About Ecosa Institute


The mission of Ecosa Institute is to restore health to the natural environment, and thus the human environment, through education in design.

Our vision is of a world that blends the ethical values and ecological patterns, which are essential to the health of the world, with the vitality and dynamism of the design arts.

The Ecosa Institute Difference

In 1996, Antony Brown founded Ecosa Institute in Prescott, Arizona, with a goal of bringing innovative ecological design thinking and an interdisciplinary approach to design education. The intent was to educate designers who can integrate human aspirations and nature’s systems with the help of the greatest designer of all – nature.

Ecosa Institute began educating students in 2000, one of the first organizations to offer programs in sustainability and ecological design. Positive response and continued participation have affirmed the need for Ecosa’s experiential style of design education, something most design schools do not offer. Ecosa strongly believes that an education focused on design-with-nature principles can contribute to improving our built environment and to solving many environmental issues of the 21st century.

The American Institute of Architects has cited our Ecological Design Certificate Program as an example of a school “outside the traditional universities” that offers “a host of known experts and intensive coursework for young students.” They’ve also said,


“In many ways, what students get in one semester is a more holistic understanding of sustainability than they could presently get at any traditional design school.”

Our programs expand past the often rigid boundaries of design education to include planning, urban design, architecture, interiors, landscape architecture, graphic design, product design and more, exemplifying the essential interconnectedness of all aspects of the world. We offer students not just a design or a sustainability program but a transformational experience that provides unique, powerful insights into the world we live in.

Listen as Founder, Antony Brown, shares about the evolution of Ecosa Institute over the past 20 years.

Our Philosophy

We consider design to be a problem-solving tool and look to the logic of nature to provide inspiration. Our ecological design approach to life seeks to find a balance between the needs of humans and nature.

Ultimately an understanding of this greater goal – creating an ecologically harmonious society –  must be shared by our whole culture. This requires that, in addition to the aesthetic, we consider social, economic and environmental responsibility as the context within which design functions. Ecosa Institute builds upon these concepts to offer a very different approach to design education.

We believe our students are not passive learners, but contributors to this larger vision, and therefore we continually evolve to provide design educational experiences that are impactful, in-depth and fun. We want to change how students see the world.

We are attempting to understand and address the underlying structure of our ecological problems. Because only by solving the root problems that underlie the many challenges our society faces will we be able to find permanent solutions.

Want to read more? Download the Ecosa Institute Educational Philosophy (PDF).

Our People

Board of Directors

Antony Brown, Ecosa Institute


Tony founded Ecosa Institute in 2000 (see bio below) to provide cutting-edge ecological design education that would influence current and future leaders to restore the health of our planet. His intense and inspirational curriculum has been “transformational”, according to many alumni who have gone on to make a difference in fields ranging from urban farming and hydrology to architecture and city planning to industrial and communication design. He now assumes leadership of the Ecosa Board as the organization prepares for future fundraising, collaborative partnerships, a conservation easement on the Dells property and building a “Living Building” on its Granite Dells site.

RALPH HESS, Vice Chairman

Ralph Hess retired in 2011 as a full-time judge pro tem with the Yavapai County Superior Court and former assistant city attorney for the City of Prescott.   Locally, he has served on the boards of Prescott Fine Arts Association (now known as Prescott Center for the Arts) and Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity. In retirement, Ralph has supported various civil liberties, environmental, and non-violence causes and activists, having participated with Occupy Prescott, Yavapai Climate Change Coalition, and Veterans for Peace. Ralph was raised in Ohio and received a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Toledo and a Bachelor of Science Degree in mathematics from Bowling Green State University.  As an advocate for social-ecological models of community development, Ralph is developing a special interest in utopian, consensus-oriented, participatory democratic methods of governance and views his participation with the board of directors of Ecosa Institute as complementary to his developing interests.


Jim’s professional experience began as a high school teacher of mathematics, general science, and physics.  He was an instructor and program director during the very early years at Colorado Outward Bound School.  He worked two years for the Atomic Energy Commission as a lecturer and teacher of basic nuclear physics and non-military applications of nuclear energy.  He taught Educational Psychology (graduate and undergraduate) for the American University, in Washington, D.C.  He came to Prescott College in the fall of 1971 to teach in the College’s Leadership Institute, and served as President of the College from 1975 to 1983.  He left Prescott to help found Presidio World College (Now, Presidio World University), in San Francisco.  He returned to Arizona to serve as Dean of the Superstition Mountain Campus of Central Arizona College, and finally made his way back to Prescott College.

JEFF STEIN, Treasurer

Jeff is an award-winning architect, writer, educator, and co-president of Paolo Soleri’s urban research institute, Cosanti Foundation.  His first construction workshop at Arcosanti was in 1975; since then he has spent time on the Cosanti staff; taught architecture in the Career Discovery program of the Harvard GSD; headed the department of architecture at Wentworth Institute in Boston; and was for seven years Dean of the Boston Architectural College. He has taught at architecture schools in the US and at the Technicum Winterthur, Zurich, and Ecole d’Architecture Languedoc-Rousillon, in Montpellier, France. Mr. Stein has been a regular contributor to ARCHITECTURE BOSTON magazine and was for ten years architecture critic for the New England newspaper, BANKER+TRADESMAN. He is a member of the board of governors for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, and is published and lectures widely about Arcosanti, energy, urban design and the making of public space, including at the recent Tel Aviv-Yafo Centennial Conference on Urban Sustainability this past fall in Abu Dhabi at the World EcoCities Summit and last spring at the Santa Fe Institute.


Andrew Cohen is an event & show producer with more than 15 years of experience in live event production, creative development and marketing. Andrew is the founder of Art House Live, a boutique talent production company. Art House Live develops and represents highly specialized musical and visual performances at public and private venues worldwide. Andrew has worked with cutting-edge visual and interactive performance acts including Lucent Dossier, Earth Harp Collective & Zen Arts. He is the producer and co-creator of “Sonic Odyssey”, currently running on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, and is co-founder of G.A.M.E., Dubai’s premier event production firm. Currently, Andrew consults on entertainment and engagement strategies for Fortune 500 brands such as Red Bull, Neutrogena, Miller Brewing Company, Microsoft, Heineken, Bacardi and others.



