Design With Nature is coming to life in Ecosa Institute’s Ecological Design Program and its 65 acres of newly-acquired land in Prescott’s stunning Granite Dells. With a rich ecology, varied terrain and abundant wildlife, the site provides invaluable opportunities for the experiential learning Ecosa Institute represents. Self-directed learning activities, site surveys and research, hands-on projects, portfolio collection and sketching are some of the student activities planned at this site.

To take full advantage of the land prior to building construction, ecological design students will have the unique opportunity to be mentored on the design/build of an outdoor classroom by Cody Lundin, Prescott resident and star of the TV series “Dual Survivor.” Cody is a long-time Ecosa contributor who teaches survival skills and the importance of teamwork as he once again leads students on a life-changing, three-day wilderness trip at the start of our program.


The study of Ecological Design will be expanded by Thread Weavers with expertise in various disciplines. Students will learn about ecologies, architecture, cultures, team-building, sustainability, planning, interiors, product design, design technology, whole systems thinking and urban, landscape and communication design. Thread Weavers will guide students to an awareness of how each topic impacts and influences the other as inter-connected “threads.”

Ecosa Institute’s Ecological Design Program will teach you to think like a designer in the broad context of environmental and sustainable concerns as you discuss, develop and apply design theories and practices that are holistic, just and regenerative.


Small-scale hands-on design and build projects are planned throughout the semester to give students real-world experience with all facets of the design process. Although Ecosa Institute is not an architectural design school, students will learn how to visualize a design and communicate their work to others, first by mastering use of a pencil and then moving on to computer programs and technology. Group dynamics and communication are vitally important to reaching positive outcomes and students will be guided to solve problems and find alternatives.


A sharper focus on communication design and projects for real-world clients will show the importance of clear and direct communication of ideas and plans to achieve professional and academic success. Students will become familiar with various styles, mediums and technologies as they work towards creating their own portfolio of experiences as well as the presentation of client projects.


One interesting feature of the 2016 curriculum schedule will be your ability to access schedule details and applicable resource information by clicking on and interacting with the various schedule blocks. There will also be an interactive map which gives site-specific information and photographs for important Arizona places and Ecosa Institute field trip destinations. Both of these will be featured soon on our redesigned website.


Many lessons of life and nature are best learned through experience, and Ecosa Institute’s field trips and guest speakers provide this opportunity. Students will not only learn survival skills, they will also walk through the future of urban design at Arcosanti and participate in rain-water harvesting with Barnabus Kane. Hopi culture and community food-growth efforts will be demonstrated to students as guests on the Hopi Reservation, regional architectural projects of note will be explored around the state and students will take time to observe the impact on design of space, place, movement and sound.


What isn’t new at Ecosa Institute is the tradition of immersive and experiential education and the belief that design in connection with nature and its systems can provide positive solutions to today’s societal and environmental problems. Leading this exploration is Ecosa Institute Founder Antony “Tony” Brown, who maintains his vision of educating future ecological leaders, change-agents and stewards of our Earth who can use design to balance the needs of humans and nature.

Learn more on our Ecological Design Certificate program webpage!


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