Big Bend Conservancy
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Marathon Gears Up for Living With Nature II Fest in August Publish Date: June 1, 2006 | Permanent LinkEnjoy 2 days of speakers, tours, and workshops on Living with Nature in sustainable ways, on August 4-6 in Marathon. Sponsored by the Marathon Chamber of Commerce, “Living With Nature II” will offer lectures, workshops and tours highlighting eco-construction, self-reliant off-the-grid living, organic growing, sustainable ranching, low impact development, and other arid land disciplines. Mornings at the Marathon event will feature half-day hands-on workshops on eco-construction and off-the-grid desert living, as well as birding excursions and eco-ranch tours. Afternoons will feature 40-minute presentations by experts on desert ecology, “green” building techniques, systems for self-reliance, and organic food production. Evening events will feature local West Texas arts and live music.Only in beautiful Marathon, Texas, can visitors experience area ranches with spectacular Big Bend views and natural resources; visit “Eve’s Garden Organic B&B and Ecology Resource Center”; or meet people with similar interests in the relaxed and comfortable* setting of one of the most charming small towns in the Southwest. Tickets for the 2-day event are: $75 for individuals, and $130 for couples (or $45 for an individual single-day entry), and can be ordered by visiting Living With Nature, where you’ll also find a program schedule and links to Marathon’s quality lodging-places. Some activities require extra fees. Program HighlightsEco ConstructionThis year’s eco-construction workshops will feature Zach Rabon, of Mason Greenstar Inc., who has been perfecting formulas for “papercrete” bricks made of recycled paper and Portland cement—lightweight building materials with super-insulating properties which lend themselves to many creative applications. Together with Clyde T. Curry who, with Kate Thayer, is proprietor of the renowned “Eve’s Garden Organic Bed and Breakfast,” Zach will demonstrate the practical and creative possibilities of this extraordinary building technique.Off-the-Grid Workshops Abe Connally is an inventor, artist, and website designer who, with his wife Josie, has been developing wind generation, rainwater catchment, shelter, food production, and other systems that, when integrated, enable completely independent living – even in the harsh and challenging West Texas environment. Drawing from his years of practical experiences and success as Vela Creations, Abe will conduct half-day workshops on Friday and Saturday to show how off-the-grid self-reliance can be achieved with intelligence and effort, but at very little cost.Organic Growing Malcolm Beck is known throughout the country as a leading authority and practitioner in the field of organic growing. Widely sought after as a speaker on the subject of organic growing, Malcolm’s home-spun approach to farming and gardening is based on the belief that if you work with nature, nature will reward your efforts. Malcolm will be our featured speaker on Saturday afternoon.Traditional Building SystemsTim White is a working engineer in the redevelopment of Roman Concrete, which uses only natural materials (clay, lime, and plant matter). Tim has been pursuing a research-based approach at making clay and lime plasters cost-competitive with Portland stuccos, and views increased durability and repairability as success markers. Tim’s presentation will describe what Lime and Roman Concrete are, the differences between them, and how they can be used in mainline 21st Century construction. Context & Direction That we live in the postindustrial age, says professor John Morony, is a fact of no small significance. Human civilization traces a history of gradual and relatively peaceful transition from wood to coal, and from coal to petroleum; but the transition from petroleum to whatever comes next is destined to be more disruptive. Most aspects of the Industrial Revolution are now proving unsustainable—building construction, medicine, agriculture, social and political institutions, even our towns and cities. By contrast, a village was and is a sustainable community. John’s hometown, once a village, had its own power plant, a kiln for lime production, its own brick factory, and it raised most of the food consumed by its people. The world of big cities might collapse, but John’s self-sufficient village would survive and thrive. In his address, John will describe how it may take a return to the village model and ways to solve the vexing problems of our age.At the same time, villages must develop in line with environmental considerations appropriate to the natural settings in which they exist. There are few places where this is truer than in the Chihuahuan Desert with its fragile ecosystems. In her address, Cathryn Hoyt, executive director of the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, will describe the “Desert Land Ethic” and its implications for creating sustainable human environments in West Texas. Plus there will be ranch tours, birding excursions, arts, and social events.
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