milestone on the way to  rainforest garden Contribution the successful completion of the entire  bush food forest • distributing surplus project.  plantings for shade and wind resources Don’t forget to celebrate your milestones. protection • limiting A few well chosen words with the group,  pergola/ trellis construction consumption participants explaining what they liked/  pond/ mini-wetland for ecology didn’t like about the work and a mini- • taking studies celebration helps maintain morale and responsibility motivation.  active and passive, creative and for our lifestyles imaginative play areas and actions  Rotary Trees for Survival, native tree propagation shadehouse installation6 permaculture goes to school
  • 7.  community arts component It follows that project sustainability isPermaculture  adult areas something which should be considered during the design stage.principles...  access to the various components  manual for teachers on integrating Education of particpants is one way to Attitude... project into the school curriculum. ensure sustainability. Another means• see solutions, not of doing this is to form a design team These, together, constitute the of people from the local area who have problems redevelopment of the school grounds and some permaculture training. They can • be effective as link to the academic life of the school. be supplemented by others with relevant well as efficient Designed to complement one another, skills such as teaching, facilitating,• co-operate rather appropriate technology, architecture, the components may be implemented than compete. over a protracted period of time as horticulture or landscape design separate mini-projects, so that they are knowledge. Taking action... manageable and so they can be started as A team approach to design accomplishes • minimise finance, time and other resources become two main things: maintenance and available. Æ it enables the project to continue inenergy inputs while The most appropriate stage is selected as the event of a designer leaving maximising yield the starting point. Æ it upgrades the skills of permaculturists • work where it A school food garden or food forest, for and sets up a team of people capable counts; educate instance, is a stage of the total project of taking on other projects in their people who which can be broken down into a local area. want to learn series of smaller steps to be carried out Breaking the project into smaller stages • assist people to in sequential order — site and sector and, if useful, breaking those stages downbecome self reliant. analysis, site clearance, measuring into work chunks may make the sequence and marking out garden beds, soil of events clearer to participants, make aThe biosphere... improvement, plant propagation, large project seem achievable and make planting out and maintenance. • work with nature implementation more manageable.rather than against it Work chunks such as propagation can be Working with a design team ensures • use diversity to carried out in parallel with other works project sustainability and improves if a small amount of time is dedicated toencourage stability. the design skills of team members by the activity at each work meeting. This experience on a real project with all its provides a variety of work for students. Design for opportunities and limitations. human The completion of each of these work chunks is marked by a participatory settlement... appraisal of how it was carried out, • bring food providing a review of procedures and production back reinforcing the learning for the students. to the cities to The process is then followed by a mini-minimise impact on celebration to mark the completion of the land the segment and the transition to the • use everything to next, creating an acknowledgement ofits highest capacity; the value of the student’s work and an recycle all wastes anticipation of the next stage. and design for multifunction Teams for sustainability • make the least When key personnel, those with technical change for the knowledge, enthusiastic teachers greatest possible or permaculture designers from the effect through community, leave a project, the entire process may be placed in jeopardy and, in good design. the worst cases, may collapse. ideas for permaculture educators 7
  • 8. The mindmaps on the following pages may be useful in planning the various stages of a permaculture in schools project. The order in which they are implemented would depend on the circumstances of the particular project... The design project... A school permaculture project starts with an idea. The idea is developed, then taken to the school principal to get some indication of school interest and project feasibility. Then, it’s time to present the idea to teachers and school groundspeople, parents and interested community members. A playground committee made up of parents, teachers, students and community members can be set up to work on and develop the design brief (a description of the project’s aims and purposes) and the design process. Successfully completed, the design moves into the implementation stage.8 permaculture goes to school
