Our Story

The Evolving Story of Quail Springs Permaculture

In every story told there are countless people, situations, and synchronicities that weave together in seen and unseen ways to make up the very threads in the fabric of its unfolding. We wish to thank the myriad of people and circumstances that have led to the creation and ongoing tending of Quail Springs Permaculture.


In 1997, Warren Brush and Cyndi Harvan began a program for homeless youth out of a shelter for families in Santa Barbara, California, which grew into Wilderness Youth Project (WYP), an independent nonprofit organization sharing nature connection and mentoring with youth and families. Their aim was to support the healthy growth of youth with diverse cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. Each year, WYP spent many a day in the Cuyama Valley tracking animals, building shelters, learning about earth-based skills, tending fires, mentoring, stewarding the land, and sharing stories.

In 2004, a former cattle ranch with a dwindling spring in the Cuyama Valley was secured through the generosity of a local Santa Barbara family foundation. Warren and Cyndi moved onto the land to lead the care taking and development of what would become Quail Springs, and the subsequent birth of a new nonprofit organization called True Nature Society to steward the education and land stewardship mission. Just one year later, Kolmi Majumdar and Paul Swenson joined Warren and Cyndi on the land. Since then, many other dedicated and inspired people have taken part in developing the organization Quail Springs is today.

When Quail Springs property was purchased, the land was heavily denuded from overgrazing of cattle. The stream was dry during the daytime, and only flowed at a trickle of about 3 gallons per minute, at night. Since that time, Quail Springs stewards have spent countless hours tending to the springs, and putting in riparian trees and plants which create living sponges that revivify the water table.

The Present & Our Hope for the Future

Now we are seeing a yearly average flow of about 40 gallons per minute during the day and 60 gallons per minute at night. Wildlife is flourishing with the increased water supply. We know first hand that natural springs can be restored and rejuvenated. This gives us and future generations hope and a great reason to celebrate.

Quail Springs Permaculture is a gathering of passionate stewards who have dedicated their work to the multi-generational learning journey of seeding and tending the land and the culture. We strive to live for the land–not just with it or from it. We are guided and nurtured by our Board of Directors, Stewardship Council, staff, donors, volunteers, interns, apprentices, course participants, and partner organizations which together provide a strong circle of support.

As the story continues to unfold, Quail Springs Permaculture grows in its experience, sharing and influence. We now have offerings around California, the United States, and internationally, providing quality education programs and germinating demonstration sites.