Wendy Kilgore serves as the director of research and senior consultant for AACRAO, with more than 19 years of experience as a higher education administrator, researcher and consultant in the US and Canada. She brings expertise in recruitment, admissions, financial aid, academic advisement, curriculum support, registration, records management, veterans’ education services, technology, organizational restructuring, student-centric business practice development, policy development and managing comprehensive collaboration to support enrollment efforts.

Prior to her full-time work with AACRAO, Dr. Kilgore served as state dean of enrollment services for the Colorado Community College system, and was the director of admissions and registrar for the Pima County Community College district. Her professional and consulting experience spans a wide array of institutions, including large public universities, small private colleges, small private faith-based colleges, private for-profit institutions, technical colleges, a large two-year multi-campus community college district, and a state community college system consisting of 13 colleges.


Ken Sharp is a higher education professional with more than 20 years of administrative experience at two-year and four-year institutions.  His experience spans all aspects of finance and administrative services including financial management, budgeting, human resource management, information technology, facilities management, strategic planning and project management. In addition, Ken has more than 20 years of teaching experience focusing on statistics, economics, and finance and has taught both online and face-to-face classes.


Antony Brown, Ecosa Institute


Antony Brown has more than 40 years of experience working on sustainable architecture and urban design. He has taught sustainable design and planning at the college level and has lectured at universities around the United States and abroad. As Founder and Program Director of Ecosa Institute, Tony continues to develop an innovative new approach to educating students and graduates in the role of sustainability in design. He has attracted a number of leading architects, designers, scientists and writers to Ecosa to meet with students, review their work and share their approach to sustainable issues. Students now come to Ecosa Institute from around the world to supplement their design education.

Mr. Brown has worked as an architect in London, Boston and San Francisco, and served at Arcosanti with Paolo Soleri for many years. He was also a magazine editor and writer of articles for which he has won press club awards, and his illustrations in “Nature Notes” and “The Ecology of the Grand Canyon” were also singled out for awards. Before starting his career in education, Tony founded an award-winning graphic design company as well as an architectural practice where he promoted concepts of sustainability.

An Interview with Antony Brown: Select a track below to listen to excerpts from a recent podcast interview with our Founder and Program Director.

JESSE HERNREICH, Executive Director

Jesse Hernreich graduated from Prescott College with a degree in Environmental Studies emphasizing Ecological Design. She has earned a Masters from the New School in NYC, where she received an MS in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management. In 2016, Jesse earned a Master Certificate in Water Resource Management and Climate Science from Columbia University in New York. She began teaching Permaculture at both Prescott College and Ecosa Institute in 2009, after receiving her Permaculture Teacher Training Certificate from CRMPI (Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute) in Basalt, CO, 2008. A recipient of the Ecological Design Certificate from Ecosa in 2007, Jesse continued to work, teach and sit on the board of Ecosa prior to her taking over the leadership position as Executive Director in 2017. Jesse’s professional profile includes founder, owner, and operator at Oakhaven Permaculture (501(c)3) in Durango, Colorado; research hydrologist for the EPA as an intern for Columbia University’s Water Center; hydrologist and regulatory consultant for Re-Current hydroelectric development company in Vermont; student coordinator and administrator at Ecosa Institute; and owner and landscape designer at Oakhaven Landscaping LLC. Additionally, Jesse sits on the Board for Performance Space 122 located in NYC. As a natural scientist, Jesse has acquired a diverse skill set including Climate science, Hydrologic Physics, herbalism, animal husbandry, farming, alternative construction and aboriginal living skills. Her passion for natural resource management is at the core of all her professional undertakings.

CLAIRE OBERST, Director of Outreach and Advancement

Claire brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in grants and partnerships to her position at Ecosa. Prior to Ecosa, Claire was a Senior Research Administrator at the Global Institute for Sustainability, Arizona State University; Director of the Grants and Foundation Relations office at Prescott College; Grant writer for the Yavapai County Education Service Agency; and Director of the Muehlstein Academy in Mathematics and Science at the University of Akron.  Her research background and interest lie primarily in Environmental Education program evaluation.  She has conducted evaluations at the local, state, and national level and brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in the fields of Environmental Science/Education and Grantsmanship.  She earned a Ph.D. at Ohio State University in Interdisciplinary Studies from the School of Natural Resources, a Masters in Higher Education from Murray State University, and a Bachelors in Parks Administration from Eastern Kentucky University.

LAURA KASPER, Office Manager

Laura brings a background in traditional and digital marketing communications and member relations in the non-profit world to her role as office manager and program associate at Ecosa. A graduate of Ottawa University’s home campus in Ottawa, Kansas with a B.S. in Human Services, Laura has experience in desktop publishing, business ownership, and non-profit management. While leading Yavapai Soccer League, Inc. as administrator and coach for nearly 20 years, Laura wrote and administered a two-year grant from the U.S.S.F. and served as District Commissioner on the Arizona Youth Soccer Association Board of Directors. Since then she has worked in member communications for the Prescott Valley and Chino Valley Chambers of Commerce and was ghostwriter of a motivational book. Laura is the proud mother of three grown boys, and a writer, jewelry artist, and rock hound.


Roger Asay, Ecosa Institute


Walt Anderson is a naturalist, artist, photographer, and expedition guide.  He has been a Professor of Environmental Studies at Prescott College since 1991, where he promotes experiential education through fostering “informed imagination.”  His classes have included Natural History & Ecology of the Southwest, Interpreting Nature through Art & Photography, Wildlife Management, Wetland Ecology & Management, Animal Behavior, and others.  Formerly a refuge biologist, Walt pioneered a program of access and interpretation in the Sutter Buttes of California, the subject of two books.  He has also led nature-based and photography expeditions around the world; next year’s destinations are Tanzania and Amazonia. His writings, presentations, artwork, and photographs are all ways of sharing his passion for and knowledge of the natural world.

