Social Forestry Course

Advanced Permaculture Course 
Social Forestry
6 days with Tom Ward

Monday - Saturday, January 21-26, 2013
At Wolf Gulch in Southern Oregon
Course Price: $550


For more information and registration contact Melanie

Social Forestry connects villages and communities to their forested water catchment basin.  Here in a developed industrial empire, the forests are lonely.  We have lost our sense of living with forests as friends.  This Social Forestry course will explore reconnecting with forests through ecological knowledge, the use of hand tools and woodscrafts, seasonal festivals and work cycles, childrens’ stories, pilgrimages and stewardship covenants.  We will learn ecological assessment, carbon sequestration methods, restoration forestry and the crafts and products that can be enjoyed while we are re-establishing our heart space and wonder in the woods. 

The course is held at Wolf Gulch Ranch where Tom has designed and maintained an experimental social forestry operation over the last 10 years. 

The Permaculture Design Course is a prerequisite for getting an advanced certificate from this course. Others may have the certificate held until they have a PDC certificate. You must complete all six days of the course to get your certificate. The course is open to all who have a working knowledge of Permaculture.

Cancellation Policy:
Until December 28th, fee is refundable less $100 cancellation fee. After December 28, the fee is nonrefundable unless the course fills and we sell your spot. There will still be a $100 cancellation fee.

We hope that people will feel comfortable camping in the January weather as that will make it easiest for you to stay focused and connected.  That being said, we are working on accommodation options.  One that has come to our attention is straw bale cabins about 10 miles down the road for $300 per week.  We will post more info as it becomes available.


5 Stars: I learned so much that I can apply right away and feel that I am a more capable steward & designer from being here.  I liked the mix of practical hands-on activities and the more thought-oriented discussions.  Good to think about how we got here and where we can go.  Thank you for your transparency and the sense of wonder and fun that is behind all this.

4.8 Stars: This course is full of practical skills and tools for developing a beneficial relationship with the woods and creating valuable products in a human scale (and fun) way.  I have a renewed sense of the resiliency of nature, and a better understanding of how I can contribute to creating more diversity and complexity and health on our land.  

5 Stars: This course takes an integral look at some of the roots of our historical interaction with the woods.  The class was a wonderful balance of hands-on work with new and old tools, new and old cultural stories, and new and old design ideas and principles.  Y'all are a wonderfully effective trio with wonderful knowledge, wisdom and good humor.  I would love to take more courses and come intern when I have more experience under my belt.

5 Stars: The Social Forestry course has been truly transformative.  My expectations were blown away and I am leaving full of practical knowledge, inspiration and a deep respect for the forests.  The social aspect of forestry that Tom brings pulls all of the permaculture forestry practices together in an extremely critical way.  I wish I could more accurately express my gratitude for this opportunity.  This course has been critical for me in this time.

4.5 Stars: There were so many topics we didn't even begin to cover.  Also we didn't use the recommended books. Sorry can't think of a review right now.

5 Stars:  Thank you for this hands-on field study class.  It was wonderful to move from the classroom and lecture to the field study site where we could practice what we were learning and see the results of our activity.  With the broadscale burning--seeing how permaculture shapes the landscape makes a difference.  Thanks for being inspiring teachers and a great team.  It's an honor to watch you inform the next generation!

3-4 Stars: If the focus is social, we could have had much more social elements present--more song, ritual, story, community-building. Love the way your team works together, super inspiring.

5 Stars: Beyond all the facts and experience I gained during this course was the introduction to a different sense of time and community that I could not have imagined without the example of Tom Ward.  My life is richer for having taken this class.

5 Stars: The course will change your experience of being in the forest.  It is a deep introduction to a set of traditional ways of relating to a forest.  Great community of people and pool of knowledge and information.  Great course, great teamwork.  Really enjoyed the chemistry between you.

5 Stars: Seriously, this is the visioning and re-skilling that needs to be brought into the movement consciousness and discussion.  A great blend of theory and practice helps illumine the bio-regional scope of possible integration and abundance.

No rating: This is a wonderfully exciting, fast-paced course focused on a the way humans can relearn to participate in the forest community as a regenerative force of change.  I loved the mix of inspiring, revolutionary and visionary stores with hands-on projects.  The best thing about it was the offering of a change in perspective of how to manage the forest amongst the human and natural community.  This is vital information for all world-changers.  I'm sad we didn't make charcoal stoves or do focused basketry.


- Stand evaluation, thinning, pole preparation, charcoal making (with the right equipment), fuel hazard reduction, broadscale burning, coppicing, maple tapping
- Novice stand evaluation, small-medium tree felling, pipe making, some basketry, bark peeling, log carrying, tree tapping, coppicing , high pruning
- Small tree selection, felling, moving and processing; assist in cool burn or charcoal production, some basketry and medicinals; use of some tools including broad knife
- Observing, coppicing, stripping bark for medicine poles or baskets, making charcoal, listen to what the forest might want
- Coppice hedge caretaking, basketry; I can make a simple bench and a charcoal stove!
- Burning, charcoal making
- I learned many skills that I think mostly could be in the category of forest evaluation and applying learned practices with right intention and relationship.
- Basket play, coppicing, pole prepping, fuel reduction
- Sharpening tools, selecting for good lumber, coppicing and pllarding, basket making, furniture craft, safe fire reduction thru pile burning, open burning with guidance
- More confident with burning and prepping round poles, but truly the technical learning was limited and that was disappointing
- Coppicing, thinning, layering for propagation, better at assessment, plant id'ing, two person sawing
- Coppicing, stand evaluation,& selection