Upcoming Training: Solar Hot Water Systems

January 26-February 1, 2014

(Register by January 17)

solar hot water

Solar hot water systems use the sun’s energy to provide hot water for the household taps or for household heating. During this course, students will learn about solar hot water systems in general and gain hands-on experience installing solar hot water panels for an in-floor (radiant) heating system.
Where: Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, Pine Ridge, SD

Who: Students from tribes throughout the country will join Lakota Solar Enterprises and Trees, Water & People for this hands-on training.

You must complete a Registration and Payment Form to be considered for this training.

When: January 26-February 1, 2014

Apply Now!
Registration and Payment Form due January 17, 2014

For more information, and to download a Payment and Registration Form, visit www.solarwarriors.org or call Lacey Gaechter at 970-484-3678 or email lacey@treeswaterpeople.org.

Trees, Water & People Renewable Energy Program Red Lettering (250)

Photo of the Week: The Sacred Earth Lodge is open!

Sacred Earth Lodge

Thank you to everyone who joined us this past weekend for the Grand Opening of the Sacred Earth Lodge. ¬†It was great to celebrate this important moment in the Tribal Renewable Energy Program’s history with all of our friends and family.

Sacred Earth Lodge is a one-of-a kind facility located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. It is a beautiful and functional space available for rent to visitors, conferences, workshops, and as an affordable meeting location in the heart of Indian Country.

We offer hostel-style lodging with shared sleeping spaces, restrooms, and a community kitchen.

For information about visiting or renting the facility please contact John Motley at 970-484-3678 or email john@treeswaterpeople.org.

We hope you will visit soon!

Notes from the Field: Bountiful Harvests and Finishing Touches

by Teague Walsh-Felz, Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center Intern

Sacred Earth Lodge

We are in the countdown phase of finishing the Sacred Earth Lodge. In¬†just the few months that I’ve been working with Trees, Water & People and Lakota Solar Enterprises the¬†building has completely transformed. The walls are up, the furniture is in and¬†now we are only making the finishing touches to what will be an¬†amazing center for learning and growth. Since my last update I’ve been¬†busy with both the garden and the Lodge. Both are coming¬†together amazingly.

Pine Ridge vegetable giveawayBecause I am the Garden Coordinator, I guess I’ll start with the¬†changes at Solar Warrior Farm. It’s still producing more than 100 pounds of¬†cucumber a week. Last week I set up a free giveaway in front of the Tribal Office in¬†downtown Pine Ridge. I had a lot of conversations with many different people about growing food and introduced quite a few to¬†lemon cucumbers. Along with another¬†giveaway earlier in the week, we handed out roughly 150 to 200 pounds¬†of produce in one week.

The peppers have started to harvest and the corn is coming down in¬†the next two weeks. Some of the corn is infected with corn smut. It is¬†considered a disease throughout most of the United States but is eaten¬†as a delicacy throughout Central America. I’ll have to try it. The¬†squash is continuing to give a bountiful harvest and the tomatoes¬†continue to be delicious and colorful. I recently transplanted some¬†kale into a nice raised bed and I am crossing my fingers the first frost will not arrive too early.

Teague at Sacred Earth LodgeWe just put up the ceiling for the Sacred Earth Lodge. It was the¬†biggest tarp I’ve ever seen and it really ties the entire building¬†together. Lots of long days and a bit of blood and sweat have really¬†created something amazing. We are putting the finishing touches on the¬†lodge. I was on the roof painting another layer of sealant with Jeff¬†as the septic tank was being delivered. The trees that were planted¬†just a few weeks ago are staying healthy, and the plumbing is being¬†hooked up. I’m looking forward to the opening, and the next projects¬†that are already being planned.

Upcoming Training: Building with Compressed Earth Blocks

earth block building
Photo courtesy of EarthinBlock

Compressed Earth Blocks (CEB) are a sustainable construction option, using high pressure to create bricks from local soil and clay with only a tiny amount of cement.¬†CEB eliminates the energy and pollution produced in the creation of bricks and cement blocks. In many areas CEB homes can replace wooden structures that are adding to the depletion of the world‚Äôs forests. Earth blocks are cheaper, greener and far more durable than concrete blocks or mud bricks. The stabilized blocks don‚Äôt melt in the rain so rebuilding isn’t necessary.¬†

Key components of this training include mixing ratios, the use of a compressed earth block machine to make bricks, and designing and constructing a naturally well-insulated and efficient earth block building.

earth block machine
The EarthinBlock machine is designed and manufactured in the U.S.A. by former NASA engineers. It weighs 2,000 pounds and can be towed. It can be easily moved around a building site or up the side of a mountain.

Hosted by Trees, Water & People, EarthinBlocks, and Lakota Solar Enterprises

Where: Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, Pine Ridge, South Dakota

When: October 18-26, 2013

Registration and scholarship applications are due October 1st!

You must complete a registration form or scholarship application to be considered for this training.

We are honored to be able to offer three scholarships to female students for this training.

Trees, Water & People Renewable Energy Program

Photo of the Week: Volunteers Build Sacred Earth Lodge from the Ground Up

Pine Ridge volunteers

About this photo

Mae DuMarce worked with TWP employees, Amanda Haggerty (left) and Heather Herrell (right), this past weekend to finish construction of the Sacred Earth Lodge. With the help of dedicated volunteers and staff, we have built the new Lodge from the ground up. This new building will be used as a training facility and dormitory for our Tribal Renewable Energy Program. Thanks to everyone who has helped make this project a success!

