What is Ecosa Institute?
Ecosa Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the natural world through land conservation and translation of nature’s complex systems into design methodologies. The dissemination of this information is dynamic; amongst our beneficiaries of the Ecological Design Certificate Program and consultation services, land preservation and diverse community outreach. Our goal is to encourage the creation of human infrastructure that supports rich, viable native ecosystems as an integral part of human habitats.
How does the Certificate Program work?
Our Ecological Design Certificate Program is an intensive 15-week program that takes place in Prescott, AZ and the surrounding ecologies of the American Southwest. Every class is unique, made of people with diverse backgrounds and common goals, and every day is different. One day you might meet in studio for instruction and sketching of a site plan, break for lunch, spend the afternoon on our Dells property studying ecological patterns and sounds, then start a reading or video assignment that evening. Another day you might visit Arcosanti to view a vision of urban architecture and then work side-by-side with a nationally-known leader in regenerative design to restore an ecology.
MASTER THE FOUNDATIONS OF ECOLOGICAL DESIGN
The core curriculum for the Ecological Design Certificate is an interwoven tapestry of 7 “Threads” – Ecological Design, Ecological Literacy, Technology and Skills, Communication Design, Art and Culture, Community and Team Building, and Whole Systems Design – led by “Thread Weavers” to create a fabric that connects the patterns of knowledge required to become an ecological designer.
Learn from the ecology of the Southwest
Field trips are a core part of the Ecosa Institute Ecological Design Certificate program. Throughout the semester we take field trips to spectacular historic and contemporary sites around the Southwest. These trips are woven into the learning experience to provide a basis for discussion and to place sustainable design into a broader context.
WORK WITH REAL CLIENTS ON REAL PROJECTS
One of the unique aspects of the Certificate program is project work. Students develop and hone their skills in planning, self-discipline, collaboration and creativity as they work on a diverse team and engage with actual clients, real sites and real budgets. From constructing a cube that becomes a house to presenting design solutions to a real-life client, projects are a hands-on way of applying what you’ve learned and are an important part of the portfolio you will create.
What type of design projects will I work on?
Because we work with real clients on real projects, every semester at Ecosa is different. Our projects range from product design to architecture, landscape design and urban planning. Some projects are small and best for individual work, while others are large and complex and require collaboration. We ensure that we have at least one individual and one group project so that students learn to work both on their own and with a team. Below you’ll find a few examples of past projects.
Is the tuition really free?
YES! The tuition is really free. We believe education should be accessible to all as a right and not a privilege. All of our direct costs for the Ecological Design Certificate Program are funded by donors who support our mission and values. The only out-of-pocket fee for students is a one-time, non-refundable application fee of $50. Students are also responsible for the arrangement and payment of their own housing, transportation and food.
What are others saying?
“The program that kick-started my career.”
“Most challenging, inspirational and life-changing semester of my life and career.”
“Ecosa has instilled [in me] a very real day-to-day practice of systems thinking and analysis.”
“ . . . it was the best – balanced and so inspirational.”
Who should apply?
Ecosa is looking for those students who want to make positive change in their communities and their world, regardless of their ability to pay. As diversity is key to an Ecosa semester, our students vary in age, experience and background. Common characteristics include creativity, a love of design, a love of nature and an open mind. So whether you are a college student, recent graduate, or a professional considering a career change, Ecosa may be for you. The only requirement is your commitment to completing this semester in ecological design.