Monday, January 10, 2011

Outdoor Classroom

Eco Centro an Outdoor Classroom

Eco Centro was designed as a waste to wealth centre where all outputs from the resort are sent such as cardboard, glass, metals, food and wood waste plus jungle cuttings. All these materials then have the three R’s applied Recycle, Reuse, or Reduce. Eco Centro has been a very successful waste management centro with the 2009- 2010 Carbon Footprint Inventory Report showing Soneva Fushi achieved carbon emissions reversal of 19 tons of CO2 in the resort’s waste handling activities as a result of efforts in recycling!!!


The vision for the Eco Centro is to become more than a waste to wealth management centro. It is to further develop and retro fit the existing design so the outputs from Eco Centro can be utilized in designing a Permaculture Demonstration Site, to create an Out Door Class Room for guests, hosts and the neighboring communities.

Permaculture Systems will be designed to demonstrate Tropical Climate agricultural growing techniques, energy control and capture methods. Through the use of Permaculture Ethics and Principles of Design the aim is to support the company’s goal of being decarbonized by 2012.

The outdoor classroom design is inspired by Carolyn Nuttall and Janet Millington’s book “Outdoor Classrooms a handbook for school gardens”

Welcome to School

The design will consider David Holgrem’s Permaculture Principles and Pathways for Beyond Sustainability.

1. Observe and Interact
2. Catch and store energy - sunlight, water, sustenance, human activity
3. Obtain a yield - food, mulch, straw, income
4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback - experiment, observe results, try again
5. Use and value renewable resources
6. Produce no waste- everything in this micro-system is used to support it
7. Design from patterns to details- We used the patterns of plant succession to design the uses of the space. Forest to under story to edge to open field
8. Integrate rather than segregate- multiple species grown together to produce a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts
9. Use small and slow solutions - small experiments will lead to a productive use for the space
10. Value diversity - we mixed different plants that will attract a diversity of other organisms and produce diverse yields
11. Use edges and value the marginal
12. Creatively use and respond to change

Within the design considerations these were seen as the most important to start with.

Open Access


Current garden design including all structures, human and vehicle traffic accesses and pathways were identified for flow patterns to and from recycling points.

Access was every which way with human and vehicle traffic random at best. It was decided to create the demonstration site in the middle of the Eco Centro. Existing fences were pulled down to create a circular driveway giving access to all recycling points and no access only human to the Outdoor Classroom. Three access points into the Classroom are available for inputs from the Waste to Wealth Centro for supply to the Classroom and for the Classroom to extend into the Centro, all is the learning center.  

Closed access

2. Fulfilling David Holgrem’s principle of catching and storing energy - sunlight, water, sustenance, human activity
Then we started about Securing a defined Area for the proposed Permaculture demonstration systems

Rabbit proof

As there is a pest issue with Chickens and Rabbits secure fencing was first started. Rabbit proof fencing requirements are chicken wire or like to be buried 15cm and to extent to 1m above ground with secure gates.  Galvanized wire mesh was ordered and used then Palm fronds were cut from the jungle or “collection” as we say here was done.

One R" Reuse

We reused an existing fence made of hardwood from an old jetty. It was reerrected on the sunside as this would allow  sun all day into the garden and a view of existing Permaculture systems in place such as the pyrolysis ovens, Bio Gas system, composting bays and tin recycling.
All entrance gates are arched trellises to grow passion fruit, gauds and other climbers to help with shade and introduce climbers into the garden. To welcome you to our classroom of plenty.

What is Permaculture ?

 You won’t be stopping here if you want to learn …much much more to come

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