Roger Asay, Ecosa Institute

ROGER ASAY, Art in Nature

Roger Asay, along with his wife, Rebecca Davis, has exhibited sculptures throughout the US. The couple currently lives in Prescott, AZ. They have been collaborating since 1983 to produce sculpture which presents the raw materials of nature as the subject as well as the substance of their installation art. The resulting body of work has been shown in museums throughout the Southwest. Asay and Davis have created permanent site-specific outdoor sculptures for the cities of Prescott, Tucson, Cottonwood, and Phoenix in Arizona, as well as many temporary on-site installations. Their work is part of a number of public and private collections. Asay’s current work, consisting primarily of jumbles of sticks formed into polished spheres, is carried by Cervini Haas Gallery, Scottsdale, and Van Gogh’s Ear, Prescott. Through most of his career, Asay has been a part-time educator at universities and colleges. In the last decade has also created animal sculptures of stuccoed concrete in collaboration with Arizona school children.

Roger Asay, Ecosa Institute


Nadia Begin, originally from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, received her BS in Architecture from the University of Montreal in 1993. As part of her program of study, she spent a year in Lausanne, Switzerland at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.

Nadia moved to Arizona in 1993 to work with visionary Architect Paolo Soleri at Arcosanti, a prototype Urban Laboratory that explores the idea of Arcology (integrating Architecture + Ecology). In the 15 years Nadia spent at Arcosanti as Planning Manager, she helped develop urban design concepts, organized events and concerts and filled various administrative and leadership roles in her community of Arcosanti where she’s lived 23 years with her husband and boys,18 and 8.

An ongoing collaboration with the community of Auroville in South India has been an important influence in helping to shape Nadia’s vision and interest in sustainable design. For the past 10 years she has worked with Arcosanti alumni: Reynold Radoccia in Clarkdale, AZ at Architecture Works Green; and Jeff Zucker of Zucker Architecture and Tony Brown of Ecosa Institute in Prescott, AZ.

Nadia has a strong commitment to develop, teach, and improve the concepts of an architectural/arcological education which concentrates on what architecture can contribute to society.

Anthony Floyd, Ecosa Institute

ANTHONY FLOYD, Green Building Standards

Anthony Floyd has worked for the City of Scottsdale since 1985 as a building codes specialist and later as a city Building Official. He left the city in 1995 to participate in a one-year international study program which focused on the issues of sustainability, development, and global ecology. Since his return in 1996 he has worked to promote environmentally sound building practices. Anthony currently serves as Scottsdale’s Sustainable Building Manager and is in charge of the newly established Green Building Program which promulgates environmentally responsible and energy efficient building practices for city facilities, home construction and commercial development.

Anthony is past chairman of the MAG (Maricopa Association of Governments) Building Codes Committee and past President of the Arizona Chapter of the International Conference of Building Officials. He currently serves on the Board of Governors of the World Organization of Building Officials, The Ecosa Institute, and as a member of the Arizona Solar Energy Advisory Council. Anthony is an Arizona registered architect and a certified building official. He has a civil engineering and architecture degree from Penn State University (1978) and a Master’s Degree in public administration (1994) from Arizona State University.

Anthony Floyd, Ecosa Institute


Slade Graves, artist, entrepreneur, aspiring yogi and keeper of the Baba. Slade has lived, worked and hiked about in the town of Prescott, Arizona for more than 20 years. Slade’s artwork has appeared in galleries throughout the U.S. and once took small note in the pages of Art News.

Credentials include but are not limited to: B.A. in Art from Prescott College, further studies at Ecosa Institute in Prescott, AZ, RYT, teaching gigs at Yavapai and Prescott Colleges, and continuing education in art, yoga and life.

Past entrepreneurial endeavors include, (but again, not all inclusive…..): inventing a place for recycled clothing and fresh ideas – “Threadheads”; ….. re-inventing that idea 20 years later with “b. CUSH”; …… establishing SGS, an overview of artworks spanning 25 years; ….. an art gallery, “VA”; ….. and a juice bar, “GO.”

Next? More creative work, work in a different direction (TBD) … co-creating with students at Ecosa Institute, a lush environment for finding new ways to see and interpret the world  … .being part of a team that dreams yoga in interesting places and causes retreats to manifest that nourish the soul …. and finally setting up permanent residence in her own active mind and getting some real work done. (That is if the Baba, a small white cat with a devastatingly charming smile, deems it timely and appropriate).

Jessica Hernreich, Ecosa Institute Faculty

JESSICA HERNREICH, Permaculture Design

Jessica graduated from Prescott College with a degree in Environmental Studies emphasizing Ecological Design. Currently earning her Masters from the New School in NYC, where she is receiving an MS in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management. Jesse received a Permaculture Design Certificate in 2004, and was trained as a Permaculture Teacher at CRMPI (Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute) in Basalt, CO, 2008. She began teaching Permaculture at both Prescott College and The Ecosa Institute in 2009- current. Jesse’s Professional profile includes Gardening instructor for Woldorf schools, owning a landscaping company, Naturalist/ Permaculture Teacher, student coordinator and office assistant at Ecosa Institute, and Research and Development for WTRMLN WTR(trademark). She sits on the board of directors for the Ecosa Institute a regenerative design institute in Northern Arizona, as well as for Performance Space 122 (PS122) a theater company in New York’s East Village. As a natural scientist she has acquired a diverse skill set including herbalism, farming, alternative construction and aboriginal living skills. Her passion and understanding of water management in the arid southwest will hopefully carve out a strong future for her in Natural Resource Management.

