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• Class Description:
Construct or advance your career in the emerging industries of resilient energy generation in this 10 day intensive training. Equip yourself with the necessary knowledge and experience to become a leader in the fields of solar PV, wind and hydro production. From assessment to design to management, our RETech program facilitates the motivated to move our global economy into a distributed, renewable energy operation. All equaling to 52 contact hours of experiential education and 2 transferable academic credits.
t8 Learn-Experience-Develop “LED” Days
tWind, Solar PV, Geothermal & Hydro Assessment & Design Training
tResidential & Commercial Frameworks
tLocal & Global Energy Policy
tDistributed Generation & Micro-Grids
tFinancing & Community
tDevelopment Energy & Social Justice
• Teacher Bios:
Scott Meloeny is the Founder and President of Second Attention Strategies (SAS), an educational programming and system installation business. Scott developed GELT to facilitate risk-ready entrepreneurs seeking to construct a viable financial livelihood while redefining our physical community. Scott has dedicated his work to facilitate passions, enjoyment and skills of individuals seeking to experience a life worth living. Scott has been featured on CNN’s “360 with Anderson Cooper”, is trained in Solar Photovoltaic (electricity) through Solar Energy International and resides in Lake Arenal, Costa Rica.
• Language class is taught in:
$2,600 for 10 days. $500 deposit required to register and reserve your space. Remaining balance due 30 days prior to program start date.
3 meals/day, housing (hotel), all transportation (not airfare )
— Food Options:
Tailored to group (examples: waterfall and volcanic hikes, kayaking, SUP boarding, hot springs)
Puerto San Luis Hotel, Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
We will be posting more information about this week-long class with a focus on earth building in the coming weeks.
Liz Johndrow of Earthen Endeavor Natural Building will return to Rancho Mastatal to join the Ranch staff in mid-March for 7 days of hands-on and feet-in learning and classroom theory and discussion coupled with slideshow presentations and evening topic discussions. We will cover everything earth, lime, and clay from site selection, foundations and earthen wall systems, to the fine art of sculpting, Moroccan tadelakt, and finish plaster. You will want to join us for this opportunity unlike any other! The Ranch provides years of beautiful and inspiring natural building to emphasize successes and learning curves, beauty and function. And Liz brings expertise, passion, fun, and serious learning opportunities to their workshops.
About the Instructor
Liz is founder of Earthen Endeavors Natural Building and has been building and teaching for several years. She has worked with all kinds of materials and techniques and has collaborated int the past with Kleiwerks International teaching a 4- month women’s natural building apprenticeship. She also co-leads timber framing workshops with Sarah Highland of Highland Artisans and also enjoys all things mud, particularly all types of plasters. She is presently collaborating with women’s organizations in Nicaragua to help increase quality of life through natural building opportunities for locals. Liz enjoys spaces that bring her in touch with the natural surroundings. As a builder, she was thrilled to discover she could bring that contact deeper into a home experience through the choice of building materials. Since that discovery, she has been exploring the world of cob, strawbale, adobe, earthbag, earthen plasters and floor systems, and timber framing. The simplicity of these systems and materials allow for people of all ages and abilities to participate in some manner. The past several years have taken her further into the role of teacher, facilitator, instructor and co-conspirator. She is increasingly passionate about helping others learn these skills so they in turn can share their vision of beautiful, sustainable, and socially just structures. Her more recent work in Nicaragua with the women and youth in the northern pueblos has been her most challenging and rewarding work thus far. Check out her website for more of her vision and her work. www.earthenendeavors.com.
Students should plan on arriving to Rancho Mastatal the evening before the start of the class. This night is included in the cost of the course.
Costa Ricans: $500
Expats in Costa Rica: $600
Cost includes 8 nights lodging starting on the night before the start of the class, all meals, course instruction and full access to Rancho Mastatal and its private wildlife refuge. A $250 deposit will secure your space in the course.
For more information about food and lodging please see our website at accommodations.
Please follow the link for payment options.
To enroll in the class, please go to our Online Registration Form. For more information please contact Tim O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or call the Ranch at 2200-0920. We have a maximum of 15 openings for this workshop and a minimum of 5 students to run the course.
Learn about renewable energy technologies for the developing world in the developing world! Hands-on learning will occur at Rancho Mastatal, a private nature reserve, and in nearby La Cangreja National Park.
This workshop provides an introduction to all the major renewable energy technologies with a focus on designing and installing small, rural systems. We’ll get our hands dirty — the majority of the workshop is hands-on field work, and it also includes classroom sessions and the following projects: 1) building and using solar ovens, 2) a solar hot water or solar-electric system, and 3) installing a methane biodigestor. This is an experiential program, with a non-technical, overview focus. These hands-on installations give participants the opportunity to interact with local members of the community, experience both the challenges and satisfaction of working within the developing world, and the opportunity to install systems that can dramatically improve the living conditions of the local people.