  • 9. Identifying outcomes... T he first stage of any design project is the asking of three questions: permaculture activists with skills appropriate to achieving our aim (skills may be identified) Æ where do we want to get to? Æ we will implement the garden project Æ where are we now? through a strategy made up of Æ how are we going to get there? achievable steps and implement the This is the situation analysis. The aim of project as resources permit. asking these three questions is to obtain The situation analysis has identified our group agreement on the aims of the goal — the point we want to reach — our project. Once this is done and recorded, present situation and the need for a broad everybody is working towards clear aims strategy to achieve our aim. We have now which have been agreed upon — they are identified and identified our project. heading in the same direction. The answers to our three questions Visioning — where do we should be short and concise, such as: want to get to? As part of this process participants Æ we will design, construct and plant visualise what the site might look like in out a permaculture garden using future, what components there will be in participatory techniques and with site and who has helped to develop the student, teacher and community site. involvement Æ we are a group of people including This information is then sorted to develop teachers, community members and a group vision for the site.Broad aimsidentified... ideas for permaculture educators 9
  • 10. Permaculture in schools — the benefits W hen proposing that a school take on a permaculture project, it might help to identify the benefits. These may presenting their different perspectives. No judgements are made at this stage about the content of the columns. Its important be broad benefits common to most to get down the ideas. permaculture in school projects or a set of Then, list the negative, staying with that benefits peculiar to the school’s situation. category until it is completed. Brainstorming The Interesting column will contain items Brainstorming ideas with a group of which do not fit readily into the Positive participants or a design team is one way or Negative columns as well as those of building up a list of benefits. resulting from ‘what if’ type of questions. People will have concerns about the The separate items can then be assessed. project, so it’s useful to deal with these openly and promptly. One way of doing this is to identify concerns at the same time that benefits are identified. This reduces the likelihood that the negative thinkers in the group A few broad benefits... will dominate the meeting with doom and gloom reasons why the project cannot work. Edward de Bono’s Positive/Negative/ Interesting table A Positive/ Negative/ Interesting (PNI) table enables permaculture designers to identify aspects of the project in a graphic framework. It brings together participant visions, fears, concerns and other points that don’t fit into positive or negative catagories. To make a PNI table, draw up three columns on a blackboard or on butcher’s paper and head these Positive, Negative and Interesting. Start by brainstorming and writing up the positive. Do not move on to the negative until positive ideas are exhausted. It doesn’t matter if there is disagreement on which column the idea belongs, people are just10 permaculture goes to school
  • 11. Permaculture in schools — the concerns T eachers and parents will be capable of listing numerous concerns about a proposed permaculture in schools project. circumstances may be different, they could provide a general guide to the reality of fears and concerns and how they have been dealt with. Some of their concerns will be valid for particular sites, some not. Some concerns may be ongoing while others will be episodic. Vandalism, All concerns should be treated as valid an issue which always comes up, has as they have probably all happened at proven to be a sporadic event rather than different times and in different places. All constant event in some schools. deserve careful consideration. A risk assessment identifying potential It may prove useful to be aware of hazards and ways they can be minimised how these concerns have been dealt may prove useful during this stage. with in other projects. Although their It is the role of the designer to develop aA few broad concerns... plan which minimises negative concerns. Teacher/ parent/ community concerns may include: Æ drain on school resources Æ ongoing maintenance of site, particularly in school holidays Æ vandalism Æ risk management and safety Æ supervision of students Æ use by after-school- hours drug users Æ developing teacher/ parent/ community motivation and skills to sustain project Æ aesthetics/ visual presentation Æ lack of parent and teacher time to put into site development Æ crowded curriculum, lack of time to use and develop the site Æ being left by designer to fend for themselves. ideas for permaculture educators 11
  • 12. Having completed the visioning process the brief/ site and sector analysis/ design and brainstormed benefits and concerns master plan/ working drawings and so In the action plan around the project, we assess whether on. template below, our design group is capable on achieving Responsibilities may be assigned or small the objective them. teams formed to carry out the stages. would be the A SWOT analysis is a means to assess this stage of the We identify the stages and plan when we because it discloses the groups strengths envisage achieving them, when we should project to be and weaknesses and identifies factors which could limit achievement of the start them, how long each stage is likely planned; the to last, which could be happening at the steps would vision. same time and which need to be finished be the work SWOT analysis before the next step can be started. chunks which Now is the time to do a SWOT analysis This produces a timeline or action plan are implemented of our team to assess our capability of and our stages become a set of objectives enacting the strategy and reaching our to complete the to be achieved. goal. The SWOT analysis identifies our: stage. Æ S — strengths; those things working in our favour Æ W — weaknesses; those skills and knowledge we lack but which we need to reach our goal Æ O — opportunities; factors beyond our own knowledge, skills and capabilities which would work in our favour Æ T — threats; those things which are likely to stand in our way of threaten the implementation and sustainability of the project. We now have a broad knowledge of where we stand and can assess whether we can achieve our vision. Scheduling the steps To implement our vision we proceed to action planning in which the key question is: What are the most important things to do to move towards our vision? This is where we identify and prioritise the stages of the project such as: develop12 permaculture goes to school