Rob Hunt, Ecosa Institute

ROB HUNT, Ecology

Rob Hunt is currently a PhD student in the Sustainability Education program at Prescott College, where he also earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Environmental Studies. He is program director at the Pritzlaff Ranch in New Mexico for the Biophilia Foundation, and also an adjunct faculty in the Adult Degree Program at Prescott College, teaching Ecology and Ecological Economics. He has been teaching a variety of environmental studies topics at Prescott College for the past 14 years and has an extensive background with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private consulting firms working as a field biologist/ecologist, field botanist, and field ornithologist. His current research and projects are concentrated along the Arizona-Mexico border where he is working to employ sustainable economic development and education to aid in biodiversity and habitat preservation and restoration.

Marie Jones, Ecosa Institute Faculty

MARIE JONES, Graphic Design

Marie Jones has worked professionally in graphic design since 1978, and as Ideahouse since 1996. Her involvement includes branding/identity, advertising, print collateral, packaging and book/editorial design in print and digital forms, focusing more recently on 3-dimensional interpretive and environmental projects as well as writing. Communicating complex information to broad audiences is her greatest interest.

“Design is my natural process of studying, understanding and interpreting information, which I suspect is true for most designers. We create visual touchstones that allow a connection, consciously or unconsciously, with information and environment. In that regard, design has no boundaries and everyone is a designer. My goal at Ecosa Institute is to assist students to understand both their own design motivation and natural methods and that of their audience so that they will develop their skills with consciousness.”

Brad Lancaster, Ecosa Institute Faculty

BRAD LANCASTER, Rainwater Harvesting

Brad Lancaster has been teaching permaculture and running his own permaculture design consultation and education business since 1993. He and his brother have created, and live on, a thriving 1/8th of an acre urban permaculture site in downtown Tucson, Arizona. Within his neighborhood and beyond, Brad feeds his passion for community building and activism, resulting in the creation of an organic community garden, mini-nature park, salvaged bicycle cooperative, neighborhood newsletter, annual tree plantings, local food pot lucks, and more. He is author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands aimed at giving people the tools needed to welcome rainwater into their lives.

Cody Lundin, Ecosa Institute Faculty

CODY LUNDIN, Aboriginal Living Skills

Cody Lundin grew up with the outdoors, from the Pacific coastline and the hills of Europe, to the plains of the Rocky Mountains and desert canyons of the Southwest. His passion for freedom led him to a lifestyle of resourcefulness and simplicity through the exploration of self-reliance. He teaches with rare intensity and humor to individuals, schools, colleges, universities and various organizations throughout the United States. Cody holds a B.A. in Depth Psychology and Holistic Health. He founded the Aboriginal Living Skills School, LLC (ALSS, LLC) during the winter of 1991 in Prescott, Arizona.

Cody Lundin, Ecosa Institute Faculty

BETSY MADDOX, Director of Education at DIRTT Environmental Solutions

Betsy is an inspired design and construction professional with 19 years of varied experience in the industry. From designing and managing small to large construction projects in the education, healthcare and corporate sectors, to joining DIRTT in 2011 as a sales representative and now as Director of Education, all of Betsy’s roles have contributed to her deep relationships and comprehensive expertise in the field of education design and construction. Betsy is also an experienced national presenter, including 50+ Continuing Education Unit (CEU) courses accredited by the AIA and IDCEC. She was instrumental in creating DIRTT’s current education-focused CEU course and leads its education-focused initiatives, marketing efforts and training programs. Betsy is particularly interested in learning environments and stays abreast of current trends in education design, pedagogy, and other external factors influencing how we’re educating our children, young people, and older adults.

DIRTT offers an adaptive and sustainable alternative to conventional construction as a manufacturer of prefabricated interior construction solutions including walls, millwork, living wall, raised access floor, ceilings, timber frame and modular power & networks.


Ben Mancini, Ecosa Institute Faculty

BEN MANCINI, Passive & Active Solar Systems

Ben Mancini is a Certified Solar Installer and worked as a solar hot water installer from 1980-1981. He built his own off-grid passive solar home between 1983 and 1990 and started his own business, EV Products, doing electric vehicle conversions in 1991. He is currently a licensed contractor for solar hot water and solar electric systems and adjunct faculty at Yavapai College for renewable energy applications in residential construction.

Mark Riegner, Ecosa Institute Faculty

MARK RIEGNER, Form & Pattern in Nature

Mark Riegner, PhD has been teaching courses including Animal Behavior, Coastal Ecology (in Kino Bay, Mexico), Evolutionary Biology, Form and Pattern in Nature and Tropical Biology (in Costa Rica). His research interests embrace phenomenological approaches to understanding plant and animal morphology, a theme on which he has numerous publications. Mark relishes the opportunity to offer students sound academic courses with a strong field component, through which they may discover first-hand the wonder of the natural world as well as aspects of themselves. “Nature provides limitless possibilities for learning about both the world and ourselves. In fact, they go hand in hand, as expressed in Goethe’s words: ‘Each phenomenon in nature, rightly contemplated, awakens in us a new faculty for inner understanding.’ By approaching nature with an open-minded attitude, and by learning to recognize and formulate our own individual questions, we can begin to develop the necessary tools to guide us through life.”

Guest Speakers

Steven Badanes, Ecosa Institute


Steve Badanes received his undergraduate training at Wesleyan University and his Master’s of Architecture from Princeton University. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Graham Foundation and a fellowship from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Badanes is a co-founder of Jersey Devil, a widely published firm known for its energy efficient designs and innovative use of materials. At the University of Washington, Badanes holds the Howard Wright Endowed Chair, leads design-build studios focusing on community service projects in the Seattle area, and teaches in the Design Build Mexico program, which won an AIA Education Honor Award in 1997. His lifetime of work is published in The Jersey Devil Design/Build Book and Devil’s Workshop: 25 Years of Jersey Devil Architecture.

