Founded in Florida in 1990 as an ecological educational institution dedicated to religious freedom and created as a religious order, we incorporated in June 1994. We moved to Arizona 1996 and created WindTree Ranch, an ecological site using alternative building techniques. In Arizona ('96-'08) we ran free children's summer eco-camps, gathered and recycled clothing from Phoenix/Globe into Mexico, taught Mexican children in the local AZ/MX border schools and watched as up to 400 undocumented Mexican nationals a month walked across our land to find work in the USA. In 2005 we began as volunteer summer teachers in Central Mexico schools. In May 2008 we moved to a rural Central Mexico village because statistics informed us that Mexicans understand ecology and global warming better (59%) than those in the USA (32%). We also learned that Mexico needed volunteer teachers of English to reduce emigration.
This is our history since the ranch was sold in July 2009 to make the transition to Mexico possible:
This Land Preserve, WindTree Ranch, was established in 1996. We had 1,227 acres of foothills to oversee. In March 2008, after 8 years in and out of court due to an unfulfilled land sale to fund our preserve (WindTree Ranch), we listed the land for sale in order to pay the legal fees. In June 2008, we moved to Mexico. What follows was our dreams and continues to be our reality in Mexico: teaching and preserving.
The shape of the land is a Feng Shui ideal with the southwest elevation at 4,900' and the northeast elevation at 6,200'. The Land is a climatic transition zone. The lower area is called High Desert (sage and mesquite) and the upper area is known as Mandarin Evergreen Forest (juniper and oaks). The shape is rectangular: one mile north from the base to the top of the side of a mountain range and two miles east across the south facing slope. The monastery is tucked into a bowl shape area, on the western quarter, opening to the south. The mountain tops are smooth and rolling like the water we cherish.
During those first years of Service Land Stewardship we struggled to meet the annual mortgage payment as well as provide shelter and comfort for residents and guests. The strain was too much for the 2 or 3 of us shouldering most of that responsibility. We finally choose to focus foremost on paying off the mortgage, then turn our attention to providing shelter and comfort for residents and guests.
click HERE for the eco-sustainable method of building called Papercrete (newspaper homes).
We are an entirely non-profit owned space set aside for The Seventh Generation. "Mortgage free in 2003" was our goal. We made it in May 2003 and on October 11, 2003 had a mortgage burning party with our Elders.CLICK HERE
With a big sigh of relief after that initial goal has been met, that makes it possible for us to once again turn our focus toward the people who will give Service to this Land in years to come. Therefore, we are ready to receive people onto this vast expanse of High Desert Foothills and to complete small shelters started many years ago as well as continue our eco-research and service to our border community.
Historical: Options of Land Service include:
1. Historical: INTERNSHIPS
We have Land Stewardship Internships available for periods of 10-90 days. If we are all in agreement, they are can be renewable for longer periods of time.
Our intension is to locate those who are called from a special place within their hearts to serve the Land, not to live consumerist lifestyles.
Ideal Intern is really enjoying exploring options to recycle items into a space for themselves. A space that is safe from the elements, comfortable, and inexpensive; perhaps with a great deal of self-expression and fun thrown in too!
We call these spaces "casitas," Spanish for little houses. Traditionally they would be called monk's cells as they are for sleeping, reading, and resting, but what is happening to our Planet needs to have innovation applied, and "sideways thinking" (thinking outside the box, or the way we have always been thinking), not tradition.
The casita is a basic place in which to renew and refresh the mind and the body, plus a place to become in balance with the land.
By living in a place that the occupant built themselves they begin to understand the reduction of a consumerist lifestyle and the growth of self-esteem through self-expression: finding their Sacred Self. It's very empowering.
Most casitas have the bonus of an awesome view of the Land south into Mexico. The back door usually looks north into the National Forest.
An ideal intern is in Service to the Land and learns from being on the Land. A less than ideal intern has a boom box going so loud that neither the intern, nor anyone else, can hear the calls of nature to Restore, Repair, Reconnect, and Reuse. This is a person who is restless without the continuous distractions of the modern world, namely noise pollution in all its forms. This person is it not concerned about our environment enough to want to make a difference. A less than ideal intern is bored in this rural location.
