Frequently Asked Questions about our Educational Programs
(with course-specific information at bottom)
What is the lodging like?
Modest housing is included in each of our programs (intern, volunteer, courses). During fall, winter, and spring (September – May), participants are housed in one of our co-ed dorm buildings. One of the four floors was renovated in June 2011 and another in natural building style in 2012-13 – if you’re staying in these rooms, enjoy the added comfort! There is also a common room/library that provides an area to socialize. Each floor has its own co-ed bathroom.
During the summer (June – August), participants bring camping equipment and take advantage of the sunshine, fresh air, and connection with our landscape. Summer sun provides hot water for our outdoor solar showers and a comfortable atmosphere for using our full outdoor kitchen. Participants are welcome to camp any time, year-round, though few do before June or after September.
We do our best to provide single rooms for participants, but double occupancy may be necessary during certain courses and circumstances. Our renovated rooms house two people each, and older rooms one each (comfortably).
What is the food like?
Meals are included in the cost of all programs. All meals are vegetarian and mostly organic, and we try to source local and seasonal ingredients. During peak harvest season (July–October) most or all of the fruits and vegetables we consume come directly from our gardens. Lunch and dinner are served in the Lodge Monday through Friday, with those on the meal plan rotating meal duties. Interns, volunteers, and students use the Lodge Kitchen to prepare their own breakfasts and weekend meals as you wish; plenty of food (including leftovers) is provided for this. When there are courses or events, three meals are prepared each day, for all days of the course or event.
The Lodge kitchen is vegetarian; if participants wish to prepare meat, you are welcome to use the Guest House kitchen located next to the Lodge. Both the Lodge and Guest House kitchen are open 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, with attention paid to quiet hours listed in the Community Living Agreements (10:00pm on). There is also an Outdoor Kitchen by the meadow, which is available for use in the summer, when not rented out by the occasional event.
If you like to snack between meals, or have special foods and beverages that you enjoy, we recommend you bring them along. Any dietary allergies or preferences should be noted on the form sent to registered participants before the program. Vegan and gluten free are two common preferences/needs we accommodate for most or all meals.
Community Living Agreements: All students, residents, visitors, volunteers, interns, etc. must agree to abide by the Community Living Agreements, which are available on this site. This agreement is implied upon registration, and may also be reviewed in person upon arrival on site.
Insurance and Liability Waiver: We expect that all participants enrolled in programs involving hands-on site or shop work have Major Medical insurance coverage in effect for the duration of their time at Lost Valley. All participants also fill out a medical form and liability release/waiver before their program begins.
Are there other forms to fill out?
Before a program begins, each participant will be e-mailed a packet of four forms to fill out and return – a medical form, food preference sheet, liability release/waiver, and image release. Please complete and return these forms, as getting this paperwork taken care of before convening in person makes the start easier and lets us prepare for dietary or other needs.
Is there parking?
There is plenty of parking on site for participants. We ask that you park in the main dirt lot, but feel free to drive right up to the dorm to unload your belongings on the first day. Large vehicles such as campers/RVs will require a special arrangement and a small additional fee.
Please consider carpooling, both to arrive here and during your time at Lost Valley. Many residents have cars, and using those existing resources is environmentally responsible.
What about phones and internet?
Cell phones and laptops are common at Lost Valley. Most cell service providers have coverage outdoors. Verizon (the best) and AT&T also have decent coverage indoors. We have a unique cob phone booth with landline that can be used with a calling card.
Most participants find their laptop quite useful. There is free wireless internet in the classroom/office complex, and at least one desktop there for general use by anyone on site. There is also wireless service in the dorms and cabin area, for a reasonable fee. Our internet is rural and limited, and cannot support activities such as streaming long videos or downloading movies.
Are there additional costs?
