Permaculture Design Certificate Course (PDC)


Permaculture Class Lost Valley12 Classes, 3 Months, 1 internationally-recognized certificate

Take individual classes, or the full set to become a certified Permaculture designer

This course is great for anyone interested in the principles of permaculture and the art of sustainable living. Permaculture is a practical design science, based on the patterns and principles of natural systems.  Drawing from wisdom in nature, permaculture is a creative and thoughtful response to the disconnected modern paradigm of resource extraction, industrial growth, and consumerism.

The 3-month Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course is a subset of the Holistic Sustainability Semester (link), and offsite students (local commuters) are welcome!  The course follows the established international standard of 72 hours of contact time with experienced instructors, including a final group design project that brings together everything the students have learned. The course curriculum is taught once per week, with 6 hours of classroom time each Wednesday for three months.

Click here to see a great slideshow about the experience of our PDC course: pdc-digital-brochure


Permaculture PresentationStudents who choose to take the full Holistic Sustainability Semester will gain three months of community experience AND a strong knowledge base in permaculture principles and practices, plus two certificates.  For others, these courses are a flexible, accessible way to gain permaculture knowledge without having to take two straight weeks off work to do it (like most courses).  The extended learning period also helps with integrating the knowledge and discerning ones future direction in an unrushed way.

This PDC can be a launching pad to an ethical livelihood in environmental or land-based jobs such as edible landscaping.  You can design your current or future property, and even move on to be a professional designer or teacher.  Overall it will help you become more empowered and resilient, gaining perspective and skills that will be increasingly valuable in an unstable world.

2017 course dates:

Summer:  May 31 – August 16

Fall:  August 30 – November 15

Class time is 9:00am – 4:45pm, with a 1-hour break for lunch

Why study at Lost Valley?

  • It’s a living permaculture-inspired site, with 27 years of experimenting with solutions.
  • The diverse set of instructors are experienced in their areas and have been teaching for years.  Some are onsite residents, some live nearby.  (See below for instructor bios, photos, and videos.)
  • The schedule suits local working people.
  • Great price — no need to pay for food or lodging.
  • At 30 minutes from Eugene/Springfield it’s easy to reach yet a peacefully escape.
  • Other onsite learning opportunities (like the Sustainable Living Workshops) and connections with residents and students.


Permaculture Design Course Schedule 

Permaculture Class Lost Valley

Acting out the 3 ethics & 12 principles

Week 1 – Ethics & Principles

Earth care ~ people care ~ fair share!  By staying grounded in our core values and principles, we can design solutions to any of our collective challenges.  Learn the 3 core ethics and 12 principles that guide and inform permaculture design and practice, and why they’re so needed in the world.


Week 2 – Patterns in Nature

Learn the art of observation and awaken to the  patterns all around you.  In Permaculture, pattern language informs our design process at all levels.  Weather systems, ecological successions, zones & sectors, keyhole gardens, deer trails, seashell spirals, leaf veins, and more…


Measuring the Landscape Lost Valley

Using water levels and A-frames to measure landscape

Week 3 – Permaculture Design 

Learn the fundamental elements of permaculture’s innovative design process – like the practical tools for measuring and mapping your landscape.  Our whole systems approach doesn’t stop at the ecological; a design is never complete without integrating cultural, economic, and even spiritual considerations.


Week 4 – Resilient Plants, Healthy Soils

Soil is the foundation of all terrestrial life.  Learn from the ground up about soil care, basic botany, plant families and uses, and sample plant guilds.  This day is organized as a field trip to a learning site either in Eugene or Cottage Grove.


Building a Cob Pizza Oven Lost Valley

Natural building project, plastering the cob pizza oven

Week 5 – Natural building day

Modern construction practices create a massive amount of landfill waste.  In natural building, the key ingredients come from, and return to, the Earth.  Learn how to use local, renewable materials to design smart and simple shelters.  Then get dirty with a hands-on project.

Also form design groups for the remainder of the course.


Week 6 – Appropriate technology day

Sustainability + innovation = low impact technologies that benefit the planet and improve the quality of human life.  Learn about aquaculture as an alternative closed-loop food production system.  And discover human nutrient recycling – the responsible use of composting toilets and urine recycling.


Permaculture Class Lost Valley

Hazel with his plurality of pedagogical posters

Week 7 – Responsible Forestry

Forests are among the most diverse and resilient habitats on Earth.  With conscious management, they can grow our long-term needs while providing habitat for other life.  Explore how forest ecosystems function and how to design productive and regenerative food forests & woodlots.

