Volunteer Opportunity: Building with Compressed Earth Block and Straw Bale


building straw bale home

Take this opportunity to travel to Trees, Water & People’s Tribal Renewable Energy Program headquarters on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. A trip to Pine Ridge, home of the Oglala Lakota Tribe, will offer volunteers an unforgettable cultural experience and an opportunity to help complete sustainable building projects. This is a wonderful way to give back, learn new skills, and make new friends!

Where: Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD
When: Thursday, May 1 – Sunday, May 4
Who: Flexible volunteers who like adventure, hard work, lots of fun, and all kinds of weather. Volunteers 14-18 are welcome with adult companions.
Why: To continue our work on our three straw bale homes. A great volunteer and learning experience!

Trip Details


  • TWP will provide volunteers with meals and snacks during the trip.
  • Food purchased by TWP will be simple and tasty, but feel free to bring any food you desire. We will send out a meal plan as the date comes near.
  • TWP cooking equipment and utensils will be available for use.
  • Volunteers will help in preparing all meals and with cleaning up afterwards.


  • All volunteers are responsible for their own transportation and related costs getting to Pine Ridge.
  • We will be happy to coordinate carpools where possible.
  • Our facility is located down a short dirt road. Many sedans have traveled it without any problems.


  • Campers on the Red Cloud Renewable Energy campus must bring their own camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag and pad, etc.). Weather is unpredictable, so only those comfortable in the outdoors should camp.
  • There will be beds available in our dorms, but please bring your own bedding (sheets, blanket, pillow, etc.).

To register, please email the following information to Jeff Hargis at Jeff@treeswaterpeople.org :

  1. Name of all people in your volunteer party
  2. Email addresses for all people in your volunteer party
  3. Your cell phone number
  4. Which days you have available to travel to and work in Pine Ridge
  5. Where you will be coming from and returning to (e.g. many people will be coming from Fort Collins, CO)
  6. Whether you will be camping or require a bunk in our loft (first come, first served!)
  7. Do you need a ride?
  8. Can you offer a ride – if so, to how many people?
  9. Any other questions you may have.

Once we have confirmed your spot, he will email you directions to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center and provide you with additional details. We hope to see you soon!

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Trees, Water & People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to developing sustainable community-based conservation solutions.

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