Rehydrate the Earth

Small-Scale Passive (Tankless) Rainwater Harvesting 
with Lydia Neilsen

Date: April 2 & 3, 2016
Time: 9 AM Saturday5 PM Sunday

Location: Midtown, Santa Cruz

Please join us for a fun and practical Permaculture workshop designed to teach you easy, fun, do-it-yourself techniques to Rehydrate the Earth without storage tanks of any kind.  Welcome water into your landscape and give it the fullest opportunity for involvement and productivity while it is there, bringing myriad additional benefits to the ecosystem. You will learn vital information and hands-on skills to direct and infiltrate rainwater into the soil, which can hold up to 30% of its volume in water! This workshop is focused on fairly level city lots, but the principles you will learn can be applied to varying slopes and very small lots, big rambling back yards or larger.

Water is a profound, sacred and mystical element that constitutes some 70% of our bodies and makes life possible on this planet. Let’s take care of it!!

Saturday begins with a morning presentation on Water and how it interacts with vegetation, soil and the earth at large. We will cover the magic and science behind the nature of water plus rain water harvesting principles and design considerations. In the afternoon we explore simple tools for finding contours on the land, expand our contour consciousness, and assess the site.  Then we dive into the layout and implementation of human-scale earthworks with multiple functions including passive rainwater harvesting, reducing erosion and flooding, revitalizing soil ecology, supporting vegetation and creating wildlife habitat.

Sunday morning’s presentation is on greywater systems with an emphasis on small constructed greywater filtration wetlands designed to flow into passive rainwater harvesting earthworks. These integrated systems provide year-round soil storage recharge and ecosystem support at the ground level. Consistent moisture sustains a thriving soil ecology which in turn sustains trees and other perennials for diverse habitat production, microclimate moderation and  incredible beauty.  In the afternoon we will walk through a greywater site assessment and discuss the details of an integrated system. Finally we will complete the implementation of our earthworks including seeding, mulching and setting up a simple drip irrigation system to sustain our plantings through the first few summers until their roots reach the zone of saturated soil created by the earthworks.

Our site for the weekend is a beautiful property in the Midtown neighborhood. The yard is mostly flat with many existing trees and garden beds, and a chicken coop.
The course includes two delicious organic locally sourced lunches.

To register click HERE.

For more information contact Lydia Neilsen at lneilsen@earthlink.net

Rehydrate the Earth is also on Facebook, visit us HERE  for more pictures and information about Lydia’s work and rainwater harvesting.

If you have questions, please contact:

About the Teacher - Lydia

waving headshotLydia Neilsen
is a permaculture landscape designer and consultant specializing in passive water harvesting, as well as a gardener, educator, soil builder, and earth lover. She grew up near Cleveland, Ohio and in 1995 earned a BA in Studio Art and Biology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.  In 1996 she moved to Santa Cruz where she earned a certificate in Natural Science Illustration from UCSC. From 1998 to 2008 she was the co-designer and manager of the Westside Permaculture House in Santa Cruz, a demonstration garden for the use of home-scale permaculture design. From 2008 – 2015 she was the Garden Teacher and Garden Manager of the one-acre permaculture and biodynamic garden and small orchard at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School, where she brought permaculture to the children, the campus, and the community. Lydia has also worked extensively in invasive species management and native habitat restoration.


Since 2007 Lydia has been working with Penny Livingston at the Regenerative Design Institute (RDI) at Commonweal Garden in Bolinas where she is the Program Manager and a core teacher for the Four Seasons Permaculture Course – a once a month year-long PDC. Lydia has also been a student of many RDI courses including the Ecology of Leadership and the Ecology of Awakening.

Lydia is dedicated to the development and implementation of beautiful regenerative designs and practices on a do-it-yourself scale. She believes that animals and animal husbandry are a critical element in landscape, human, and planetary health. Lydia specializes in soil building, greywater, integrated poultry systems, water harvesting earthworks and productive water conserving landscapes, polyculture and efficient uses of limited space. Contact Lydia by e-mail: LNeilsen@earthlink.net  – or – phone: 831 247-5767