Will Bruder, Ecosa Institute

Will Bruder, Artist/Architect

Will Bruder is an artist/architect who has worked from a desert studio in New River, Arizona for the past twenty-five years. His work is a search for pragmatically logical and poetically sensual solutions that celebrate site opportunities and user needs. Craftsman like in his concern for detail and building process, his architecture is sculptural in its unique choreography of space, movement, materials and light. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1946, Bruder earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and is self-trained as an architect. In addition to his formal education, he apprenticed under Paolo Soleri and Gunnar Birkerts and has field experience in carpentry, masonry and metal work. He was registered as an architect and opened his studio in 1974.

Over the years Bruder’s 400 plus commissions have celebrated the craft of building in ways not typical in contemporary architecture today. His architecture has been widely presented in books and periodicals in the United States, Europe, and Japan. He has received numerous awards including the Record Home award in 1977, 1994 and 1999; the international Benedictus Award for the innovative use of glass in 1996 and a Rorne Prize from the American Academy to study in Rome in 1987. Bruder has exhibited and taught widely, sharing his belief that architecture is the celebration of listening in service of the human spirit and senses. His greatest professional achievement has been the Phoenix Central Library, which has become an architectural touchstone of international acclaim and great local community pride.

Dawn Danby, Ecosa Institute

DAWN DANBY, Sustainable Design

Dawn Danby lives at the intersection of design, sustainability and business. A deeply curious sustainable design strategy geek, she is passionate about applying human ingenuity towards a much better future.

She has been immersed in sustainable design, across disciplines, through her whole career. She’s made furniture, designed civil infrastructure, created teaching tools for engineers and designers, and has advised companies on environmental impact. In recent years she’s specialized in shaping, and communicating about, new sustainable technologies and approaches to design.

Dawn has been fortunate to dive deep on a range of topics, including: product design and lifecycle impacts; high-performance building; local food systems; public art; business strategy; engineering and design education; urban transformation.

Dawn believes in making as a way of learning. She believes in drawing and writing and building by hand. And she’s good with power tools.

David Eisenberg, Ecosa Institute

DAVID EISENBERG, Appropriate Technology

David Eisenberg is co-founder and Director of the Development Center for Appropriate Technology (DCAT) in Tucson, AZ. His three decades of building experience range from the on-site troubleshooting of the construction of the cover of Biosphere 2 to building a $2 million structural concrete house, a hypoallergenic structural steel house, and masonry, wood, adobe, rammed earth and straw bale structures. For over a decade David has led the effort to create a sustainable context for building codes. He served two terms on the Board of the U.S. Green Building Council where he founded and chairs the Building Codes Committee. He was vice-chair of the ASTM E-06.71 Subcommittee on Sustainability for Buildings for five years. David has presented workshops, seminars, keynote addresses and lectures at dozens of international, national and regional conferences and lectured at universities in the U.S. and abroad. David is on the Advisory Board of Environmental Building News. He is co-author of The Straw Bale House book and has written dozens of published articles, forewords, book chapters and papers.

Pliny Fisk, Ecosa Institute

PLINY FISK, Maximum Potential Building Systems

Pliny Fisk is Co-Director of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, a non-profit organization which has been in the forefront of sustainable design and development activities since its inception in 1975. The Center links design and science to create ecologically, economically and socially viable solutions to a range of issues facing the built environment, and works with a spectrum of clients, from individual homeowners and small-scale developments to Fortune 500 corporations, and with municipal, state, and federal governments. Mr. Fisk is a frequent lecturer throughout the U.S. to professional associations, universities, and community-based organizations. The Center’s life cycle planning and design methodology is becoming a recognized procedure for establishing the sustainability basis for green building, and is the focus of a two-year research project funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Fisk has served on the President’s Task Force on Sustainable Communities, the AIA’s Committee on the Environmental Resource Guide and is on the Advisory Board for Environmental Building News. The Center’s work has been recognized by several national and international awards, including the 1992 Earth Summit Award for the City of Austin Green Builder Program, the Mexican Government’s Environmental Agency (SEDUE) award for affordable housing and sustainable community design, and the 1991 DARE award presented by the National Center for Appropriate Technology. Mr. Fisk holds a B.S., M.ARCH., and M.L.ARCH. (under Ian McHarg) from the University of Pennsylvania.

Rich Henrich, Ecosa Institute

RICH HENRICH, Film 4 Change

An entrepreneur, writer, producer, actor, teacher and mentor, who started his college studies in Architecture but graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy and Film. Rich was a dot com entrepreneur in the 90’s, developing a niche in youth/ college marketing, he worked on several campaigns (including The Blair Witch Project,Happy Texas). After a stint in politics, Rich turned his focus to film and in 2005, launched Film 4 Change, a non-profit dedicated to bringing story, laughter and artistic resources together.

He is currently the Director of Film 4 Change and the AMFM Festival and an active writer, producer and consultant. He has produced films with Michael Madsen, John Diehl and Giancarlo Esposito. Terrible Angels, starring Michael Madsen, was sold at Le Marche du Film during the Cannes Film Festival and is scheduled for wide release in Fall 2012.

Above all, Rich is proud to be a mentor to young filmmakers and to help make their dreams come true. He has taught courses in film production, screenwriting and entrepreneurship for artists. He is on the faculty at Ecosa Institute in Prescott, AZ and teaches screenwriting at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

Eddie Jones, Ecosa Institute

EDDIE JONES, Architect

Eddie Jones, Principal, Jones Studio, Inc. Architecture + Environmental Design has twenty-nine years experience in the design and production of large and small project types both in the public and private sectors. He is widely recognized as one of the Southwest’s most respected and talented architects. His work represents some of the most positive and influential directions in American architecture today. The recipient of numerous local, national, and international design commendations, he is responsible for all functional and aesthetic design elements of the project. Eddie focuses his experience as a design professional on establishing methodologies, setting design direction, and reviewing projects for quality assurance.