Program tuition covers lodging, meals, instruction, and materials. In this way, the price is all-inclusive, which is convenient and simple for most participants. There are minor additional costs to you for optional activities such as wireless internet outside the classroom area, laundry, and fuel for optional off-site visits. These add up to a very small amount. If you do off-site activities for fun, such as going to a restaurant or show in Eugene, that will be on your own dime. Participants who use the Lodge kitchen – namely interns and volunteers, but not students – are required to bring a valid Oregon Food Handler’s Card (see next item), which costs $10.
During longer times on site (over two weeks) participants use the Lodge kitchen to cook for themselves for breakfasts and weekend meals. If this applies to you, there will be a kitchen orientation early in your time on site. You are also required to produce a valid Oregon Food Handler’s Card – this shows that you understand the importance of and procedures around sanitation in our community kitchen. The card can be purchased online here, and costs $10 after successfully passing a quiz.
What should I bring?
Here is a list of items you may want to bring to make your stay at Lost Valley comfortable, productive, and enjoyable. Please note that these are all optional except for the few in bold face.
Clothing & Well-Being
- Warm clothing in layers – depending on the season
- Rain gear: high rubber boots, jacket with hood or hat, and rain pants – depending on the season
- Work gloves
- Pocket multitool
- Flashlight or headlamp (many people forget this – it’s dark here at night!)
- Bedding or sleeping bag
- Tent for camping in the meadow, with sleeping pad – depending on the season and/or your preference
- Coffee or other caffeine herbs you may be dependent upon (note: there are lots of loose teas in the Lodge, but no communal coffee)
- Quarters for doing laundry
- Laptop computer
- Handicrafts, musical instruments, other fun stuff
Class Supplies (if taking a permaculture design course)
- Slippers or wool socks (we don’t wear shoes in the classroom) – depending on the season
- A sitting pillow for the classroom
- Tools for design project (if desired): ruler, protractor, colored pencils, square, triangle, hand-held survey tools: level, compass, hand lens, etc.
- Basic art supplies, drawing, drafting materials
- Small three-ring binder for handouts, something to hold papers and write on
- Project ideas that you might be doing on your land, a site you’re working on professionally, or something of interest to you; topographic maps, photos, or info on relevant projects
- Any natural history books, field guides, favorite tools or other resources relating to your bioregion or that you think would be of interest to the group
What about alcohol/smoking/drugs/pets?
Alcohol can be consumed by those of age in private residences such as dorm rooms, but should not be in excess. There are occasional gatherings during which alcohol is allowed in public areas such as the Lodge or classrooms; these are pre-approved at the biweekly community meeting and clearly announced. Smoking is permitted only at the basketball court or on two neighboring roads. Illegal drugs are illegal. We ask participants not to bring their companion animals, as this can cause stress in the community and for local wildlife (we are a nature sanctuary). If you would like further details on any of these policies, please ask the Program Director.
What is the weather like?
Summers here are glorious. During the day, it is in the 80s and sunny, and at night cool and in the 50s. It almost never rains between the Fourth of July and mid-September. The rainy season starts in September but not in full force until November. It peters out with the verdant spring, but the rains don’t end until sometime in June. During winter it is mostly cool/cold and rainy. Our elevation is low enough (800 ft) that it only sometimes freezes at night in the winter, and we get light snow a couple of times each year. Overall, it is lush and green all year; please see the Our Land page to know more.
How do I get to Lost Valley?
Please see the Directions & Map page.
There is train and direct bus service from Portland to Eugene. Closer in, there are four buses per day between Eugene and the town of Dexter, about 2 miles from Lost Valley; this is our closest public transport. If you are buying plane tickets, both PDX and EUG are options, the Portland airport being 2.5 hours from Lost Valley and the Eugene airport 45 minutes. There is public transport directly from the Portland airport, but not from the Eugene airport. For those needing to get to or from the Eugene airport or train station or bus station, please let us know your arrival time at least 3 days in advance. We’ll do our best to pair you with someone who is already making a trip to Eugene, such as a fellow arriving student. We suggest a reimbursement for the driver’s time and expenses of $15 for the one-way trip. Arrival and departure transport is not provided as part of the course, but we can help to ease your transition.
