As a Luddite-leaning septuagenerian it surprises me that I am really thankful for a piece of technology: my computer’s ability to sort photos by year, without which I would be challenged to remember all that we accomplished at Deep Dirt Institute and Campus in 2019. It was a phenomenal year, made possible by hard work, engaged students and the generosity of many people, not least of which are our outstanding board and recently hired executive director.
We were able to support an intern in 2019. Mackenzie Martin came from Canada to spend a year with us and we could not have asked for a more perfect fit. She brings a lot to the organization and has enriched our world. Some of her time has been spent at the Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center. As a foodie Mackenzie is interested in growing farm to table activities.
The physical infrastructure of our Visitor Welcome Center and tool storage is close to completion; an eroded ditch was reclaimed and productively reinvented. Waste materials were utilized in numerous ways: plant nursery storage (old pallets), a sweet, small pond (damaged satellite dish), supporting plants, birds and insects; trail stabilization (wood chips, old corral fence posts), road repair and rainwater infiltration structures (broken concrete). All designed to functionally support: water infiltration, wildlife habitat, human food needs, soil life and carbon sequestration.
We made compost, grew and harvested nutrient dense organic produce; increased our egg laying, bug-eating duck flock; hosted camp-outs; worked with Americorps volunteers; initiated a solar installation; pulled endless tumbleweeds; wrote and rewrote to do lists, and checked them off.
Successful fundraisers were held at our campus, in town and on line. Donations were dropped into our donation box at the Visitor Center by folks from the community, around the country, and across the world. And grants made some big things happen.
We toured dozens of individuals and groups and are amazed by our visitors, who they are and where they come from: neighbors, academics, agency folk, writers, scientists, master gardeners and some new to all of this, curious and wanting to see what we are up to. They brought news, insight and perspective and shared deep concerns about the planet. Some are doing key work where they are. We are part of a movement, a mosaic of restoration activity world wide.
Our work inspires, and the fact that most of it has been done by youth participating in our education programs is heartening to all of our visitors. Youth are the future. It is essential that they learn the skills we need to care for our earth and ourselves and they are hungry for that knowledge and experience. They soak it up, it is empowering and they shine.
Before they leave Deep Dirt Institute they are asked to commit to one thing that they will do to make a better future on our planet - their passion and commitment often bring tears of hope and I am profoundly grateful. You would be as well.
Best wishes for you all in 2020!
Kate Tirion, Founder & Program Director
To learn more about all that was accomplished at Deep Dirt Institute in 2019, click the image below to check out our annual report.