Then have the first group project check-in to get feedback from a visiting expert and work as teams in person.


Week 8 – Water is Life 

Water the is the lifeblood of our world.  In permaculture, we respond by working with its natural flows: catching it from the sky, cleaning it with plants, and storing it in the landscape.  Carry out hands-on water planning projects.  Then learn how to treat and reuse greywater.


Feeding Chickens Lost Valley

Moving the chickens to a fresh location

Week 9 – Animal Partnerships

Learn the characteristics of wild and domesticated animals and how to design productive ecosystems that benefit them and us.  Also, explore techniques for dealing with troublesome critters, such as integrated pest management (IPM).  Then, do a hands-on project with our animal systems on-site.  Also use class time for group design projects.


Week 10 – Energy Ecology

Energy is abundant in natural systems.  Learn the fundamental principles of how energy moves through our landscapes and how to capture and store it with good design.  Get a taste of lesser-known energy sources, and how to implement these small & simple solutions.  Also use class time for group design projects.


Permaculture Class Lost Valley

Getting assistance with designs from a permaculture professional

Week 11 – Designing for all Situations

Permaculture design can be implemented anywhere to improve resiliency.  Learn practical strategies for other biomes, like the tropics and deserts.  See how permaculture design can mitigate the effects of climate change, natural disasters, and other emergencies.  Also get tips about dealing with design clients and final presentations the following week.

Week 12 –
Your Project Presentations

Present your polished group projects to the Lost Valley community and mentors, as the culmination of the course experience.  Fill out course evaluations.  Understand the permaculture “scene” and what you can do next with your PDC.

Finally, participate in one last night of community fun with the “Untalent Show.”  Congratulations!


Lead Instructor – Brian Byers:

Brian is a qualified permaculture designer and experimental farmer living and working at Lost Valley. He has a background in organic agriculture and native ecological restoration, and currently runs the permaculture design firm Transterraform as well as being the Lost Valley Garden Manager. Brian is passionate about permaculture and its potential to rehabilitate the holistic connection between humanity and nature. See the HSS video for a taste.

To see more videos of instructors and students, visit our YouTube page here.


Guest Instructors for Fall 2016

Tom Ward

Tom WardTom Ward is a long time resident of the Southern Oregon bioregion, first settling there in the early 70’s, and has been advising farms and teaching Permaculture for over thirty years.  He has degrees in Forestry and Botany from Syracuse University and has taught at Laney College in Oakland CA., D-Q University in Davis CA, and at Thlolego Learning Centre in South Africa among many other institutes and communities.  He is presently managing a Social Forestry experimental station in Little Wolf Gulch near Ruch, OR, where he is demonstrating natural building, fuel hazard materials utilization, multiple products woods-crafting, wildlife enhancement, and desert forest water management.  

Tom Ward has taught dozens of permaculture courses over the last 30 years, primarily in Southern Oregon and northern California, as well as occasional jaunts farther afield.  These include the PDC, permaculture teachers training, and advanced courses in Optical Surveying, Social Forestry, and Design.  He is a frequent guest instructor for Toby Hemenway and other instructors at PDC’s offered in the Northwest.  Tom holds permaculture diplomas from Bill Mollison’s Institute, as well as from the Permaculture Institute of North America as of 2016.  In conjunction with Siskiyou Permaculture, he teaches a weekend PDC once every 1-2 years at various locations in Southern Oregon and advanced permaculture courses at his site in the Little Applegate Valley.  He is the author of Greenward Ho! Herbal Home Remedies: An Ecological Approach to Sustainable Health.  Tom gives talks on all aspects of Permaculture with recent topics being Social Forestry, Ecological Opportunities and Constraints of the Upper Bear Creek Basin, Permaculture for the Masses, Becoming Indigenous to the Siskiyous, and Envisioning a Permanent Culture in the Rogue Valley.  Recent storytelling events have centered around a vision of the Siskiyou region in the 22nd century.  You can find his writings on Tom’s Blog.   More Information on Tom Ward.


Heiko Koester

Heiko KoesterHeiko is a permaculture designer and teacher who specializes in assisting clients with home landscape conversions. For 20 years he has applied unconventional gardening techniques to creating lush jungles filled with food, medicine, and beneficial habitat. He has experimented with a huge diversity of useful plants, creating his own model for bioregional landscaping. Heiko plant skills classes focus on edible, medicinal, and native plants, and offer comprehensive training on uses, cultivation, and wild crafting of useful plants. His sideline nursery offers a selection of edible, medicinal, and native plants for sale. He is also currently installing a demonstration garden at his home. Heiko’s services are offered through Urban Ecogardens.