Rick Joy, Ecosa Institute

RICK JOY, Architect

Rick Joy, Architect, was educated at the University of Maine in Music Performance from 1976 to 1978, the Portland School of Art from 1982 to 1984, and the University of Arizona in Architecture from 1985 to 1990 graduating Cum Laude. From 1976 to 1985 Mr. Joy enjoyed a broad range of experiences in Maine working as a general builder, a finish carpenter/cabinetmaker, and as an accomplished blues and jazz drummer. From 1985 to 1990 he held various courses at the University of Arizona. “As a contemporary modernist he expresses the nature of materials, but he also puts the mass back into the volumes that the original Modernist had removed some eight decades before. The architect is a pragmatist and not a theorist– or rather, he bases his theory on pragmatics, developing his esthetics and approach to construction through a sensitive use of materials.” Recent experience includes: Visiting Professor, Harvard University, 2000; Lecturer, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2000; The Home And Garden Channel “Dream Houses,” Personal Profile, 2000; Lecturer, University of Virginia, 2000; “The Works”, traveling Lecture/Exhibit, 1999-2000; Continuously involved with the University of Arizona and Arizona State University as a visiting critic for student reviews and seminars.

Mark Lakeman, Ecosa Institute


Mark Lakeman has taken on the role of creative urban place-maker in his commitment to the emergence of a sustainable cultural landscape. He seeks to make every design project one which will further the development of a community vision, whether it involves urban design and placemaking, ecological building, encourages community interaction, or assists those who typically do not have access to design services. His leadership in the City Repair Project has benefited communities across the North American continent.

Hunter Lovins, Ecosa Institute

HUNTER LOVINS, Natural Capitalism

L Hunter Lovins, Esq. is the president and founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions, Inc. and co-creator of the Natural Capitalism concept. In 1982 she co-founded RMI with Amory Lovins, and proceeded to lead that organization as its CEO for Strategy until 2002. Under her leadership, RMI grew into an internationally recognized research center, widely celebrated for its innovative thinking in energy and resource issues. By the time she left, the institute had grown to a staff of 50 people and a $7 million annual budget, half of it earned through programmatic enterprise.

In 2001, Hunter was named one of four people from North America to serve as a delegate to the United Nations Prep Conference for Europe and North America for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. She is also a Commissioner in the State of the World Forum’s Commission on Globalization, co-chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev, Jane Goodall, Jose Ramos-Horta, Vandana Shiva, George Soros and others.

Lovins has co-authored nine books and dozens of papers, and was featured in the award-winning film, Lovins on the Soft Path. Her latest book, Natural Capitalism, co-authored with Amory Lovins and business author Paul Hawken, was released in September 1999. It has been translated into a dozen languages and was the subject of a Harvard Business Review summary. Recent articles by her have appeared in World Link, World Business Academy Review, American Prospect, and Los Angeles Times.

Trained as a lawyer (JD, Loyola University School of Law, Los Angeles), Lovins has managed international non-profits, created several corporations, and is in great demand as a speaker and consultant. Her areas of interest and expertise include Natural Capitalism, globalization, governance, land management, energy, water, green real-estate development, and community economic development. She has taught at dozens of universities, including an engagement as the Henry R. Luce Visiting Professor at Dartmouth College. She is currently Professor of Sustainability at Presidio World College in the first accredited MBA program in Sustainable Management.

Vernon Masayesva, Ecosa Institute


Vernon Masayesva is the Executive Director of Black Mesa Trust, a Hopi Leader of the Coyote Clan and a former Chairman of the Hopi Tribal Council from the village of Hotevilla, one of the oldest continuously inhabited human settlements in the Americas in Arizona. He received his B.A. degree from Arizona State University in Political Science and a Masters of Arts from Central Michigan University in 1970. He returned to Black Mesa of the Hotevilla Bacavi Community School, the first Indian controlled school on Hopi, as the lead educator of the school systems. In 1984, he was elected to the Hopi Tribal Council and then served as Chairman from 1989. In 1998, he founded the Black Mesa Trust and currently serves as its Executive Director. Vernon is an international speaker on the subject of Water, is honored among many scientists, physicists and water researchers and was named an “Environmental Hero” by former President William Clinton for his commitment to water preservation. Among other things, Vernon is beginning a serious study of Hopi symbols and metaphors to understand who he is and what he can do to help his people lay a vision of a future Hopi society.

Sandra Mendler, Ecosa Institute


Sandra Mendler, AIA, is an architect and a nationally recognized leader in the field of Sustainable Design. Sandra is a Vice President and Director of Sustainable Design for the San Francisco office of HOK. As a senior designer with twenty years of professional experience, she has led the sustainable design effort for a variety of project types including office buildings, museums, research laboratories and interiors. Clients include the EPA, Smithsonian, The Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute, National Wildlife Federation, as well as many private sector corporations. Sandra is the chair for the national Committee on the Environment (COTE) for the American Institute of Architects. She is a past member of the Board of Directors of the US Green Building Council, and currently serves on the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System “V3” committee, developing the next version of that rating system which will be released in 2003. Sandra has been recognized by the Construction Specifiers Institute’s (CSI) national Environmental Sensitivity Award in 1998 and the International Interior Design Association’s (IIDA) national Sustainable Design Leadership award in 2001. Since 1992, Sandra has been integrally involved in the development and implementation of the HOK Sustainable Design program. This program was recently recognized by Global Green’s international “Creating a Safe and Secure World” Award. Sandra is co-author of the HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design, which was published by John Wiley & Sons last summer, and her work is widely published in print and on the internet. She has served on numerous expert panels, and has been invited to speak at dozens of conferences and industry events.