2. Historical: VISITORS
We are not open to the public, however we welcome visitors who (1) have made prior arrangements, (2) are willing to honor our rules and (3) donate a minimum of $20 per vehicle (cost reimbursement) to visit. We ask no reimbursement for our costs for visitors who are (A) from out of the country, (B) are in education careers: ministers, teachers, or professors, or (C) in eco research.
The cost of gas and vehicle repairs equates to $20 per trip "down the hill," plus most visitors also join us for a meal or two during their stay. This minimum donation is a reimbursement for our associated costs of opening our gates to a visitor.
Additional Information on visitation HERE.
Our vehicle costs equal that of the modern budget for housing costs: fully 1/3 of our overall budget. Non-profits, like any home or business, have budgets to follow. It is expensive in both time away from Service projects and money for travel costs to host a visitor for even a short visit (there is no taxi service and no McDonald's here!).
Special considerations may be made for longer term visitors, particularly other clergy, students, or researchers of eco-sustainable methods.
click HERE for the eco-sustainable method of building called Papercrete (newspaper homes).
We have very limited Bed & Breakfast facilities in the planning stages only.
Scholarships for Visitors:
Our gates and our hearts fly open to college students or professors, residents of other eco-villages, and those from foreign countries. The following are certainly the people for whom we are willing to absorb the cost of hosting them as a visitor: college students, or professors, residents of other eco-villages, and those from foreign countries.
We are willing to shoulder the responsibility of raising the funds to offer donation-free visits in these special cases. We are always eager to develop open dialogue with those anxious to learn or those willing to share their methods of eco-responsible living and hopefully helping at preserving our Planet. We are partners with the same goals.
We WERE an eco-sustainable work-in-progress - Now we simply live as green mentors
We are NOT there yet; making no claim as such. Each day brings us closer to being ecologically self-sustainable, but we are certainly aware that we have a long way yet to go! It is an enormous challenge.
Awareness in America, of our environmental crisis, peaked in the 1970's and has been on a downward spiral since that time.
People are ignoring the obvious signs of an over populated Planet in trouble, Global Warming, and the need to live closer to the land to Restore, Repair, Reconnect, and Reuse what we have already harvested.
WindTree Ranch we are Living Simply, not sparsely. Examples include (pictures above):
We have a 500 sq. ft. commercial kitchen that is very well stocked with attributes that many gourmet chefs would envy.
We are using propane for cooking; we want a solar oven, and an outdoor clay bread oven.
Living on a delightfully varied, colorful, and usually gourmet vegetarian diet offers health for the diner and for the land they stand upon. This land was clear cut and then over grazed for 100+ years; the victim of excessive cattle ranching.
Ancient man occasionally ate meat; his stable was grazing on plant life. We need to practice that habit in order to stop erosion and restore the native grasses. WindTree Ranch land is 100% meat free; eat as you wish elsewhere.
We have a 500 sq. ft. papercrete root cellar where we have organic grain stored. We have enough there to feed 15 people for a year or 5 people for 3 years. We also make beer, wine, and mead in this cool space. It's both practical and fun to have our own on site "grocery store." We practice what Zen Buddhists call "mindfulness" by planning for the future in such a manner.
We need to produce more from our organic gardens and better organize the root cellar.
Winter is our easiest growing season. Our hot beds usually overflow with gourmet leaf lettuce, spinach, herbs, garlic, carrots, radishes, and other cool climate veggies. We can grow year round.
We need to insulate our growing spaces against the three other seasons: The drying winds of the spring, the heat of the summer and the invasive locusts of the fall.
We need to expand our capacity to provide for all our food needs year round.
Our dining area includes about 4,000+ books, CD's, videos. We have hundreds of books on ecology, gardening, and alternative building.
We need more time, muscle, money, and innovation to complete the village and expand our research.
We have DirecTV access to satellite TV. Entertainment also includes 200 CD's, and 150 videos. We also entertain each other with board games, great talks, hiking, and removing cactus spines from unlikely places.
Because of indoor noise pollution disturbing those who are reading, we have a separate media room, to house the TV and Stereo, in the planning.
