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Our Teaching Team


Marisha Auerbach

Marisha has been practicing, studying, and teaching permaculture in the Pacific Northwest for the past decade. As an itinerant permaculture designer, Marisha calls the greater Olympia area home, especially the Wild Thyme Farm, a 150 acre permaculture demonstration farm and FSC certified forest in the northern Willapa Hills.

Marisha encourages sustainable futures through sharing knowledge with others on a variety of topics including: permaculture, polyculture gardening, flower and gem essences, local economics, community building, ethnobotany, herbalism, edible landscape design, and organic gardening among others. She is enthusiastic about creating forest gardens and building local community as a response to peak oil.

Dave Boehnlein - Terra Phoenix Design

Dave Boehnlein serves as the principal for Terra Phoenix Design (a Northwest Ecobuilding Guild Member) and the education director at the Bullockís Permaculture Homestead on Orcas Island. An experienced Permaculture educator and designer, Dave's special interests include sustainability education, horticulture, agroforestry, and site development. Dave has worked in Washington, California, Hawaii, Nicaragua & Costa Rica. He has a talent for research, organizational leadership, and leading work crews. Dave is particularly interested in education, the mainstreaming of sustainability, and keeping things organized.

An article by Dave

Kirk Hanson - Director, Northwest Certified Forestry

Kirk is a small forest landowner with a 30-acre tree farm near Oakville, Washington where he manages a regenerating forest and develops experimental agroforestry systems. Kirk has worked on strategies for combining rural economic development with environmental enhancement in the Pacific Northwest for over 10 years. In 1996 Kirk founded Permaculture West, a non-profit organization that provided educational and training programs on sustainable forest and farm management for private landowners. In 1999 Kirk worked with a private fisheries consultancy on Critical Areas Ordinance issues pertaining to farming and riparian areas in the Skagit Valley. In 2000 Kirk helped found the Small Forest Landowner Office in the Washington State Department of Natural Resources where he assisted family forest landowners across the state in finding financial and technical assistance. Kirk graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1995 with a B.S. in Sustainable Resource Management. His professional affiliations include the Washington Farm Forestry Association, Forest Guild and Family Forest Foundation.

Kelda Miller - Divine Earth Gardening Project

Kelda Miller is a permaculture designer who gardens urban sites in Pierce County. She was trained at the Bullock Permaculture Homestead, co-originated the Seattle Permaculture Guild, and later went on to teach at Wise Earth Ecological Landtrust, Seattle Tilth, MetroParks Tacoma, and various Permaculture Design Courses. She has a passion for sharing simple garden techniques to create beautiful, abundant landscapes.

Jenny Pell

Jenny Pell is a permaculture teacher, designer, and consultant living in Seattle, WA. Jenny's urban permaculture designs feature edible perennial landscapes, beautiful trellising for vertical food, functional hedgerows, water features, and more. Currently she is the project manager for a permaculture farm incubator project and residential community just outside Portland, OR. She also loves to do permaculture work Central America!

Rick Valley

Rick Valley is Lost Valley's land steward and a partner in a landscaping business. He has worked with communities such as Coho Co-Housing in Corvallis, OR, and Linnea Farm in British Columbia. Rick holds over 20 years of permaculture teaching and design experience. He taught the first design courses in Oregon, Canada, Belize, and Alaska.

Leonard Barrett

Leonard Barrett is a permaculture designer, consultant, and teacher based in Portland, Oregon. Leonard teaches at Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR and at other Permaculture Design Courses in the Pacific Northwest; writes for the Permaculture for Renters blog, and runs his permaculture design and consulting firm - Barrett Ecological Services. Leanordís designs are featured in the #1 best selling permaculture book: Gaia's Garden: A Homescale Guide to Permaculture by Toby Hemenway.

Mark Lakeman

Mark Lakeman is a founder and sustainer of numerous world-changing initiatives and organizations, including The City Repair Project and many of itís inventions including Intersection Repair and the Village Building Convergence, Communitecture Incorporated, Dignity Village, and the new Planet Repair Institute. Each of these entities is an aggressive and collaborative, multi-disciplinary creative culture, working in partnership with numerous others. All of this work engages and inspires place-based communities to creatively transform the social and environmental infrastructure of the public commons and private realms where people live. Often featuring permaculture or natural building techniques, each local initiative builds relational networks and engenders systemic transformation while leaving gorgeous footprints on the path to a better world.

Mark is also the designer of numerous beloved architecture & planning projects in Portland, including The ReBuilding Center of Our United Villages as well as many innovative village-based communities.

Michael Pilarski

Michael Pilarski is founder and director of Friends of the Trees Society. Michael is a farmer, educator and author who has devoted his life to studying and teaching how people can live sustainably on this Earth. He has extensive experience in organic farming, seed collecting, wildcrafting medicinal herbs, plant propagation, horticulture, teaching, and international networking. Michael has personally worked with over 1,000 species of plants. He founded Friends of the Trees Society in 1978 and has authored many books on forestry, agriculture, agroforestry and ethnobotany. Michael has been involved in the permaculture movement since 1981 as a writer, teacher and networker. He has taught over 20 full Permaculture Design Courses in the USA and abroad.

Jude Hobbs

Jude Hobbs is a land consultant, designer, educator, and co-founder of the Cascadia Permaculture Institute. With over 30 years experience, she utilizes whole system techniques in urban and rural settings to co-create environmentally sound solutions that inspire sustainable actions. Jude teaches courses and workshops throughout the US and Canada and develops curricula that are inspiring and information rich. She tends Wilson Creek Gardens in Cottage Grove, Oregon.

Forest Shomer

Forest Shomer, a 30-year Port Townsend resident, is the owner of Inside Passage Seeds, the premier source for native seeds of the Pacific Northwest. Founder and Director of the nonprofit Abundant Life Seed Foundation from 1975 until 1992, he has grown and collected seed from over 400 kinds of plants and traded seeds internationally for more than three decades.

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