Workshop Topics include:
tSolar Hot Water
tSolar Cooking and Food Drying (with Sol Verde, a women’s cooperative)
tMethane Biogas Digesters (with Viogaz)
tTechnology Transfer and System Maintenance
tSocial & Cultural Issues of Working in the Developing World
tHands-On Installations in the Local Community
For millions of people around the world, renewable energy can replace dirty, expensive, and inconvenient energy. For those in the developing world, it may provide the first electric lights a family has seen, replacing darkness at sunset with the opportunity to read, study, or recreate after a day of work. This hands-on workshop teaches volunteers how to ensure quality renewable energy assistance to the people who are most in need.
In the classroom portion, students will gain a basic understanding of all the major renewable energy system types, including solar electricity, micro-hydro electricity, and wind electricity, solar cooking, solar hot water, and methane biogas digesters for developing world applications. Participants will learn the components, applications, and limitations for each system type, and will be able to analyze a site and make suggestions on the most appropriate renewable energy technologies.
Participants will join with Sol Verde, a women’s solar cooking cooperative from Guanacaste Costa Rica, to build and use solar cookers. Participants will also help install a small solar-electric system or solar hot water system, and will work together with Central American experts to build a methane biogas digester. These hands-on installations give participants the opportunity to interact with local members of the community and experience both the challenges and satisfaction of working within the developing world.
In our fourteenth year at Rancho Mastatal, this springs workshop builds on the success of our past workshops. Our program is focused on learning through hands-on work. We’ll spend about one-third of our time in the classroom, studying renewable energy technology basics. The rest of our time will be in the field or lab, getting our hands dirty, learning by doing. The course is taught in both English and Spanish. Price includes dorm bed or camping, all meals and in-country transportation. Private accommodation may be available at additional cost (contact Rancho Mastatal). Ask about options for family members not taking the workshop.
US $1,325 includes:
• Instruction, tools, and materials
• In-country transportation
• Dorm lodging (upgrades may be possible)
• Three delicious meals a day
• Enjoyment of Rancho Mastatal trails, waterfalls, and reserve
In addition, Rancho Mastatal and the community of Mastatal have fine examples of:
• Sustainable agriculture, forestry, and living
• Small renewable energy systems
• Micro-enterprise and ecotourism
• Composting and biodigester toilet and wastewater management systems
• Nature study and awareness
• Natural building
• Medicinal plants & indigenous skillsRancho Mastatal is an environmental learning and sustainable living center, retreat, and lodge located in the last virgin rainforest of Costa Rica’s Puriscal County. Rancho Mastatal practices and promotes living responsibly in the tropics, while educating its visitors about the significance and majesty of the world’s disappearing tropical forests. The site encompasses 500+ acres of picture-perfect waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers, and impressive trees in the transition zone between very wet and pre-montane rainforest in one of Costa Rica’s most undiscovered regions. The property shares a significant border with the splendid La Cangreja National Park, a protected area providing habitat for a number of endangered animals and flora, and containing some 2,000 plant species and varied fauna. Rancho Mastatal owns 19-kilometers of rainforest trails, connecting to a network of footpaths in La Cangreja National Park.On site and in the community, the Rancho Mastatal crew builds using natural techniques, including the use of bamboo and cob, and supports the use of renewable energy systems. In their ongoing commitment to education and instruction, they organize and sponsor a wide array of workshops ranging from alternative design and construction to wilderness first response certification, and work with schools in both the United States and Costa Rica in offering customized educational programs on rainforest ecology, Latin culture, and Spanish and English as a second language. Rancho Mastatal welcomes volunteers, graduate students, interns, and all others in search of a memorable and unique tropical experience.Our schedule is designed to give you time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and people of Mastatal. We try to take a two-hour lunch/siesta/swimming break in the middle of each day. And we take the middle day of the workshop off from our project work, to go on recreational or cultural trips in the area. Our past groups have experienced an educational, exciting, and inspiring time while having fun with a great group of people.Lodging & Food at Rancho Mastatal
Your workshop fee includes dorm lodging, all meals (primarily vegetarian, and sumptuous), and in-country transportation. Private or semi-private accommodations may be available at an additional cost—contact Rancho Mastatal. Ask us about options for family members not taking the workshop.
Please see www.ranchomastatal.com for more information. Please note that the folks at the Ranch do not check e-mail frequently, so please make your lodging upgrade inquiries well before the beginning of the workshop.
Costa Rica Language and Culture
Costa Rica is a Spanish speaking country. However, in many places you will find people who speak some or plenty of English, and it is quite possible to get along with minimal Spanish. The people are used to tourists, and are very helpful. We recommend that you invest some time in learning at least some basic Spanish to facilitate your journey, and out of respect for the local people. Lonely Planet’s Costa Rica Spanish Phrasebook is an excellent, inexpensive introduction to the language. Our workshop will be taught in English, with Spanish translation for local participants if necessary.