Andrew Millison

Andrew Millison has been studying, designing, building, and teaching about Permaculture systems since 1996. He is an instructor in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University, teaching the Permaculture Design Certificate Course and the Advanced Permaculture Design Practicum. He has taught through other organizations including Prescott College, the Ecosa Institute, and the Cascadia Permaculture Institute. He instructs Advanced Permaculture Courses in Teaching, and has guest instructed for many Permaculture courses throughout the Western US. He worked for the State of Oregon creating a Permaculture conference and course for Oregon Housing and Community Services, the agency that builds low-income housing. He works with gardeners, developers, university students, and community organizers to promote Permaculture, which he believes is the medicine for Earth’s ailments.

To see more videos of instructors and students, visit our YouTube page here.


Melanie Rios  

Melanie RiosMelanie Rios’ mission is to inspire and teach skills to help people discover and develop their life-enriching gifts and passions. She has taught and mentored young people in wilderness skills, gardening, communication, relationship-building, parenting skills, and decision-making, She served as Executive Director of the Lost Valley Center, and currently consults with intentional communities helping them with conflict resolution and effective governance.

Melanie incorporates tools such as non-violent communication, sociocracy, and deep democracy into her workshops and classes. Her teaching style is creative and interactive, including participatory music, theater, dance, and poetry. She has taught at George Mason University, Trinity College and The Sidwell Friends School, all in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where she focused on environmental and women’s studies. She has lived in intentional community for thirty-five years, and currently resides in Portland, Oregon.


Eva Edleson

Eva Edleson

Eva is a talented natural builder, cook, gardener, and craftswoman.  As a builder with over 15 years of experience, she specializes in earthen wall systems, wood-fired ovens as well as in natural plasters and paint. She has taught over has trained and worked with many of the most-respected natural builders in North America, as well as Argentina.  She has combined her own research and experiences into a successful natural building practice.

Eva has dedicated much of her life to nurturing and encouraging lively community.  While living in Portland, Oregon, she was an instrumental visionary of the nationally-recognized Village Building Convergence.  Now in its 16th year, the VBC become an example of urban revival through the strengthening of neighborhood communities and introduction of natural building and permaculture in the city landscape.

Eva’s love for the earth also manifest in her passion for gardening, cooking and craft.  She has been an active gardener and is adept at many methods of food preservation. Besides making many great home-grown meals for her extended family, she both taught at and cooked for natural building workshops and other large gatherings.  Her active mind and inspired hands are often engaging in crafts, herbal medicine, seed saving and music.


Permaculture Presentation

Design presentation


“Excellent PDC course that is particularly effective in its being offered on a one-day-a-week basis over the course of 3 months!  Great variety of teaching styles and learning experiences!  Genuine care and attention to needs of students!” — spring 2015 student

“Great place to be exposed to permaculture through active learning & amazing teachers!” – Brenton A.

“Permaculture is a broad area and in three months one can only learn basics.  Some information was specific to the West Coast, but this course provided valuable information and resources, and excited me about the subjects.  I look forward to delving into more specific areas over time.” – Annalee D.

“A truly magical place, with some of the most inspiring individuals I have had the pleasure of learning from.” – Terrance H.



1) Full Permaculture Design Series with a Certificate – ONLY $800 if paid in full before the course.  (Note – to benefit neighbors and onsite residents, if you live in Dexter the course is half price, only $400.)

2) Individual Permaculture Series Classes – $70 each.  Please arrange signup for individual classes ahead of time.

Payment via PayPal is available below, but you will have to pay the credit card surcharge.  You can choose to pay by check to save on credit card fees.  The name for checks is “Lost Valley Education & Events Center” and address:  Lost Valley Educational Center, Attn: Colin Doyle, 81868 Lost Valley Lane, Dexter, OR 97431.

For information on financial aid, see this page.


For all PDC course questions or comments, contact Colin Doyle at  You do not need to contact before registering.

Thanks for being a part of this needed global change!


Permaculture Design Series and Certificate


Start Time: 9:00 am
End Time: 4:45 pm

Start Date: May 31, 2017
End Date: November 15, 2017

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