Glenn Murcutt, Ecosa Institute


Glenn Murcutt was born in London in 1936. He grew up in the Morobe district of New Guinea, where he developed a preference for simple, primitive architecture. His father introduced him to the architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the philosophies of Henry David Thoreau, both of which influenced his architectural style. Murcutt studied architecture at the University of New South Wales from 1956 to 1961. During this same period, he worked with a series of architects. After graduating, Murcutt traveled for two years, returning in 1964 to work in the office of Ancher, Mortlock, Murray and Woolley. He remained with this firm for five years before he established his own practice in Sydney, Australia in 1970. In an initial exploratory phase Murcutt established a mastery of the Miesian style. His second phase was more regional in nature. Using a mixture of pragmatism and lyricism, Murcutt creates simple houses that resemble open verandas. He is chiefly admired among his contemporaries for creating an identifiably Australian idiom in domestic architecture. He is internationally known for environmentally sensitive modernist houses that respond to their climate and surroundings in the vast Australian landscape. He is the recipient of the 2002 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

David Orr, Ecosa Institute

DAVID ORR, Natural Design

David W. Orr was born in Des Moines, Iowa and was raised in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. He holds a B.A. from Westminster College (1965), a M.A. from Michigan State University (1966), and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania (1973). He and his wife have two sons and one grandson. David Orr is currently Professor and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College.

He is perhaps best known for his pioneering work on environmental literacy in higher education and his recent work in ecological design. He raised funds for and spearheaded the effort to design and build a $7.4 million Environmental Studies Center at Oberlin College, a building described by the New York Times as “the most remarkable” of a new generation of college buildings. He was awarded a National Conservation Achievement Award by the National Wildlife Federation in 1993, a Lyndhurst Prize in 1992 awarded by the Lyndhurst Foundation “to recognize the educational, cultural, and charitable activities of particular individuals of exceptional talent, character, and moral vision,” and the Benton Box Award from Clemson University for his work in Environmental Education (1995). He holds three Honorary Doctorates and has been a distinguished scholar in residence at Ball State University (1995) and Westminster College in Salt Lake City (1996). In a special citation, the Connecticut General Assembly noted Orr’s “vision, dedication, and personal passion” in promoting the principles of sustainability. The Cleveland Plain Dealer (1/1/00) described him as “one of those who will shape our lives.”

David Orr is the author of three books: The Nature of Design (Oxford, 2001); Earth in Mind(Island, 1994); Ecological Literacy (SUNY, 1992) and co-editor of The Global Predicament(North Carolina, 1979) and The Campus and Environmental Responsibility (Jossey-Bass, 1992). He has published 120 articles in scientific journals, social science publications, and popular magazines.

Dr. Orr is contributing editor of Conservation Biology. He is a Trustee of the Educational Foundation of America and the Compton Foundation. He serves on the Boards of the Rocky Mountain Institute (CO), Second Nature (MA), the Center for Ecoliteracy (CA), and the Center for Respect of Life and Environment. He is also an advisor and consultant to the Trust for Public Land, the National Parks Advisory Committee, the Ecosa Institute and other organizations. He is a frequent lecturer at Schumacher College (UK) and has lectured at hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

Antione Predock, Ecosa Institute


Antoine Predock an acknowledged master of environmentally sensitive design, Antoine Predock has won numerous awards including the AIA National Honor Award. His work has been featured in The Washington Post, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and The New York Times among many others. There are over forty books published internationally featuring Predock’s works ROADCUT. “Critical to the spirit in my work is the enigmatic quality of the desert. You think you’ve got it, you think you understand; then you turn over a rock or crawl under a larger rock and you discover other worlds, other realms within. In a highway roadcut, for example, a sectional diagram of the earth is revealed through man’s intervention. At the bottom of a roadcut in the southwest is pre-Cambrian granite, overlaid by limestone. In geologic time, other sedimentary strata like sandstone and ocean bottom fossils begin to turn up– brachiopods, crinoids stems. Then you begin to see cultural artifacts, in relative scale, just a fraction of an inch compared to the miles of depth of the geologic datum. Prehistoric traces become visible, and then the successive cultural strata. In the Southwest, after Anasazi traces, are later cultures: the arrival of the conquistadors, 1930s hubcaps, beer cans, McDonald’s wrappers, and the residue of future technologies or whatever else you might imagine out there– the completion of the roadcut involves a sense of time beyond, that which is unknown but almost palpable here in the Southwest. The roadcut is a poetic diagram of an investigative process for the making of architecture. Lessons learned in the American Southwest apply anywhere in the world.”

Michael Pyatok, Ecosa Institute

MICHAEL PYATOK, Affordable Housing Design

Michael Pyatok has been an architect and professor of architectural design for thirty-seven years. Since opening his own office in 1985, he has designed over 20,000 units of affordable housing for lower income households, winning numerous local and national design awards. During that period he has developed participatory design methods to facilitate the involvement of lower income communities in their revitalization. Using three-dimensional model kits, role-playing and game techniques he has helped many communities plan and implement the design and construction of new housing developments and community facilities. In 1995, he was elected to the College of Fellows of the AIA in recognition of his contribution to neighborhood planning and the design of affordable housing.

Bill Reed, Ecosa Institute Guest Faculty

BILL REED, Regenerative Design

Bill is an internationally recognized practitioner, lecturer, and leading authority in sustainability and regenerative planning, design and implementation. Bill is a principal in Integrative Design, Inc. and Regenesis – organizations working to lift green building and community planning into full integration and evolution with living systems. His work centers on creating and implementing a whole and living-systems design process. Bill is an author of many technical articles and contributed to many books including co-author of the seminal work, “Integrative Design Guide to Green Building.” He is a founding Board of Director of the US Green Building Council and one of the co-founders of the LEED Green Building Rating System. In addition to being considered one of the leading thinkers in this field, Bill has also consulted on over two hundred green design commissions, the majority which are LEED Gold and Platinum and Living Building Challenge projects.  He is also a keynote speaker at major building and design events as well as a guest lecturer to universities throughout Europe and North America including Harvard, MIT, Princeton and UPenn.

Michael Sorkin, Ecosa Institute

MICHAEL SORKIN, Architect & Planner

Michael Sorkin is the principal of the Michael Sorkin Studio in New York City, a design practice devoted to both practical and theoretical projects at all scales with a special interest in the city. Recent projects include masterplanning in Hamburg and Schwerin, Germany, planning for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, campus planning at the University of Chicago, and studies of the Manhattan waterfront and Arverne, Queens. The studio is the recipient of a variety of awards, including three I.D. Awards and a Progressive Architecture Award.

