Dirty Hands & Deep Ecology: Session 4

July 02 - July 04, 2021

Lisa Taranto

The Big Picture: Water and Hydrological CyclesThe Garden Topic: Smart water use in your gardens and homesThe Action: Continuing to engage and work with the gardens and landscapes of Menla, from the wild to the highly cultivated, connecting to ourselves and capacity for quiet physical work. Flowers! What role do they play in our gardens, in nature, and our lives.The Knowledge: Water is precious and we need to do a better job of managing it. What is your watershed address? Observation of water in the Pantherkill Valley. Join us for the fourth weekend in a series of ecological learning at Menla. Using the gardens, landscapes and forests as our living laboratory for exploration, we will take personal journeys into a deeper understanding of nature. Ecology is the branch of science that explores how organisms interact with each other and their environments. Ecology is inter-dependence, interconnectedness, and interrelationship. Tug on one string, and see where it leads. Our work and engagement with the land continues. It is early summer, the dynamic and complex relationships in the gardens and forests are fully awake and doing their quiet work in cooperation, creating mutually beneficial relationships.Water. Only about 1% of the water on the planet is available for human use. 97% is salt water, 2% is locked up in ice sheets and glaciers. We are fortunate to live in a water secure region. How is climate change, industry and industrial agriculture contributing to the water crisis? What actions can we take in our gardens and our lives to help rebalance water cycles. Learn about the riparian (stream edge) restoration work we have been doing in the valley, and how it connects to larger efforts in the Catskills. Bobby Taylor from Ashokan Streams (https://ashokanstreams.org) will be joining us to talk about the Catskills Watershed. Through direct engagement of our physical selves, we will contribute to the ongoing restorative ecology work and gardens at Menla. Through the direct engagement of our intellectual selves, we will deepen our understanding of the science of ecology. And through the direct engagement with our spiritual selves, we will deepen our sense of sacred connectedness and community with all living things. Topics: What is the Global Hydrological Cycle? How can we conserve water in our own lives, gardens and bio-regions? What is the relationship between the Catskill Mountains watershed and the millions of people in NYC?Hands on: Gardening maintenance, weeding and mulching, harvesting, start seedlings for fall planting, supporting plants-staking, trellising, pruning and deadheading, medicinal plants, flower harvesting.*Materials and recommendations for self study will be provided a week before the session.
ScheduleFriday, July 2nd
  • 4 - 8 pm Arrival & Check-in
  • 6 - 7 pm Dinner
  • 7:30 - 9 pm Evening program and Discussion
Saturday, July 3rd
  • 8 - 9 am Breakfast
  • 9 am - 12 pm Learning Through Hands-on Work Project
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch
  • 2 - 5:30 pm Hike & Nature Exploration
  • 6 - 7 pm Dinner
  • 7:30 - 9 pm Evening Program and Discussion
Sunday, July 4th
  • 7 - 11 am Check-out of Rooms
  • 8 - 9 am Breakfast
  • 9 am - 12 pm Learning through hands-on work project
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch
  • 2 - 5 pm  Afternoon Program and Discussion
  • 5 - 6 pm Closing and Departure
*Schedule subject to change at any time.  


Lisa Taranto

Lisa Taranto is an explorer of ecology and the dynamic elegance of nature and natural systems. She holds more than three decades of study, practice, curiosity, and adventures in ecology, art and design. Currently she is the Head of Horticulture at Menla Retreat Center, in the hea...



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