Since the Solar Women Warriors Scholarship was fully funded on Catapult.org, we have awarded three Native American women with scholarships to attend our Compressed Earth Block Training at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
In partnership with Lakota Solar Enterprises and EARTHinBLOCKS, this multi-day course will offer students hands-on instruction in this unique form of sustainable construction. The training includes instruction on how to operate a compressed earth block machine, mixing mud ratios and building with earth blocks. Trainees will also learn how to design and construct an earth block building.
In addition to awarding these scholarships, we also opened our new dormitory and training center at RCREC. The Sacred Earth Lodge is a one-of-a-kind facility that allows us to host many more trainees and provides much larger classroom space for our workshops.
Risks and challenges
Our biggest challenge with this project has been weather. The Compressed Earth Block Training was originally scheduled for October 18-26, 2013. However, a very large and destructive early winter storm pounded Pine Ridge with nearly two feet of snow, causing extensive damage to buildings, roads, and trees and killing thousands of cattle. Due to this rare October snow storm, we have had to reschedule the training for Spring 2014. All three women will attend the rescheduled training using their scholarship funds.
“My intent is in utilizing all opportunities available to become sustainable, reduce energy consumption, and do the best I can for our Mother Earth. I would like to build Earth Block homes on the Yankton Sioux Reservation to alleviate the lack of adequate housing in Indian Country.” – Florence Hare Yankton Sioux
“My interest is to learn any and all I can about energy efficiency and renewable energy to one day build my own home.” – Tina Marie Steele, Oglala Lakota Sioux
The next step will be to train all three of the Native American women who were awarded scholarships. After the women receive their hands-on training, we will help them gain access to other green job training opportunities that compliment sustainable building. In addition, we offer Native American entrepreneurs access to business development through the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center.
We have created a new website for our Native American trainees! It is still under construction but you can check it out here:http://solarwarriors.org