Emerald Earth's
Natural Building in Community

Natural Building in Community Apprenticeship
July 9 – August 12, 2011 (Five Weeks)
$2200 ($2000 if paid in full before May 15)

Emerald Earth Sanctuary has been teaching natural building workshops since 2000. In 2004, we began teaching longer apprenticeship level programs to give aspiring builders the opportunity to deepen their relationship with the materials and experience of natural building. These previous apprenticeships focused on what we have come to term "hybrid natural buildings", which residents of Emerald Earth call home. These homes demonstrate how to build with local stone, round wood timbers, earth, straw, and the sweat and joy of many hands.

This year, our apprenticeship is designed around work on Emerald Earth’s new common house. This offers natural building experience while serving Emerald Earth in creating a living and teaching center. The five- week course will begin with the 7-day Natural Building Intensive (July 9-16) and continue with four more weeks dedicated to covering natural building topics more in-depth and adding several techniques to your natural building "toolbox."

  • Strawbale
  • Cob
  • Slip-Straw
  • Clay Wattle
  • Slip-n-Chip
  • Clay Plasters
  • Lime Plaster
  • Earthen Floors
  • Earthbag Foundations

Close to 75% of our time together is structured for learning by doing. Each week, classroom type discussions are held, in which we explore the principles behind natural building and the materials involved, their availability, how to locate them, and the many different techniques of construction. This is one of the exceptional qualities our apprenticeship offers, the integration of key principles and the knowledge of practical building skills, allowing one to approach a balance between natural environments and the buildings we create.

Our apprenticeship program has been very popular and many of our past students have gone on to find ways to bring natural building into their lives, including both professional building work and instruction.

Another exceptional quality of our apprenticeship is the local community of Mendocino county offers many different examples of Natural building. We take advantage of this by scheduling a couple of field trips. We often visit completed projects, or buildings in construction, allowing apprentices to ask the owner-builder, or sometimes a contractor, many in-depth questions, and even getting to help out on the project.

We call our apprenticeship, "Natural building in Community" for a reason. Community helps achieve the change we want to create. The way we build together, share our dreams, our knowledge as people, and pay attention to each other, is vitally important.

Our built environment is in need of attention. We must not continue to be wasteful of natural materials, destroying habitats in its mass procurement, and using toxic materials in the construction of our dwellings. Emerald Earth’s natural building apprenticeship is a rare opportunity to learn in an environment that is nourishing and stimulating, which engages us in the critical path of trying to solve the set of challenges our world faces.

To apply for the 2011 Natural Building in Community Apprenticeship, please email us at [email protected] or call Brent Levin at (707) 972-3096.