  • 13. Techniqies, organisational and teachingImplementation methods are assessed and he actual time ofHaving reached group agreement on the completion of the various stages are plotteddesign and timing for implementing the against the estimated time.project, it is time to start the first stage. This is prepared as a report to the schoolWe choose an easy-to-implement activity and other participants.of comparatively short duration toachieve a visible, quick result. This should Evaluatingmotivate participants. At the conclusion to a suitable period — after one year, for instance — an evaluationIt should be preceded by an introduction is carried out and written up in a reportto site safety — how to use tools safely, distributed to participants.appropriate clothing (shoes, hats,suncream), caution near cliffs or water This assesses the implementation of theand the importance of cleaning up the project and the effectiveness of:site on conclusion of the activity. Æ teaching methods Æ organisational structureThe activity should involve the use ofimagination, appropriate tools and skills Æ decision making processeswhich make use of learning relevant to Æ tools and components used in designschool subject areas. An example would implementationbe setting out garden beds and paths Æ problem areas, their causes andwhich utilises skills in measuring, map solutionsreading and spacial relationships. Æ areas of success and the reasons they succeededWith tools and other inputs organised Æ the actual with estimated completionto be on site on time, it is the role of times for the stages of the project.the designer and teachers to superviseimplementation, turning the activity into The evaluation lists suggestions fora learning experience, co-ordinating the project reorganisation. It is a documentwork and overseeing safety. of considerable value to other working in permaculture in schools.Concluding and reinforcingAt the conclusion to the activity it might Arrangements are made for the next stageprove useful to reinforce feelings of of project design and implementation.accomplishment.Gather participants into a circle, relax themand ask what they liked most and leastabout the activity, what was one thing theylearned and how the work could be donebetter next time. Decide the date and timeof the next work meeting.This is the concluding phase to theactivity.MonitoringMonitoring is done at regular intervals toassess how the project is progressing, toidentify problems and reinforce strengths.The conclusion of each school term may bean appropriate interval for monitoring andlessons learned can be used to modify thefollowing term’s program. ideas for permaculture educators 13
  • 14. Its olives and vegies at Black Forest... A delaides Black Forest Primary School operates a successful and long- running school food garden project, “If I was involved in this type of program again”, Grahan explained, “I would want more time to support teachers in their knowledge and skill development. thanks to the expertise and enthusiasm of project co-ordinator/teacher, Graham “If you or your school are considering aspects of environmental Hunt. Graham has integrated the project education, I would recommend that you develop a vision and into the school curriculum. school-wide commitment to achieve it. The relevance to children and their increased learning make it worthwhile.” Funding for the project was obtained as grants from the National Landcare Black Forest Primary School is probably unique in that the Program, Greening Australia, Trees for Life students are involved in the processing of olives into olive oil and from the parents of students. and its marketing to parents. Graham had to meet a number of The olive trees in the school are remnants of an old orchard which challenges, such as the development of occupied the site long before the school was built. staff support and training, production of written curriculum guidelines and lesson ideas and production of a resource file. Arts: Mime, Maths: Counting, drama, song, measuring, To allay fears that he was stuffing more Health/ PE: television, painting, graphing, Environmental into the curriculum than teachers and construction calculating health, air students could handle, Graham made sure monitoring, water Integrating Black pollution that environmental education at Black Forest primary Forest involved hands-on activities across garden with the curriculum. school curriculum Science: Technology: Design, Ecosystems, construction of For any permaculure food growing processes, mini-glasshouses, investigations, development to succeed, according to compost bins and English: Story writing, speaking, energy, gas Graham, a co-ordinator with gardening energy efficient emissions, systems newsletters, knowledge and communications skills is a research, posters. necessity. So is the participation of parents resources and the support of teachers. School needs Integration of project with curricula Assessing needs... Identification of educational outcomes of