Sorkin is the Director of the Graduate Urban Design Program at the City College of New York. From 1993 to 2000 he was Professor of Urbanism and Director of the Institute of Urbanism at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Previously, Sorkin has been professor at numerous schools of architecture including Cooper Union (for ten years), Columbia, Yale (holding both Davenport and Bishop Chairs), Harvard, Cornell (Gensler Chair), Nebraska (Hyde Chair), Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Minnesota.

He lectures widely and is the author of many articles in a wide range of both professional and general publications and is currently contributing editor at Architectural Record and Metropolis. For ten years, he was the architecture critic of The Village Voice. His books include Variations on A Theme Park, Exquisite Corpse, Local Code, Giving Ground (edited with Joan Copjec),Wiggle (a monograph of the studio’s work), Some Assembly Required, Other Plans, The Next Jerusalem, and After The Trade Center (edited with Sharon Zukin). Forthcoming are Weed, AZ and Work On The City.

Michael Sorkin was born in Washington, D.C. and received his architectural training at Harvard and MIT.

Athena and Bill Steen, Ecosa Institute

ATHENA & BILL STEEN, Natural Builders

Athena and Bill Steen are world-recognized natural building experts in all manner of materials —straw, earth, lime, bamboo, thatch, and leichtlehm. They are the authors or numerous books on the subject, including the seminal “The Straw Bale House,” as well as “Built By Hand,” “Small Strawbale,” “The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes” and “Earthen Floors.” Both are master natural finish creators, including all manner of wall finishes, and in particular, earthen floors. Athena is also a master at building “cob” earthen ovens, using a uniquely adapted African oven shape. Bill was one of the originators of the straw-bale building revival in the late 1980s, in conjunction with Pliny Fisk, Matts Myhrman, Steve MacDonald and David Bainbridge. Currently, they have a non-profit building and teaching organization named The Canelo Project, and do a great deal of work in northern Mexico with those of modest means, including a major ongoing effort with Save The Children/Sonora, for whom they did an amazing all-natural materials office building. Through this work they have developed a unique “light-clay-straw block,” a kind of cross between an adobe block and a straw bale. To learn more about their work see their website, www.caneloproject.com.

John Todd, Ecosa Institute

JOHN TODD, Living Machines

Dr. John Todd was trained in agriculture, parasitology, and tropical medicine, and received his doctorate in fisheries and oceanography. He was an Assistant Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution until 1973, and in 1969 co-founded the New Alchemy Institute to create a science and practice based upon ecological precepts. In 1984 he began developing technologies for treating wastes and purifying water now known as the Living Machine. He is currently President of Ocean Arks International, and Research Director of Living Technologies.

Sim Van Der Ryn, Ecosa Institute

SIM VAN DER RYN, Ecological Design

Sim Van Der Ryn is the president of Van der Ryn Architects, a renowned leader in sustainable architecture. For over thirty-five years, his design, planning, teaching and public leadership has advanced the viability, acceptance and knowledge base of ecological principles and practices in architecture and planning. His vision, passion and keen insight into the opportunities and challenges of every project, in concert with his collaborative skills, have made ecological design a real solution for our times. Sim also founded the Farallones Institute, whose work continues today at the Ecological Design Institute (EDI), Van der Ryn Architects’ non-profit partner. Sim has also written several cutting edge books about sustainable planning and design including Sustainable Communities (1986) with Peter Calthorpe and Ecological Design (1996) with Stuart Cowan. For his leadership and innovation, Sim has won numerous honors and awards.

Mathis Wackernagel, Ecosa Institute

MATHIS WACKERNAGEL, Ecological Footprint

Mathis Wackernagel directs the Sustainability Program at Redefining Progress, an Oakland-based nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute. He has worked on sustainability issues for organizations in France, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United States, and has lectured for community groups, government branches, NGOs, and academic audiences at more than eighty universities in over twenty countries. He has authored or contributed to over two dozen academic articles and co-authored various books on sustainability that focus on the question of embracing limits and developing indicators to assess sustainability, including Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth and Sharing Nature’s Interest. After earning a degree in mechanical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, he completed his Ph.D. in community and regional planning at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. There he developed, under Professor William Rees, the “Ecological Footprint” concept as his doctoral dissertation, now a widely used measure of sustainability. Mathis also directs the Centre for Sustainability Studies at Anáhuac University of Xalapa, Mexico.

James Wines, Ecosa Institute

JAMES WINES, Architect

James Wines is the founder and president of SITE, an internationally known architecture and environmental arts organization chartered in New York City in 1970. He is the former Chair of Environmental Design at Parsons School of Design and recently became Head of the School of Architecture at Pennsylvania State University. He has given lectures at more than 1800 colleges, universities, and professional conferences in twenty-four countries, and has contributed many essays to books and magazines in the USA, Europe, and Asia. In 1987 his book DE-ARCHITECTURE was published by Rizzoli International and, during the past decade, there have been twenty-three monographic books and museum catalogues produced on Mr. Wines’ projects for SITE and their related models and drawings. He has designed and built more than 150 architecture, landscape, interior, and exhibition projects for both private and municipal clients. Winner of twenty-five major art and design awards, including the 1995 Chrysler Award for Design Innovation, he is also the recipient of fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kress Foundation, The American Academy in Rome, The Guggenheim Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Graham Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and The Pulitzer Prize Organization. James Wines lives and works in New York City, exhibits with the Max Protetch Gallery, and frequently travels abroad for projects and lectures. Among James Wines’ current architectural projects, he is working on a master-planning of a sculpture park in Maryland, a memorial garden pavilion and a master-planning of a sculpture garden in Briosco, Italy, furniture for Saporiti Italia in Milano, Italy, and research for a prototype water and civilization museum for several cities in the U.S.A.

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