NW Permaculture Institute

Earth Care, People Care, Future Care

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Cancelled – Backyard Habitat Design with Dr. Roberta Bigelow, presented by Mid-Willamette Permaculture Guild Free Film and Lecture Series, Wed March 11th @ 6:30pm

This event will be rescheduled at a later date.


Are you interested in becoming part of the solution? Permaculture is applied ecology; founded by Australian agronomists Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the late 1970s, it is now a worldwide movement promoting ethically grounded gardening and landscape design—working with nature, rather than against it. The Mid-Willamette Permaculture Guild sponsors monthly meetings featuring films and lectures on all aspects of permaculture design and related topics pertaining to restorative and regenerative gardening and agriculture.

This Second Wednesday of March (March 11) our guest speaker will be Dr. Roberta Bigelow, presenting on the topic of backyard habitat design. Roberta retired from Willamette University in 2015 after teaching physics for nearly 30 years. She took the Master Gardeners’ Trainee course as soon as it was available, becoming a Master Gardener in 2016 and the MCMGA Treasurer in 2017. Along with Master Gardeners Karen Freeman and Carol & Bill Sutkus, Roberta taught a class on Backyard Habitat gardening–the gardening practice that seeks to provide natural habitat for wildlife.

Backyard Habitat Gardening

We are currently living in a time where the loss in biodiversity is becoming known as the sixth extinction, the sixth time in world history that many species have disappeared at a rapid rate, but this time the cause is clearly human activity. The reasons for this rapid decline in biodiversity are complicated but among them are habitat degradation and loss. The principle of Backyard Habitat gardening is to create natural, low-maintenance gardens that support people, wildlife, and the planet. We do this through removing invasive weeds, using native plants when possible, reducing pesticide use to a minimal level, managing water appropriately, and providing wildlife habitat. In this presentation, Roberta will talk about practical ways to make your yard attractive to wildlife, mainly insects and birds.

Held in Salem every 2nd Wednesday at 6:30 pm At Salem Friend’s Meeting House, 490 19th Street NE (19th and Breyman) For more information: 971-218-4772/ dianedalychavez@gmail.com or 971-701-6965/ tiellis@gmail.com




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Salem Free Film Event, The Permaculture Orchard: Beyond Organic, January 26 @ 6:30pm


Learn how to set up your own permaculture orchard at any scale. Recognizing the limitations of the organic model as a substitute to conventional fruit growing, we propose a more holistic, regenerative approach based on permaculture principles. Based on 20 years of applied theory and trial and error, biologist and educator Stefan Sobkowiak shares his experience transforming a conventional apple orchard into an abundance of biodiversity that virtually takes care of itself. The concepts, techniques and tips presented in this film will help you with your own project, whether it is just a few fruit trees in your urban backyard, or a full-scale multi-acre commercial orchard. 115 minutes.

Film includes:

  • creating habitat for birds / pollinators
  • natural pest control techniques
  • the trio system / plant combinations
  • the shrub + herbaceous layers
  • seed planting of annuals
  • planting fruit trees / drainage considerations
  • tree training vs. pruning
  • grafting / overgrafting
  • starting your own trees vs. buying trees
  • mulch options with a focus on plastic mulch and why/how
  • drip irrigation
  • the importance of cultivar selection
  • the grocery aisle concept
  • spraying / fungi control
  • tree protection
  • frost protection


Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share: Free Film and Lecture Series
Held in Salem every 4th Thursday @ 6:30pm (except November and December)

Salem 4th Thursday events include potluck & discussion
@ Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem, 5090 Center Street. NE, Salem

For more information email nwperma@gmail.com or call 503-449-8077


This event is made possible by support from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem, Life Source Natural Foods, and private donations from people in our community.  Thank you for your support!


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Event Cancelled – A Simple Question: The Story of STRAW, Salem free film event, April 28th @ 6:30pm

Event Cancelled – Due to illness April’s Salem free film event is cancelled.  We are very sorry for the inconvenience and hope to see you at future events.



A Simple Question: The Story of STRAW

STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed) is a national model for involving students in hands-on, place-based environmental education. The films explores this innovative program that brings together students of all ages, their teachers, community groups and local land-owners to undertake habitat restoration and preserve endangered species. Narrated by Peter Coyote and featuring author Richard Louv, 36 minutes.

Are you a teacher or environmental educator?  Are you interested in organic gardening, water saving perennial food systems, and local, sustainable agriculture?  Come to our latest film and finger food potluck and network with like minded folks.  Feel free to bring business cards or fliers about your local business, craft, service, community group, or non-profit.

Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share: Free Film and Lecture Series
Held in Salem every 4th Thursday @ 6:30pm (except November and December)

Salem 4th Thursday events include potluck & discussion
@ Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem, 5090 Center Street. NE, Salem

For more information email nwperma@gmail.com or call 503-449-8077

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Let’s talk about water… Inviting you to the Salem Water Fair, May 23rd from noon to 3pm! Film, speakers, activites, and free drawing!

I want to talk to the Governor about drought. About how the situation in California looms before us after Oregon’s meager winter. How chemical agriculture kills the life in soils until the the topsoil no longer acts as a living sponge to slowly replenish ground waters.

I want to talk to the Governor about rainfall. As much as 75% of the rainfall in an area comes from transpiration from trees. We need to plant trees – everywhere. Better they be food trees to doubly address the issues of community hunger.

I want to talk to the Governor about bottled water, and the shady wisdom of handing over our little share of the fraction of a percent of drinkable ground water left on earth to corporate profits, destabilizing the livability of this region for future generations.

I want to talk to the Governor about children, about the necessity of inspiring in our youth a love of the land, and the water here in Oregon, so they will step up to respect and protect resources in the future.

Inviting Governor Brown, all teachers, and all Oregon children to the Salem Water Fair, May 23rd.

Lichen June, Director

NW Permaculture Institute