project Designers needs Low establishment and maintenance costs Clear brief about needs of school and students Safety of students and staff; risk minimisation Knowledge of curricula and how project will be Supervision of students integrated Positive public image Good communication and people skills Attractive appearance Information about resources school will Assistance with integration into make available to maintain project curricula, ongoing project Co-operation by and education of maintenance grounds and maintenance staff Support from parent groups Student needs Learning opportunities Parents/ community needs Space for recreation, quiet sitting, socialising Childrens and community safety Project design which stimulates interest Visually attractive Practical, innovative integration in curriculum No pollution - noise, odour, visual Adventurous but low-risk environment14 permaculture goes to school
  • 15. CASE STUDYParticpatory design of school grounds......designed and trialled by Robyn McCurdy, Tlholego Development Project, South AfricaIn 1995, Robyn McCurdy, fromTui Community, New Zealand, Survey a representative sample of what is taking place on a particular piece ofbegan working with the Tlholego Base survey land.Development Project in South Africa. Construct a survey relevant for the age and abilities of the students, Starting from one perimeter,The Tlholego rural development including language abilities, for use walk across the land to the othertraining and living centre utilises in small groups. perimeter. Observe closely whatpermaculture and a host of allied lives along that line, mapping itstrategies in pursuit of their aim of If short on time, each group may take a different aspect of the survey as you go to gain a cross-sectionself reliance. and report their findings back to the of the natural features.This is an outline of participatory class. If there is plenty of time, eachprocesses developed at Tlholego for Method group completes the entire survey.the design of school grounds. 1. Divide the class into groups of Map three to seven studentsThe areas covered are: The teacher supplies a scale map on — equip each group takes aÆ Needs assessment A3 paper on which students draw map showing fixed features,Æ Survey and write information. Alternatively, pencil, pressing board, take the time to teach the students in masking tape, trowel andÆ Water storage assessment groups of three to five to draw up a large bagÆ Inventory of bioregional scale map. resources — allocate each group a For a rough approach, stride out the letter such as A,B,C forÆ Ideas from other schools and perimeter of your school grounds, identification, and write all permaculture teaching sessions then, with a sharp stick, draw in the the members names on the soil the shape of the grounds and top of the mapÆ Visioning exercise work out where buildings and fixedÆ Decision-making process features are located in this. — each group takes a different starting point so a variety ofÆ Identifying necessary materials Change the lines, shapes and cross-sections are produced.Æ Budgetting placement of buildings until the group agrees. 2. Choose a beginning place on oneÆ List priorities for implementation perimeter and an ending place Count the number of strides on the opposite peritmeterÆ Funding between structure and features andÆ Allocation of tasks and scale this down proportionally. Draw — students walk an imaginary reponsibilities another map and compare with the line from perimeter to original. Put in co-ordinates for north, perimeter, looking carefully atÆ Go for it, and have fun! the ground up to one metre south, east and west. either side of the imaginaryNeeds assessment You now have the beginnings of a lineCarry out a brainstorming session map for your school. — students note what is seenand draw up as a mind map on a big Draw a grid on a large sheet of paper — vegetation, hollows, moistchart in front of the class. and transfer your drawing in soil onto spots, erosion, trees, changesUse headings of students, teachers, this paper, again using proportional to soil type, insects, humpsthe environment, local community. scaling. etc.Do the process with the wider You could do a rough sketch map 3. In their plastic bags groupscommunity. first then a neater one later. collect specimens of plants, soil types, litter etcNeeds will become evident as you Transectconduct your survey. A transect is an important part of — specimens are labelled with the survey. The purpose is to gain masking tape or paper labels ideas for permaculture educators 15
  • 16. in the numeric order (1,2,3 specimen numbers. amount of rain would be caught Participatory school design... etc) that they are gathered as if there was a roof of whatever 11. Remove plant pressings after slope in between as rain falls — the name of the group is several weeks. down like a sheet); it is easier to written alongside each measure the floor area rather than number and the sample 12. Stick plant pressings onto the large map climbing onto the roof to take number recorded on the map measurements where the specimens are — groups write the names of gathered. specimens alongside them on 3. Knowing these two figures, you the map will be able to work out the 4. Soil samples are taken at regular amount of harvestable rainfall intervals along the transect to a — the result is a map showing over the rainy season; multiply total of about five samples about what the entire school the average monthly rainfall by three hands deep (filling the hole grounds is made up of the surface area of your roof and afterwards) you get the amount of rainfall it is — draw in the prevailing wind, — each is placed in a separate areas receiving