To learn about the October 11th Grand Opening of the Sacred Earth Lodge please visitwww.treeswaterpeople.org/sacredearthlodge

Volunteer Opportunity: Help Complete the Sacred Earth Lodge Sept. 26-29

Dedicated volunteers have helped build the Sacred Earth Lodge from the ground up!
Dedicated volunteers have helped build the Sacred Earth Lodge from the ground up!

Take this opportunity to travel to our Tribal Renewable Energy Program’s headquarters on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for a long weekend of fun, hard work, and new experiences! Although it is only a five hour drive from the Trees, Water & People office in Fort Collins, Colorado, a trip to Pine Ridge will offer¬†volunteers an unforgettable¬†cultural experience and an opportunity to help build the Sacred Earth Lodge, our new training center and dormitory.

What: Volunteer Weekend to finish building the Sacred Earth Lodge
Where: Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota
When:¬†Thursday, September 26¬†‚Äď Sunday, September¬†29
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 help finish building the Sacred Earth Lodge and to make new friends!

All the Details:

Volunteers are invited to arrive any time after 5:00 pm on Thursday the 26th. We will host full work days Friday and Saturday and a half day on Sunday. Projects will end by 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, and volunteers are welcome to head home any time Sunday. The primary focus of this trip will be to put on the finishing touches on the Sacred Earth Lodge and basic beautification of the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center campus. This is the final push before the October 11 Grand Opening of our new training facility.  Anything could come up, so please be flexible. Projects may be outdoors and certainly will not take place in a climate-controlled environment. Check the weather prior to coming.

Food:

  • TWP will provide volunteers with meals and snacks during the trip.
  • Food purchased by TWP will be vegetarian 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 snacks.

Transportation:

  • All volunteers are responsible for their own transportation and related costs getting to Pine Ridge.
  • I 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.

Lodging: Camping or Hostel-Style Bunks

  • 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 ample bunks available due to the new lodge, but please bring your own bedding. (sheets, blanket, pillow, etc.) The room will be co-ed and may have up to 10 people per room.

To volunteer, please email the following information to John Motley at john@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. most 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 John will email you directions to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center and provide you with additional details.

We hope you can make it!

Tribal Design

Save the Date! Grand Opening of the Sacred Earth Lodge: Oct. 11, 2013

Sacred Earth Lodge

You are invited to the Grand Opening celebration of the Sacred Earth Lodge on October 11, 2013 in Pine Ridge, South Dakota! After a year and a half of planning, construction, volunteer trips, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we are excited to open our new training building to the public.

October 11, 2013, 2:00pm – 8:00pm

Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center
Pine Ridge, South Dakota
 
Stick around for cultural activities!
October 12, 2013, 9:00am – 12:00pm
Sacred Earth Lodge
Click to enlarge

The Sacred Earth Lodge is the newest edition to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) campus, located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and headquarters for our Tribal Renewable Energy Program. This new building will be used as a training center and dormitory for our ever-expanding Tribal Program. With such huge demand for our workshops, we are excited to add more and better classroom space, facilities and many more beds to RCREC.

For more information please contact Lacey Gaechter, National Director, at lacey@treeswaterpeople.org or by phone at (877)606-4TWP.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunity: Pine Ridge Reservation, July 25-28

Our amazing volunteers make anything possible!

Join us for a volunteer weekend at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center! This is a great opportunity for you to learn more about the Tribal Renewable Energy Program and experience the Lakota culture firsthand.

What: Volunteer Weekend
Where: Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD
When:¬†Thursday, July 25 ‚Äď Sunday, July 28
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: Meet new people and do great things!

Volunteers are invited to arrive anytime after 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 25. We will host full work days Friday and Saturday. Projects will end by 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, and volunteers are welcome to head home Saturday evening or on Sunday morning. The primary focus of this trip will be working in and around our new training annex, now officially named Sacred Earth Lodge. Projects will include painting, sheet rocking, taping, trim carpentry, minor electric, and landscaping. Additional needs may arise between now and our trip so flexibility is a must!

Food:

  • TWP will provide food to volunteers during their time at Pine Ridge.
  • Breakfast and lunch foods purchased by TWP will be vegan (no animal products). Feel free to bring your own food if you desire.
  • Dinners will be prepared for you by a local Lakota family member and will include meat products.
  • TWP cooking equipment and utensils will be available for use.
  • Volunteers will be responsible for preparing all their own breakfast and lunch (provided by TWP), and cleaning up after themselves.

 Transportation:

  • 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.

 Lodging:

  • Volunteers are encouraged to camp on the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center’s campus and must bring their own camping equipment to do so. Weather will be unpredictable, so only those comfortable in the outdoors should camp.
  • Bunks will also be available¬†for up to 14 volunteers, who will share a room with up to 6 other individuals (co-ed).

To volunteer, please email the following information to Claire Burnett, National Program Assistant, at claire@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. most 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 Claire has confirmed your spot, you will receive an email with directions to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center and additional details about the trip.

We hope you can join us!

Name Selected for New Building at RCREC!

sacred earth lodge

Thank you to everyone who submitted name ideas for TWP’s new building at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC)! The new building will be called Sacred Earth Lodge.¬†This name reflects the importance of culture, community, knowledge sharing, and Mother Earth. Stay tuned for updates as we finish the building and open it up to trainees. Was-te!

Trees, Water & People Renewable Energy Program