We have about 2,000 sq. ft. under roof for dorm rooms, a studio or library, and a laundry room.
We need time, muscle, and money, to build walls and complete these spaces.
Our workshop is about 800 sq. ft. and well stocked with tools for construction and auto repairs. The concrete pad is strong enough to drive an auto indoors during repairs.
We need to finish insulating the ceiling and outside walls, as well as painting the outside. We need to repair the 12' tall entrance doors.
We have two working water wells, one a traditional windmill, the other solar powered that we leave for those "passing by" on foot whom would die without the water.
We need to expand our water harvesting to better serve our gardens, our tree planting projects, and our non-potable water needs. Just the dining hall roof alone offers us 12,000 gallons a year in rain run-off!
We have two fruit and veggie drying racks, all the equipment to do home canning, and a year round cool root cellar.
We need to find people interested in reviving the preserving techniques that work so very well in this climate.
We have had as many as 34 free range chickens and/or ducks producing organic stress-free eggs for human consumption.
An enthusiastic coyote over reacted when he broke into our bird house and killed them all November 2002; eating none.
We need to build a bigger and better bird house.
The walk to the other side of our property, and back, takes about 4 hours. The experience makes one vastly more appreciate the land for which we are the stewards. The view is 150+ miles of unbroken hills and valleys, it's breathtaking!
We need to reach people who are fit enough to want to take such a walk and then self-driven to want to revive the Land they are walking upon.
We have vowed that this Land be Tobacco and (illegal) Drug Free. Every attempt to allow those wanting to recover from addictions to come here to do so has ended in heartache on both sides. People live as they please and change only when they want to do so; we can't help them change internally. We do not allow any tobacco use or controlled substance use on the Land.
We need to attract people here who are committed to living without harmful chemical additives in their system.
This land is 4,900' to 6,200' elevation which offers very mild winters, hot but very dry summer days and cool summer nights.
Those committed to living with passive solar and other alternative comfort techniques will thrive here.
Our commitment to preserving the plant and animal life on this land has in the past caused us to butt heads with the local cattle ranchers and their free range practices. We are fenced on 3 sides with a contract to fence the open side by January 2001 that has not been fulfilled by the other party.
The Malpi Borderlands Group, local to our area and nationally known, has made it possible for those who are environmentally concerned to work with those preserving their cattle ranching business by creating grass banks and other innovations that both schools of thought can respect as "win, win" workable solutions. Our Planet needs more innovative thinkers like these folks!
Due to our strong commitment to providing for the Seventh Generation, we offered a free children's summer camp from 1997-2001. The last of those 5 summers we had 19 youngsters here for up to 3 weeks. They learned about survival, simple living, and raising self-esteem through cooperation: games and role playing. We now have plans in place to open our own school in town with day trips to the ranch.
Governmental hurdles prevented us from continuing a camping program for kids, but we now have the necessary certificates. We need to educate our people in public service as to the long term value of such an experience during childhood.
We need to educate our neighbors as to the value of investing today in a child's experiences so that tomorrow they will not throw beer cans on the highway or steal from others. An ounce of prevention today might well reduce to need for prisons tomorrow.
When we all believe that we are all responsible for the condition of our Planet and the behavior of our Youth, then positive change will occur.
Founders Jacquie Zaleski Mackenzie and Don Mackenzie had a vision that this be a land sanctuary for the young, a research center for the inquisitive, a safe haven for the environmentally overwhelmed, and an informal teaching platform for the Elders in perpetuity.
Those goals continue today as we reach out to the world to find any, or all, of those people.
We need to get our outreach ads in front of those who are missing them. Please feel free to pass on our information to any media you may think appropriate.
The years are flying by as the work-in-progress check list at WindTree Ranch seems to multiply instead of receding. Each year that passes brings more innovative ideas followed by more sore muscles. This is not a place for the physically unfit or those not self-motivated to meet shared goals.
The years of abuse to this land have created a harsh landscape. The walk is uneven, the load is heavy, the demands are never ending, but with dedication the rewards will last to the Seventh Generation.
You can help HERE...........
Now, come see for yourself our work in Mexico, if you dare!
Tierra de Verano A. C.
Cajones, Guanajuato, Mexico 36262
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