most sunshine, possible to catch and store each bag labelled with the location shade etc. month along the transect where it 4. Determine the school’s water was taken 13. The map and the soil study allows students to interpret areas consumption over a period by — after returning to class, in need of erosion control, low adding together calculations for students place each sample damp places for wetlands and drinking, toilets, washing and in a jar of water, shake it, water-loving plants, dry flat areas garden use: and leave it to settle for a for sports, fertile soil for garden — drinking: show students one, few hours to determine areas and so on. two and five litre containers the composition of the soil and ask what amount of a — clay, sand, silt, loam etc Water storage container they would drink in a day; — the type of soil will affect what use can be made of the assessment To calculate the capacity of water add all answers for a class particular area of land. total then divide by the storage tanks appropriate to the 5. If the plant samples can be situation, you need to determine number of students in the identified, students write the the amount of water the school uses class to get an average for the information on their map or on a over a given period, the available whole class — ie representing separate sheet. catchment area and the amount of one student; water which can be harvested. 6 Unidentified species are multiply this by the number researched and identified by Method (these are mathematics of students in the school, local common name and botanic lessons in their own right): then by the number of name later. days a month to gain an 1. Find the annual rainfall and the approximation of the amount 7. On completion of thefirst rainy months — ask weather of water drunk by students transect, make another transect bureau, find closest source of over a month between two other perimeters, weather information; for the carrying out the same sampling. future, set up a rain gauge and — toilets and washing: if you keep regular records; add the use water for toilet flushing, 8. Each group makes a presentation rainfall figures for each month of how much water per flush upon completion of the the year to get the annual total multiplied by the number of transects. and divide by 12 to find the flushed a day, average student 9. Collected plant specimens are average monthly rainfall visits to the toilet; pressed between newspaper 2. Calculate the total catchment to calculate a monthly and something heavy placed on area from school building roofs average for the whole school, top so the plants are pressed flat. by measuring the surface area of multiply the number of 10. Draw a large map of the school the floor (length multiplied by students by the number of area, enlarging the scale of fixed breadth) of the building which days a month at school features from the original maps has rainfall catchment guttering for washing, place a basin using a grid system; draw every on its roof (imagine the building beneath the tap and pour group’s transect onto the large without a roof, with rain falling the collected water from the map and include the location of onto the floor — the same16 permaculture goes to school
  • 17. basin into a receptacle of to install several smaller tanks — it uses verbal expression and Participatory school design... known capacity; (perhaps one for each roof area) creative expression through art amounting to the same volume as media; it begins by looking at the similarly for dish washing; one large tank. broadscale through class interviews, multiply this daily water use key questions and mind maps as for washing by the number 7. Cost the materials to make tools; the wider community can be of students by the number of the tanks, investigating cost involved in this process. days at school in a month for different materials such as fibreglass, plastic, wire mesh and — garden: mark out a square cement; determine whether the Decision making metre of garden and run a labour would be without cost or Selection panel hose onto the soil until the would be added to the budget. Narrow down the ideas listed in the soil shows a sheen of water; visioning exercise by applying the time how long the hose ran Inventory of following checklist: from turning on the tap to turning it off; bioregional resources Æ is it popular Survey industrial by-products in Æ does it bring about healthy take two buckets and run the the region available for recycling conditions water again for the same time, and under what arrangements; eg counting the number of filled cardboard boxes, grass clippings, Æ is it useful to the majority of buckets for the time; sacks, wood offcuts etc; ask family students and friends employed in such places multiply the result by the Æ is it relatively simple to make to make enquiries and put aside number of square metres useful materials for times the school Æ does it require regular of garden plus trees in the can arrange its collection; businesses maintenance over the longer term early establishment stage and and local authorities are generally you have an approximate Æ are the costs reasonable sympathetic to school projects. water usage for one watering session; Æ does it fit the school’s broad Ideas from other vision/ mission/ purpose. multiply this by the number of waterings a day and the schools and Have a panel — elected or number of watering days permaculture appointed — of no more than seven people, preferably less, decide on a year (subtracting the approximate number of rainy teaching sessions the design for the school. days) and you have some Inspiration and ideas can come idea of your total garden from audio-visual