A large part of what makes learning at Lost Valley a unique experience is our community setting. Similar to a university’s “campus life,” our community life provides participants a fertile environment for conversation, research, and growth.
Participants share meals with those in the community who are on the meal plan. You are also invited to share in community activities and events, whether it be getting together to play board games (or music) in the Lodge after dinner, palling around with 3-year-olds, or relaxing under the stars in the wood-fired hot tub. Participants also have the opportunity to learn more about what it takes to organize and run a community by attending biweekly community meetings, if you choose.
While at Lost Valley, participants are welcome to share community spaces. We encourage everyone to share their gifts, so if you like to bake, you’re welcome to do so in the kitchen. If you teach yoga, you can reserve the Sacred Yurt to lead a class. If you love to hike, get a group together to explore the woods behind our land or within short driving distance. We want you to take advantage of the time you have here, and look forward to your additions to our community!
What does it mean to be an aspiring ecovillage?
The Meadowsong Ecovillage community is a living laboratory for exploring, experimenting, and demonstrating the various practices we espouse. The site and intentional community form what we call an “aspiring” ecovillage. Rather than fully realized in our ideals, we are in the process of learning how to implement challenging (and sometimes new) techniques to live more sustainably with the Earth and each other. Our trajectory is from conventional culture and infrastructure to more responsible ways.
Additional FAQs related to courses/workshops
How do I register for a course?
You may register for any of our courses online on the specific course page. Payment is online via credit card (we use PayPal for processing) or by mail with check made out to Lost Valley Center. Be sure to read the policies below regarding payment, cancellation, etc. Feel free to call 541-937-3351 or e-mail email@example.com at any time if you have questions or if your situation requires special attention.
Registration Fee: A non-refundable registration fee is necessary to reserve your space in any of our courses, and is a portion of the overall payment. The amount of this fee varies by course, and is due at the time of registration. Short/inexpensive courses do not have this option; full payment is expected upon registration.
Payment Deadline: Course tuition must be paid in full two weeks before the course start date. This can be done online or by mail. Failure to make this payment may result in loss of place in the course.
Cancellation Policy: The registration fee is non-refundable, though if you drop a course 2 weeks or more before the start date, this amount can be applied to another course within 6 months. If a course is canceled by Lost Valley, you choose to either have the registration fee (and all monies paid) returned in full or put toward another course.
Commuter Tuition: If you live nearby and wish to commute to class, please contact us to discuss a discount on lodging and/or food.
Financial Aid: Visit the Financial Aid page to learn more about these opportunities.
What time does my course start on the first day?
This varies by course. If it is unclear to you, please ask.
Can I come a day early or leave the day after the course ends?
Arriving one night early or staying at Lost Valley the night after a course ends is possible with previous arrangement with the Director of Education. This costs a reasonable amount more, for lodging and meals.
Can I have a guest during the course?
This is discouraged, as guests can potentially pull a student’s attention away from the immersive learning experience or disrupt the community or course. Friends are welcome to come as part of the organized Visitor Program.
Do community members participate in classes?
Volunteers and others at Lost Valley will sometimes be in class with you. This helps integrate the full experience of being in community here, and helps spread knowledge on site. Volunteers and interns can participate in a certain number of hours of courses per month as a perk of working here, and specific sessions may be open to the whole community.
Are there mandatory sections in the PDC course?
In order to receive a Permaculture Design Certificate at the end of a PDC course, the student needs to participate in sessions on certain key permaculture elements, a global standard spearheaded by Bill Mollison and generally followed everywhere. The course organizer will make it clear which sessions are required for granting of the certificate.
Different courses have different recommended readings as preparation, or as part of a supplied reader packet.
For courses related to permaculture or gardening, we recommend you read one of the following books:
Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison
The PermacultureDesigner’s Manual by Bill Mollison
The Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture by Rosemary Morrow
Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture byToby Hemenway