The story so far

Tamara left Bunyip in April 2009 seeking what she needed to know for her permaculture future. She spent 9 months at her Aunt Catherine's farm in Arid South Australia, then 9 months at Bill and Lisa Mollison's farm in Tasmania. Now she's off on more adventures starting Moonrise School of Permaculture and teaching Permaculture Design Courses in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne. Ducky is there for the journey...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Teaching 2 free PDCs - 3 months on from the Permaculture Planetary Pilgrimage

The teaching journey has begun! 
I wrote this post 6 weeks ago - but didn't have time to post it, I've been so busy teaching!!! 
"Teaching a PDC, feel the fear and prepare like mad"
Tonight is the night! Taj and I are starting our first ever PDC class and we are stoked!!! We've been preparing like mad for the course that starts tonight (6.30 - 9.30) and for a second class that starts on Tuesday (10.00 - 5.00). Of course all the years leading up to tonight have been paving the way but the immediacy of the class has us putting our final consideration in the order of things tonight. Its actually very interesting running a 3 hour a day course and a 6 hour a day. The 3 hour course has to cover the same stuff as the 6 hour but the punctuation of highpoints is different. People have to say "Wow I learned something really important" in 3 hours rather than 6 - and getting to know each other in the group at the same time.  
In the planning stages of our teacher training extravaganza last November, I knew that the Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage would kick my backside into finally teaching a Permaculture Design Course. Having come through it, I was galvanised to teach but I finally also had the confidence to jump in and go.  The next step to all these trainngs is to teach a pdc. Delvin has already taught full PDCs - he runs them over the space of a year and I realy love his model. I have decided to start with two courses runing in parallel: 3 hours on a thursday night and 6 hours on a tuesday starting at 10am - early enough for me!
And now:
I'm about 6 weeks into teaching two free PDCs, so 3 weeks off completion of the Tuesday class - but I am really starting to enjoy myself and am getting good feedback too. I had both classes come to learn with guest teachers yesterday, it was great!  Ed and Michelle are local permies and are part of our Ultra Local Upwey Permaculture Group. Almost all of us in the group live within walking distance of Upwey township - and where we have our classes. Ed taught a class on "Catch and Store Energy" and Michelle spent the rest of the day helping everyone learn about community, invisible structures and social mapping. I helped out with some scribing of the brainstorms and facilitating the group work late in the day. 
Here are some pics of Ducky joining in - he has been great for breaking the ice and he helps us with our morning warm up - some of you will have seen the 'tricks' Ducky does when people throw their hands over their head, its silly, fun and I love it. 

Here he is helping us learn about patterns. We're using Robin Clayfield's pattern card deck. Create a niche and something will move in - Ducky moved into the middle of our starburst pattern to demonstrate how energy moves. I didn't even need to ask him!!

I've been using lots of creative ways to get heavy factual information across. Luckily these courses are free because it doesn't work every time and I've changed processes when I've seen it wasn't working with the group. 

I've discovered I'm much better at creating processes when I'm with other people - Robin Clayfield ran her course down here again and I went to two days - a very good reminder for me and I noticed how I like to create with others. I've had this one woman band thing in my mind for so long - like Bill Mollison and Rosemary Morrow, but really, teaching overseas will be much more sustainable and less lonely with other people.

I've noticed I have 'learning gaps' as well. Geoff Lawton's idea of getting the diagrams down pat was good advice. I need to work on getting them right, and using them to best effect.

I see this as the beginning of something incredible, and I just know where we'll be in 5 years! I very much enjoy co-facilitating, and I've had Taj a few times and again in a few weeks. I taught how to eat acorns after Taj and I found each other last year! Here is her blog:

I'd also love to hook up and do a PDC with my PPP cohorts - Ali Ma and Kathleen are both in New South Wales. It would be awesome to do a women's PDC with them - we are in early discussions on doing some stuff together. I feel truly grateful that I had these friends to do the PPP with - and to now have us all on the same page, passionate and throwing ourselves in. Support on the adventure is so important.

I can't say how happy I am to be teaching, my students are amazing and this is the happiest I've been for many, many years! I'm actually amazed I've managed to run 2 PDCs! I was pretty exhausted there for a month or so - I'm 6 weeks in on both classes and I've had huge support from my PC community.

The amount of commitment and effort the students have put into a free class has been extremely heartening. Mary in the Tuesday class has taken it upon herself to create a blog for the class notes! Love your work Mary! (Mary also made a valentines day card for me and ducky - so at least I got one!)

I'm starting a new PDC on the 21st April here in Upwey. Class size will be limited to 12.
I'm trying to keep costs reasonable so it is as accesssible as possible:
$800 business or government or corporate 
$600 waged 
$400 unwaged/concession with a concession card
Both scholarship places are already filled

Now that I have been teaching for 50 hours, I can apply to the Permaculture Research Institute for registration as a PRI teacher. See the links below.
Resources for emerging permaculture teachers


  1. Hi Tamara. Is the course you are starting in April part time or a full two weeks? Thanks!

  2. Hi Tessa, its every saturday over 12 weeks, starting May 5 :)

  3. Hi Tessa,

    I think I've emailed you - my email is

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