Is it Spring Already?

Quail SpringsCommunity, The Land 1 Comment

Aside from a bit of snow on Sunday night (yay, moisture!), it feels like spring has arrived at Quail Springs already. The birds are singing and nesting, the frogs and red-winged blackbirds are active in and around the pond. Lizards are out soaking up the sun, and so are we!

Are you interested in joining us (and the lizards) out here in this beautiful wild place? We're looking for a Program Coordinator to join our Program team. If you or someone you know is excited about co-creating and facilitating meaningful programs for youth and adults, please apply and spread the word.

Or join us out here for the day! We just posted two new farm tour dates for this spring (see dates and details here).

We've got good news: we're starting to offer our courses offsite and closer to town. Our Intro to Cob Building course, taught by Sasha Rabin and John Orcutt, will be held in Ojai this April. The course just filled up, but feel free to sign up for the waiting list.  A few other upcoming opportunities to get some hands-on building experience: we'll be teaching a Cob Oven workshop at the Buckhorn in New Cuyama on May 16th-17th (more details will be posted soon), and we'll be collaborating on a small straw and cob play structure at the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens (volunteers welcome!) on May 23rd-24th. Email [email protected] if you want to sign up for the workshop, or if you want to volunteer to help out at the Botanical Gardens.

As for other upcoming courses, we are also co-sponsoring a Wildlife Tracking course coming up in April, taking place at various locations around the Cuyama Valley.

Now for a few highlights of 2020 at Quail Springs thus far:

Thanks to a capacity building grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation, we had a 3-day staff training in January with consultant Simon Mont to restructure our organization according to the principles of holacracy (less hierarchy, more flat structure). We're still working out the kinks, but we're excited! And hopeful that this new structure will make Quail Springs a much more resilient organization in the long term.

Staff training in holocracy
Also in January, John finished the passive solar trombe wall on the Cathedral (aka our upstairs office), and we are so much warmer!
Natural building trombe wall
The trombe wall is the black section at the bottom: a glass box over black clay plaster.  Convection sucks cool air from the interior into the trombe wall through vents on the bottom; that air is warmed by the sun (to over 130 degrees!); and then this warm air flows back into the building through vents at the top.  As the sun moves higher in the sky, the roof shades more of the wall, "turning off" the heat by late spring.  Typing with mittens on is hard, and so we're all extremely grateful -- thanks, Johno!

The turn toward warmer weather last week inspired a few Quail Springers to go out walking in the creek, and they found some tracks we've never seen out here before....any guesses?
Spring tracks
If you're interested in learning how to read the tracks on the landscape to better understand the comings and goings of our wild neighbors, sign up for our tracking course coming up in April.

That's all from Quail Springs for now...we hope that you're enjoying these lengthening days, and we hope for some more rain before the season's out, too!

All of us at Quail Springs

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