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Edgewise Designs

29015 County Road 1390 Anadarko, OK, 73005

Practical Ecology
Presented by:
Edgewise Farms
Anadarko, Oklahoma
Course Description:
Practical Ecology is a blend of traditional classroom education and practical application. This course focuses on the basic needs of life and how they can be obtained through science-based design. The Physical/Life Science based lessons are taught in a classroom style setting and focused on how academic principles are applied to a homestead, farm, garden or community. The weekly classroom lesson is reinforced with a project-based cooperative learning activity implemented at Edgewise Farms, putting the academic lessons into practical use for human benefit.
Targeted Learners:
Practical Ecology is designed for 3rd through 8th grade students. However, adaptations and modifications can be made for any learner to be successful in this course.
Parents are welcomed and encouraged to attend all lessons. A responsible adult must be present to chaperone all on-farm activities.
Schedule: Two class sessions per week from October 16th through November 18th for a total of ten sessions. Traditional classroom work will occur once a week in the evening (day to be determined). The practical lesson will take place Saturday mornings at Edgewise Farm. If any lessons are cancelled due to weather they will not be made up. Every effort will be made to cover the missed material in brief.
Supplies: Each participant will need long protective pants, gloves, protective footwear (nothing with open toes) and weather appropriate clothing. Homework assignments are flexible in nature but will be greatly assisted by internet access and the Google Earth Pro application.
Practical Ecology
Edgewise Farms
Anadarko, Oklahoma
Week 1 Lesson 1
Location: Classroom
Class introduction: What is Practical Ecology?
Topic: What’s so special about water?
• The basis of life
• Physical properties
• Salt water vs fresh water
• The Water Cycle (without trees)
• Design to store and soak water passively over the broader landscape
• Hard surface catchment
• Filtration and sanitation designs for rooftop catchment
Social Aspects: How is water important to society?
• Human population and oceans, rivers and aquifers
• Sanitation and water
• Water access and education
• Water-based technology
• Topographical maps
• Water patterns in the landscape
• Passive water design in the broader landscape
• Grey water design
• Water catchment from hard surfaces and its use
• Irrigation
• Evaporative cooling
• Potable water design
Homework: A simple water-based design for your site.
Week 1 Lesson 2
Location: Farm
Topic: Practical Application ‘Water’
• Welcome to Edgewise
• Rules of the farm
• Water focused farm tour
• Our rooftop water catchment system
• Slow sand filter; the first step in a potable water filtration system
Week 2 Lesson 3
Location: Classroom
Topic: What are climate and micro-climate anyway?
• Broad climate types
• Climate vs micro-climate
• Climate vs weather
• Solar aspect and micro-climate
• Latitude and climate
• Altitude and climate
• Large bodies of water and climate
• Wind
Social Aspects: How does climate affect lifestyle?
• Climate and housing
• Climate and home agriculture
• Climate and cuisine
• Solar aspect and micro-climate
• Altitude and climate
• Large bodies of water and climate
• Wind
• Climate hazards
• Koppen Climate Classification
• Maps for micro-climates
• Our climate: The edge climate
• Designs for heating and cooling
• Home agriculture for our climate
• Home design and retro-fitting
• Evaporative cooling
Homework: A simple design for your home to mitigate climate.
Week 2 Lesson 4
Location: Farm
Topic: Practical Application of ‘Micro-Climate’
• Rules review
• Climate focused farm tour
• Cattle panel hoop house build
Week 3 Lesson 5
Location: Classroom
Topic: Why do trees matter?
• Tree interactions with water
• The water cycle with trees
• Tree interaction with light
• Tree interactions with soil
• Tree interactions with plants and animals
• The nitrogen cycle
• General nutrient cycling
Social Aspects: How do plants and trees shape lifestyle?
• Plant based design vs synthetic based design
• Products of plants and trees
• The lawn
• Designing for a specific tree
• Guilds and food forests
• S.T.U.N. method
• Companion planting
• Garden Design
• Aquaponics
• Home nutrient cycling:
-Compost -Leaf Mold -Super-mulch
Nutrient tea -Bone Meal -Bio-Char
Homework: Design a guild for a tree you would like to grow.
Week 3 Lesson 6
Location: Edgewise Farm
Topic: Practical Application ‘Nutrient Cycle’
• Rules Review
• Nutrient cycling farm tour
• Food forest maintenance
• Compost
• Compost tea
• Aquaponics or black soldier fly (TBA)
• Adding soil amendments
• Cover cropping
• Planting and mulching
Week 4 Lesson 7
Location: Classroom
Topic: Why are natural patterns important?
• The natural spiral patterns
• Powers of Ten By Charles and Ray Eames
• Branching patterns and orders of magnitude
• The torus pattern and the seed
• Flower patterns
• Net Patterns
• The edge
• Time
Social Aspects: Are there patterns in social interaction?
• Tribal use
• Mnemonic patterns
• Population patterns
• Art in service to society
• The Herb Spiral
• Branching garden paths
• Mandala Garden
• Nets for fences and plant spacing
• The flood plain
• Fukuoka grain production
Homework: Design a garden for your site.
Week 4 Lesson 8
Location: Edgewise Farm
Topic: Practical Application of ‘Patterns in Nature’
• Rules review
• Tour of the farm focused on patterns
• The keyhole garden bed
• The contour pattern in garden design
• A basic “A-Frame” Level
• Laying out a garden
Week 5 Lesson 9
Location: Classroom
Topic: Can we design a human ecosystem?
• Cooperation vs competition
• The ethics of design
• The principals of design
• Resources by use and result
• Resource oversupplied
• Definitions: yield and sustainable
• Energy audits and the egg
• Tropic pyramid vs life system
• Disorder (out of order)
• Stress vs harmony
• Stability
• Water and access
• Housing and buildings
• Location of components
• Interactive lists of products and behaviors
• Connecting components
• Map overlays
• Random assembly
• Workflow and Zoning
• Sectors and energy transfers
• Incremental design
• Planned succession
• Sharing my site design
• Homework: Place all your designs so far (and any you want to add) on your site so that they interact in ways that are beneficial to the land, to the people, or to the future.
Week 5 Lesson 10
Location: Edgewise Farm
Topic: Practical Application of the human ecosystem
• Rules review
• Tour of the farm focused on design
• Students design presentation
• Discussion: can these designs work together? How?
• Goodbye


Nathan Huntley


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