Wahkiacus Heights, WA -- The Windward Center, an intentional community focused on modeling sustainability, announced today that it has selected the first three of its six Sustainable Living Internship positions for '06. That announcement came from Windward's Internship Coordinator, Walt Patrick, who said,
      "We're extremely pleased with the interest we've received in our internship program. And even more pleased with the initial batch of interns we've selected."

     The first three 22/23 year old college grads enrolled in the program represent diverse backgrounds, both academic and geographic. They'll be arriving at Windward's 131-acre site in the highlands above the Klickitat River in south-central Washington in June to begin 3-month on-site internships, to be followed by other interns arriving later in the summer and fall.

Let's meet them:


     Tristan is a recent Oregon State University graduate in forestry. Tristan grew up on a small ranch in southern Oregon that raised beef cattle, dairy goats (nubians), chickens and ducks. He helped out with a lot of construction work and also helped with some small-scale logging and mill work.

     These days Tristan is an avid bike racer who's looking forward to participating in the many challenging and scenic races held in the Pacific Northwest each summer.

     Tristan's personal sustainability focus will involve overseeing the further development of Windward's orchard of fruit and nut trees.


     Sarah is a senior at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR majoring in Foreign Languages (Spanish and French) with a concentration in Environmental Studies.

     Sarah's traveled extensively having already stayed withlocal groups in Spain, Dominican Republic, Columbia and Mexico, an experience which gave her an understanding of the importance of developing, modeling and teaching sustainable techniques for growing and cooking food.

     Sarah's personal sustainability focus will be on the development of solar cooking equipment that can be used to improve the lives of women in third world countries.


     Virgil (that's him on the right clowning around with friends) is graduating from Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire with a double major in anthropology and environmental science. During his undergraduate years, Virgil hiked extensively in Europe and gained a deep appreciation for "learning how to cook food, bake bread, make cheese, brew beer, garden, preserve food from my garden and generally connect to the things that sustained me."

     Virgil chose to apply for a Windward internship out of his desire to "to lead a happy good life, supported not by the exploitation of others or of the natural world, and to allow others to see that such a life is accomplishable and worthwhile."


     During their Windward internships, Tristan, Sarah and Virgil, along with the interns yet to be choosen, will be digging into sustainability on an immersive, hands-on basis. They'll learn the theory and practice of sustainable living by getting their feet wet and their hands dirty. One small example that includes both wet feet and dirty hands will involve modifying an earthen dam to serve as part of a planned small-scale hydroelectric project.

     Bigger projects include learning the ins-and-outs of a wide range of construction techniques by helping build earth-sheltered cabins using sustainable techniques and on-site materials: one using rammed-earth brick, the other cordwood construction. Other construction-related projects include helping to build the private Windward-designed yurt-like cabins that they'll enjoy staying in for the remainder of their internships.

     Of course learning to build sustainably is only a small part of the picture. Interns will gain hands-on experience working with Windward's livestock and will participate in community-scale sustainable agriculture, everything from composting and soil preparation to planting, harvesting, preservation and storage. They'll also share in the daily routine of preparing food for Windward's traditional noontime community meal.

     Some of Windward's most exiting projects involve innovative integrated systems. A prime example is Vermadise. Being built inside a large greenhouse-like structure, Vermadise is a prototype system for sustainably producing a variety of energy-efficient food sources, including rabbits, fish and vegetables with the help of earthworms and black soldier fly larvae to transform kitchen, garden and paper waste into nutrients for the fish and plants. This year's interns will help construct various prototype components of the system and monitor and document their operation.

     Energy production is another area for intern involvement. Projects here include raw materials processing (including everything from firewood splitting to chipping forest waste to fuel Windward's prototype wood-chip gasifier and it's wood-chip powered methanol generator. The energy category will also include helping to set up additional solar arrays to provide off-grid power for Windward's well pumps and grid-tied power to feed back onto the grid, and working to complete Windward's wood-gas powered community oven.

     Tristan, Sarah and Virgil will also be tackling a Sustainability Project of their own. These projects will involve independent research and allow each intern to delve more deeply into an area of personal interest.


     Windward's philosophy is that if it's not fun, it's not really sustainable over the long term. Windward is located in an outdoor recreation paradise: opportunities are plentiful nearby for windsurfing, kayaking, hiking, camping, bicycling, walking or just plain exploring. So interns will have lots of choices for spare-time recreation, either on their own or as part of a group.

     As with any genuine community, Windward has its own social life. Things like weekend barbecues, musical jam-sessions and fireside gatherings allow interns to participate in community social life during their internships. Naturally, interns have private time, too.

     Patrick is clearly excited about this new Windward educational program, saying, "This is a great time for Windward. We see ourselves as stewards who have taken on the mission of modeling a sustainable lifestyle on this magical site. With the recent blossoming of the sustainability concept, creating a hands-on internship program seemed a perfect way to share the many lessons we've learned with this remarkable generation of future stewards. These young people understand that the consumer lifestyle is likely to hit the wall in the coming years and want to be at the cutting edge of the next paradigm."


     The Windward Center is a nonsectarian intentional community located in rural south-central Washington. The primary focus is on modeling practical small-scale sustainable lifestyles. Windward's 131- acre site is a mix of pasture and forest and includes a wide variety of community facilities and resources. Projects are currently underway in sustainable food systems, sustainable animal husbandry, sustainable forestry and sustainable integrated systems.

Walt Patrick, Internship Coordinator
The Windward Center
55 Windward Lane
Klickitat, WA 98628

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