Quail Springs, California

Host Community:

Quail Springs is a leading environmental educational nonprofit that empowers students of all ages and backgrounds with knowledge, skills, and inspiration essential to cultivating ecological and social health. Nestled in the watershed of Mt. Pinos and Mt. Abel and surrounded by thousands of acres of national forest, Quail Springs occupies 450 acres in one of the most sacred places of the native Chumash people. Once home to breaching whale and spawning salmon, the landscape has dried up after centuries of running cattle and clear cutting. In trying to repair the land, the community of Quail Springs had dedicated itself to ecological stewardship since 2004. Through inviting groups like St. Thomas to learn about the land, the community continues to create and model a variety of systems that support sustainable human settlement.

Justice Issues:

Permaculture & Environmental Consciousness: Permaculture is an integrated design science based on ecological principles that create resource efficient and productive human environments. Permaculture brings sustainable and regenerative design to our basic needs for shelter, water, food, and energy.

Sustainable Farming: Permaculture farming uses nature as an inspiration and a guide for its agricultural practices. The Quail Springs farm combines perennial guilds of trees, shrubs, herbs and flowers with a large variety of annual crops to mimic the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. This integrative approach to farming promotes a vibrant ecology that provides food, animal fodder, fiber, fuel, and timber while positively impacting surrounding wild lands, conserving water, building soil, and regenerating damaged land.

Cultural Opportunities:

Opportunities for cultural exchange begin as soon as you pull through the gates. The residents and interns who call Quail Springs home have cultivated not only the land but also the relationships and the community that sustain them. Daily life consists of sharing stories, cooking meals, caring for the plants and animals, making music and exploring the landscape. With their focus on intentionality and nourishment of their community and earth, time spent at Quail Springs is quite different from life in St. Paul. The undeniable sense of gratitude that they hold for the earth is echoed in their daily actions, such as gratitude circles before dinner.

Food, Lodging, Travel:

The group leaves Minneapolis/St. Paul and arrives in California by plane. You will be met at the Bakersfield airport by a representative from the Quail Springs Community. The group will camp on the Quail Springs property, so bring a good mat and sleeping bag. All meals and local transportation will be provided.

Activities May Include:

  • Early mornings and hot tea
  • Goat walks  
  • Hikes up the watershed to learn where the water comes from
  • Sourdough bread making from a starter that is over 200 years old!
  • Cheese and yogurt making
  • Collecting eggs from the ducks and chickens
  • Starting seedlings
  • Learning about permaculture
  • Natural building - making adobe bricks or helping build a house
  • Stargazing
  • Bonfires and storytelling  
  • Music, and lots of it!