Dirty Hands & Deep Ecology: Session 6

September 17 - September 19, 2021

Lisa Taranto

The Big Picture: Forests & Grasslands, Biodiversity & Trophic Levels, Keystone SpeciesThe Garden Topic: Bird & Insect ID, Intergrated Pest ManagementThe 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. We will spend more time in the woods this weekend, in quiet observation from the tiny to the massive.The Knowledge: Forests are complex systems, in a constant exchange of information and wisdom. We will leave with a quiet intuitive understanding of the immense activity is happening at multiple timelines, scales and beauty. Join us for the sixth 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. The dynamic and complex relationships in the gardens and forests are fully alive in late September, preparing for slowing down in fall, and dormancy of winter.The forests of the Catskills have generally been left to recover, after multiple clear cuttings, over the past 100 years. We will spend ample time in the woods, in observation of ancient lichens and luxurious mosses, mushrooms, and giant trees. What is the wisdom the forests can share? What is intelligence in natural systems? 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: Natural Laws, Ecological Principles, Diversity and Resilient SystemsHands on: Gardening maintenance, weeding and mulching, harvesting and preservation, seed saving, supporting plants-staking, trellising, pruning and deadheading, medicinal plants, flower harvesting *Guest speakers to be announced. Materials and recommendations for self study will be provided a week before the session.
ScheduleFriday, September 17th
  • 4 - 8 pm Arrival & Check-in
  • 6 - 7 pm Dinner
  • 7:30 - 9 pm Evening program and Discussion
Saturday, September 18th
  • 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, September 19th
  • 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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