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Eco-Centres and Courses – by Terena Plowright 06.07.07


Eco-Centres and Courses
Terena Plowright

Throughout the UK the galaxy of courses and hands on training around living a more sustainable life is breath taking. Published by Green Books, this is a comprehensive guide of fun and interesting days out for both adults and children.

Some how in popular consciousness there is the idea that greens are somehow anti-technology. Nothing could be further from the truth, in fact since adopting a more sustainable lifestyle I have been confronted by technology challenges at every step. How does a water collection system work, how to install solar water heating, just what the hell is an inverter? It is not just at the level of building technology either, in the garden there is dry stone walling, hedge making, water saving garden design, organic vegetable raising, to dig or not to dig? (Thank you Mr Dowding for setting me straight on that one). Simple basics, like how to drive and maintain a tractor, what nutrition chickens need, are all new worlds to a neo-ruralists like myself, there wasn’t many tractors ploughing up and down Stoke Newington High Street when I lived there!

Once you make the decision that sustainability is going to be a core value in the way you want to live then the learning process begins. It is an exhilarating ride, not without is short falls and frustrations, compromises and short cuts. It is a good job I don’t have much hair as most of it would have been pulled out at one stage or another. On of the key saving graces that has made the whole experience more pleasurable was learning from others who had already found solutions to one problem or another. There are a number of online forums, most notably the Green Building Forum run by Keith Hall at the Green Building Magazine , but nothing beats hand on experience with an expert tutor/guide.

The range of courses and experiences that Terena Plowright has pulled together into Eco-Centres and Courses covers the full range of training available in the United Kingdom and Ireland, its not all work, there is a wide range of courses and informative days out for kids to discover the wonders of nature, as well as beginners and advanced courses in identifying wild flowers, beetles, butterflies and birds.

For the more serious training the book lists courses run throughout the country on a full range of sustainable issues, from making your own soap at the Yarner Trust in Welcome Barton, to dry stone walling at the Hedben Bridge Alternative Technology Centre, there is a wide range of courses on green gardening and permaculture as well as every aspect of living a sustainable life, from solar panels to charcoal making. Whether you live in a city or on a farm there are course and hands on training days that will help you take control of more aspects of your life, lighten your carbon footprint, improve the quality of your life and show you how to have fun doing it all.

In an age when the unsustainability of flying weekend city breaks, and long distance air travel are becoming more and more apparent Terena Plowright’s guide gives access to a whole world of activity based weekends and holidays much closer to home, holidays that will leave you with much more than just a few snapshots.

Terena Plowright herself runs the Sustainability Centre at East Meon in Hampshire. An environmental activist, she campaigns and gives talks on green issues, and is director of Wood4Heat, a non-profit woodchip supply company.

Buy this book, you will love the courses what ever your tastes and so will the kids.

Peter Shield

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Related links

Buy Eco-Centres & Courses by Terena Plowright from the Natural Choices Bookshop

Natural Choices Book Shop

Terena Plowright’s Sustainability Centre

Wood4Heat

Green Building Forum

Green Books

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