Ticos, as Costa Ricans are often called, are generally easy-going, open, helpful, and fun people. The country’s tranquil nature shows through in all aspects of the culture. Since 1949, the country has been without any armed forces. Costa Rica, despite its relatively small size, has an incredibly diverse geography. A series of volcanic mountain chains run down the center of the country. The highest point is Cerro Chirripó, which reaches 3,820 meters high, rivaling some of the taller mountains in the United States. The variety of flora and fauna found throughout the country is remarkable for a country so small. It is a nature lover’s paradise. The majority of people are white, with smaller percentages of blacks and Indians. Though not quite as “advanced” as the United States, Costa Ricans enjoy a life expectancy similar to that of Americans, perhaps a result of a more laid back lifestyle, and a healthy dose of fish, rice, and beans.
What to Wear & Bring
Mastatal in April will be warm, humid, but relatively dry. We recommend traveling as lightly as possible. Resist the temptation to bring everything you think you might possibly need. Light, long sleeved shirts and pants are recommended for sun, insect protection, and evening use. In the tropical climate, darker clothes will make you hot and attract bugs. Bring plenty of underclothes, and clothes that dry easily. Heavy jeans are thick and take an extremely long time to dry in the humid, tropical climate where you will be staying.
Bring a good hat to shade your eyes and forehead and to keep your head dry if it rains. If you are light skinned or very heat sensitive, bring a wide brimmed hat. You will be in a tropical forest, and we will be doing physical work, so make sure you bring a pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Rubber boots are very popular in Costa Rica, and can be purchased in country if necessary. Work gloves will be handy for protection from blisters, stones, dirt, and plants. A local family is available to do laundry for a fee, or folks can do their own in one of the outdoor sinks/basins.
Here is a list of smaller items that you may find useful:
• Small flashlight with spare bulb and batteries (rechargeable)
• Travel alarm clock or watch
• Swiss Army-style pocketknife
• A section of cord or line (clothesline or for a thousand other purposes)
• Sewing kit
• Sunglasses (good ones as the sun is very, very strong)
• Toiletries (use soaps, shampoos and toothpastes that are biodegradable)
• Sunblock (don’t skimp on sunblock, and use the biodegradable type)
• Insect repellent
• Water bottles
• First-aid kit
• Prescription medicines (many are available cheaper in Costa Rica, but don’t take your chances)
We recommend that you carry your gear in a large, internal frame backpack. It’s less tiresome to carry your load on your back, although you have to be aware when in crowded places. Make sure that you choose a good quality pack that won’t rip, break or become damaged in any way as it may get “tested.” In addition, a smaller backpack is useful when doing shorter day hikes.
There is only one public telephone in the town of Mastatal. There is also a police radio in town for emergencies. Internet service is sporadically available in Mastatal in a few different forms, but you shouldn’t count on it. The ranch has a telephone for emergency use. Check with your wireless carrier for voice, text, or data plans. My experience is that voice and data are relatively costly, while modestly priced text plans can keep you in touch with family and friends without absorbing as much of your $ and attention.
For this workshop, we will be meeting and traveling as a group once participants arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica. You will need to make your own arrangements to fly into the Juan Santamaría international airport (SJO) in Alajuela, the primary international airport in Costa Rica, which is approximately 17 kilometers west of San José. If you are willing to carry some gear with you from the states, please contact me.
Participants must by ready to meet outside the San Jose, Costa Rica airport (airport code SJO) by 3:00 p.m. at the latest on Saturday, April 2, 2016, and will be returned to the same airport by 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 10, 2016. Please plan your flights accordingly, with leeway for the vagaries of travel. Those not at the meeting place at the appointed time on April 2 will need to make their own arrangements to get to the ranch.
On our final night in Mastatal, we’ll have a farewell party, and perhaps some entertainment. On the following morning, participants will travel by shuttle bus to the San Jose airport, arriving by 11 AM on Sunday, April 10. If you need to stay overnight in the San Jose area on either end of your trip, or want ideas for other travel within the country, we can give you advance advice, or talk while we are together in Mastatal.
Cancellation Policy: If a workshop is cancelled (rare), you will receive a full refund. If you cancel more than 90 days before start of workshop, you will receive a 75% refund; 30-90 days before workshop, 50% refund; less than 30 days before start of workshop, no refund.
Program information and logistics:
Ian Woofenden, Workshop Coordinator
PO Box 1001, Anacortes, WA 98221
Lodging upgrades and local information:
Tim O’Hara, Owner, Rancho Mastatal Environmental Learning Center & Lodge