Sustainable Living Practices

ORGANIC ORCHARDS, GARDENING, & COMPOSTING

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At RAVENS-WAY WILD JOURNEYS we feel that it’s vital for more people to be growing, sharing, trading, and selling local, organic produce for the sake of better personal and environmental health. One of our major concerns is the fact that the Earth we live in has limited resources and the growing population is putting tremendous pressure on it. In a world of increasingly hungry people with limited access to healthy fruits, vegetables, and herbs it’s essential for all of us to participate in a network of bio-regional Organic Gardens.

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Organic gardening not only helps to keep us healthy, and our environment clean and safe, it also helps us to utilize natural resources efficiently with better plant-growing methods. Join us to learn how you can get far better yield as you are trying to repair and restore the imbalanced ecosystem. Using Earth-friendly techniques, we’ll guide you step-by-step to create your own organic garden of nutritious and delicious edibles.

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We discuss specific design and planning considerations and constraints, including benefits from passive rainwater harvesting techniques. We’ll teach you the importance of composting, soil testing and preparation, seed propagation and transplanting, companion planting, efficient watering, using local varieties of edible plants, creating useful garden structures, and how to nurture healthy delicious crops. You too can learn and practice these time-honored techniques and enjoy your own locally produced, healthy, organic food.

You will learn about the benefits of growing your plants without using any synthetic products like artificial fertilizers or pesticides. Organic gardening is the best way to fortify depleted soil, control pests, and make the best use of available natural resources without damaging our ecosystem. For instance, by planting legumes, you are naturally adding nitrogen to the soil. When you grow plants that work along with Nature, then the whole process eventually thrives well within the local environment.

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As you feed the soil naturally, using organic matter like: garden waste, compost from kitchen scraps, and mulch (such as grass clippings and dried leaves) the soil will in turn feed the plants. We’ll also teach you how to build your own productive compost pile. Composting is the basis for growing the healthiest, most nutritious, and most disease-resistant plants and orchard trees..

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As a guest at our Safari Tented Camp, you can sample in our seasonal organic produce from our gardens and orchards in our delicious and nutritious menu selections.

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RAIN WATER HARVESTING

The American Southwest is renowned for its brevity of precipitation and its resultant aridity. Thus, thereʼs no greater incentive for capturing, storing, and wisely using the little rainwater that makes it to our region. At Raven’s Nest Nature Sanctuary weʼve implemented a variety of water-harvesting techniques all aimed at maximizing the benefits of our scant precipitation.

Through a combination of Passive Harvesting structures, such as berms, small check dams, and gabions weʼve begun to “plant the water” in the ground. These structures pause the water long enough for it to soak more completely into the earth, thus benefiting a diversity of Native Plants. As the plants increase and prosper, so too do a great variety of native wildlife species.

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Additionally, we Actively Harvest Rainwater off the roofs of both our Nature & Discovery Center and our Abode. At our school, the rainwater pipes into Dragon Pond where after filling the pond, the rest is pumped into our 20,000 gallon Rainwater Holding Tanks. Dragon pond itself is a mecca for Wildlife seeking to drink, bath, nest, or feed. At Ravenʼs Nest Nature Sanctuary, our Rainwater Harvesting setup provides water for our Organic Gardens, Orchard, Ethnobotany Gardens, and Native Plant landscaping alike. We invite you to take a Rainwater Harvesting Workshop with us and learn how to transform your landscape into a wildlife haven, while decreasing harmful erosion.

Join us at RAVENʼS NEST and learn how to minimize the need for irrigation by planting only Native Species with low water requirements and by using both Active & Passive Rainwater Harvesting Techniques. In 2008 we designed all our Rehabilitated Wildlife Habitat, Food & Ethnobotany Gardens, and our Orchard to benefit from these methods. We have since practiced efficient deep watering with the rainwater that we thankfully harvest and store during the Monsoon and Winter rains. Join us for this informative Rainwater Harvesting Workshop and witness the amazing results which are tangible both in terms of the benefit for wildlife and the health of the Ecosystem at our Nature Sanctuary. We are looking forward to sharing with you our techniques and experience during this inspirational workshop that will transform your land and your appreciation for every drop of rain water!

WILDLIFE  RESTORATION  & HABITAT CREATION

Using a wide variety of tools and techniques you’ll learn how to transform your landscape – however large or small – into a Sanctuary for a broad spectrum of Wildlife. During this in-depth class you’ll learn how to:

  • Create a landscape solely from Native Plants,
  • Employ certain plant species to benefit: Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, and Invertebrates
  • Incorporate Rock Features such as check dams, berms and gabions,
  • Employ Passive Rainwater Features to efficiently water your natural landscape
  • Build small wildlife ponds that benefit a broad spectrum of species
  • Remove harmful nonnative plants that threaten our biodiversity

We’ll help you to create a diverse and stable wildlife haven at your home using these and other features that will serve as a magnet for many fascinating and vital animals. With habitat degradation rampant throughout the world – including here in the Southwest – your land is even more vital as a refuge for native plants and animals.

Using our own Raven’s Nest Wildlife Sanctuary as an example, we can help you choose and implement the best plan for your exact environment, soils, erosion & drainage patterns, elevation, and other site-specific factors. In the end you’ll marvel at the amazing transformation your land will experience. Join us for this informative workshop and savor the beauty of your transformed land and all the wildlife that you’ll encounter as a result of your efforts. (Note: most of the techniques taught in this Workshop can also be applied to regions vastly different than the Southwest).

WILDLIFE HABITAT CONSULTATIONS

A detailed assessment of your existing Wildlife Habitat is a vital step towards creating improvements. We will come to your property and determine how it rates in a wide variety of key categories important to Wildlife. The end result will be a Habitat “report card” designed to highlight the best qualities of your Habitat and those areas in need of help. We’ll walk you through how we came to our conclusions and work with you to make any improvements that you may desire, thus benefiting a wide range of wildlife species. Your Habitat Report will first include:

  • A current plant list of your property
  • A photo ID guide to your flora
  • A list of the wildlife encountered during our survey – Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, and Butterflies/other Invertebrates
  • Recommended habitat alterations and improvements
  • A proposed list of the Native Plants to attract Wildlife, with a description of how each species will benefit native animals
  • A  drawn blueprint detailing these proposed revisions.

Additionally, we’ll give you a tour of our 42-acre Raven’s Nest Nature Sanctuary, including its multitude of wildlife habitat restoration initiatives.  This can help to inspire positive changes on your own land.

At RAVENS WAY WILD JOURNEYS we are passionate about protecting our diverse flora and fauna via a wide range of  ecologically sound conservation practices. Since the Sky Islands region of Arizona is one of the most biologically diverse corners of the world we feel especially compelled to act as educators and guardians of our one-of-a-kind biological heritage. In a world of increasing habitat loss and fragmentation, conversion of natural areas to development, and overpopulation your backyard habitat and conservation practices can be a vital links in the conservation of our local flora and fauna. By creating a diverse and native backyard habitat you too can contribute to the preservation of a regional wildlife corridor ensuring that the natural heritage & habitats of the Sky Islands remain intact for future generations!