documentation Scale model water consumption. of what other schools have done, Using paper machee make the regardless of where they are in topography of the land thick enough5. Look up annual rainfall figures the world; sophisticated designs to stick things onto and support and find out the average longest can often be modifies and made them; the group makes (or has period between good falls of simpler; expensive materials can made) a model of the grounds rain; be substituted with cheaper or and fixed features, to scale - and recycled materials; direct teaching adds to this model all of the new — work out how much water of permaculture themes and design features, using representatvie you would use during this dry approaches to design can provide symbols to convey additions. The period; information to fuel inspiration and model should show the design as — by multiplying the number commitment. implemented and at maturity. Stages of days of dry period by of the design (eg. at one year on, 5 the amount of daily water consumption you can Visioning exercise years, 10 years) should be shown separately on large paper, preferably There is a difference to providing calculate how much water with overlays. what you need and what you you need to store; take this as want; it is important to identify and Grounds layout a minimum amount. provide for essential needs; it is Prepare the grounds for presentation6. Estimate the size of tanks or empowering to create what you so that people who have input storage to hold this amount want — as long as it is attainable can see what the design really and determine what size and fits the purpose and character means on the ground; use ropes tanks need to be installed and of the school; the visioning exercise to shape representations of the whether it is more appropriate focuses on both needs and wants gardens and tall sticks for specimen ideas for permaculture educators 17
  • 18. trees and other visual aids which indicate the actual shape and size Budgeting Funding Check your inventory of locally Once there is something to show, of the recommended changes and recycled materials, then cost other apply for funding for the next step; additions. items and make up a budget. begin with parents and school Presentation to staff, supporters, then the local village, town or suburb; first, try the places students, the wider which supply the materials to see community if they will donate materials, then Invite people to the presentation approach businesses for finance at which the panel gives a talk and with the attitude of ‘partnership’ uses the scale model and ground so they feel they are receiving layout to show how the design will something in return for their support, develop; invite feedback and put even if it is simply goodwill the design to the vote conditional Prioritise upon financial needs being met. implementation Allocate tasks Allocate tasks and responsibilities Identify necessary Decide on what should be done first and go for the simplest, cheapest materials thing which will give the best result Go for it Ask for specialised help in drawing for the shortest period of labour ... and have fun! up technical details of the design input; this helps build momentum Robyn Mc Curdy where necessary and to identify and confidence. suitable plant species etc; locate Acknowledgements to PELUM, sources for all materials for the first Zimbabwe, for introducing me to stage of implementation and aim for the map and transect process. subsequent stages as well. Opportunity to help Dear permaculture people, There is a green school in Hachnop village (Andra Pradesh, a school in India... India) in the protected area. One of the outcomes of The school was started in 1991-92 and is being managed by the the Permaculture in Schools Deccan Development Society. workshop at the Sixth Most of the children are from a deprived community of dalit International Permaculture families - those who cannot afford to send their children to Convergence was the move for school. permaculture to become a more All the children and staff at the school are involved self-supporting movement. in the implementation of the school design by practical participation and exposure to aspects of permaculture. Implicit in this idea is the need Highly efficient soil and water conservation works such to support each other’s projects. as trenches and bunds constructed on the contour, gully We do this by distributing surplus plugging, diversion channels and farm ponds have been funds, goods and services — completed and are functioning well. implementing, in effect, the third The land is becoming greener and has already started to ethic of per,maculture — provide some yields. the sharing of surplus. We have been struggling to evolve a regular permaculture curriculum or subjects for the students. So far, due to lack Narsanna Koppula presents of resources, progress has not been very satisfactory. us with the opportunity to In this region of India, we need your help in providing some implement the third ethic materials and small funds to ensure the poorer students are by assisting his worthwhile able to continue their studies. permaculture education project If resources are not there, it is difficult for the students in rural India. to learn the permaculture ethics. While visiting Australia as a I hope I will satisfy you with this small amount of sponsored delegate of India’s information about our work. Deccan Development Society Any kind help would be welcome. for the Sixth International Narsanna Koppula Permaculture Convergence, Deccan Development Society, Pastapur, Zahirabad, Medak, Narsanna wrote this letter... Andra Pradesh, India 502 31818 permaculture goes to school