Ecological Frontiers Programmes

Over the last three decades a vast amount of knowledge and experience was gained by creating improved pasture out of land degraded by overgrazing and erosion. The Institute Of Ecotechnics oversees Birdwood Downs and sister projects. It has developped Ecological Training Programmes based on the knowledge and experience from these projects. Graduates from this training can eventually manage their own project.

The programmes are developed from the perspective of a total systems approach. It covers more than the technical and scientific side. It covers the human side as well. After all, making it happen takes more than technical and scientific skills. Therefore the training programmes cover aspects of management, creative thinking and the group dynamics of living and working together. Arts was chosen as the vehicle for creative thinking and personal development.

The full Ecological Training Programme requires living at Birdwood Downs Station for one year. Students participate in the daily routine of the station ensuring hands-on experience. The tasks are selected to match the subjects of the training and depend on the season. The hot dry and the wet season are in general heavy for body and mind. It is during these seasons that the personal skills to work and live together are tested to their limits.

The training covers the following subjects:

  • Pasture management from the perspective of a total systems approach
  • Developing and maintaining pasture
  • Keeping cattle and horses and their role in pasture management
  • The support systems such as power supply, water supply, buildings and gardens, machinery
  • Operational skills ranging from weed control, horse riding, mustering of cattle to maintenance and repair of machinery and vehicles and the use and maintenance of tools.
  • Theatre and meditation to develop creativity and focus.
  • Planning for and management of the project on strategic, tactical and operational level.
  • Enterprise skills including administration and financial management, human resource management and sales and marketing.

Students are asked to select a subject and do a project in that area. The subject is chosen to match the interests of the students and the projects that are available at the time.

Contact us for more information on the training programme and how to apply.


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