"While attending The Evergreen State College, my teachers often commented that our biosphere is failing. They told us that it's our job to fix it, but they didn't tell us how. I went searching for a place to put theory into practice, and found Windward."
-Opalyn Brenger, Windward Steward, 2008 Apprentice
It's easy enough to see that humanity is on a continued course for disasters of all kind. What is not so clear is how to plot a course for a better way; a way that is against the prevailing winds of our times; a way to Windward.
Coming to Windward through a 12-week Apprenticeship, Internship, or Fellowship program is an opportunity to gain hands on experience with the raw materials of sustainability and community, to garner new insights into the complex simplicity of nature, and learn new skills to better partner with nature and others through this transition to into sustainable culture.
What kind of people are we looking for?
We are looking for those rare individuals who genuinely want to take on the challenges (and reap the rewards!) of living closely with a small group of intelligent, compassionate, and committed people working diligently to realize their dreams of living rightly with one another and with nature.
We are looking for people who want to get their hands dirty, while critically engaging in the daily problem solving tasks involved in envisioning, researching, constructing, improving, maintaining and integrating resilient sustainable systems.
We are looking for people who want to learn the broad base of skills needed do all of this; everything from driving nails to mixing concrete, from milking goats to making cider, and from building compassion in a love based living circle to learning the needs and desires of the plants and animals we are working with.
Windward has been around for a long season (over 30 years), but there remains a huge amount of potential for growth and evolution, both in the physical and the social environment. We have accumulated a lot of knowledge, tools, and resources needed to assist us in
In this great journey into a sustainable future, we are looking for people who are seeking the opportunity to work diligently with us to pioneer a new kind of post-consumer village; one whose model stands a good chance of persisting and evolving through time, and that will go on inspiring others to do the same.
If you think you might be such a person, read on!
The Many Paths to Windward
"To work in the service of life and living, in search of the answers of questions unknown. To be part of the movement and part of the growing, part of beginning to understand..."
-John Denver, from the song "Calypso"
A beautiful morning walk on the threshold of Winter.
Over the years we've developed three general ways for folks to make the first steps in getting involved with us on our land-base in Washington State. These paths are,
Unless financial limitations prevent, all participants (from the newest apprentice, to the most senior Steward member) contribute $400 per month to the research cooperative to cover the costs of basic housing, utilities and access to the kitchen, storage, laundry, Internet and tools to help build a merchantable skill base (or skills for self-reliance).
For those who have an earnest desire to come to Windward, but are not financially capable of contributing, we have the Internship program, a kind of merit based scholarship for those who manifest to us that they will make good use of there time here.
Apprenticeships are for those who've got the passion and commitment to live and help live, and want to come to Windward as a contributing member of the community research cooperative.
Apprentices usually come with particular goals in mind for themselves. Such as learning something particular about our integrated systems, preparing a college thesis, or experiencing life in intentional community.
We value diversity, and as such there is no clear cut picture of what an apprentice "is" or "does" here. There is so much to do, and so many things to be involved in, it really is up to you!
To pursue the conversation further, check out the how to apply section to learn more.
We consider internships a form of merit based scholarship in the community/research-cooperative, wherein the basic dues are waived in order to bring in a person who represents a significant opportunity for connection, growth, and/or long-term community involvement on some level.
Just like any scholarship, there is a kind of moral obligation to make good use of one's time.
Since the reality of the situation is that by accepting one person as an intern, we are not accepting another person who might have benefited enormously from the experience, and done great things. We hope this line of thought awakens the reality (or frankly, a natural law) that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
And, like other scholarships, there are some criteria we have developed when deciding to offer an internship. We are looking for people who:
- manifest to us that they will take their time here seriously. We are making available a large amount of physical resources as well as personal life-energy and love. People who understand that we are welcoming them into our lives and who highly value that opportunity for connection and personal evolution.
- have either a specific skill-set which is important to moving forward a priority project or who can commit to working diligently on projects that are of particular importance to the community (as opposed to things that they are interested in doing).
- has a strong interest in joining the community as a long-term member.
- is in need of medium term housing assistance in a way which we can reasonably give, such as someone who has recently experience a traumatic life-change and needs a safe harbor to regroup.
In most ways, there is little difference between an internship and apprenticeship. The most distinguising characteristic of an internship is a higher level of accountability. An internship is a unique opportunity and it pains us to see it squandered.
When applying for an internship, it is prudent of you come ready to elaborate on how you meet these criteria. To learn how to apply, click here.
Daniela spent the summer of 2012 here and did her undergrad thesis research on nutrient cycling in the Duck-Ponics system.
Some schools have funding available for students who want to do alternative study off campus, so if funding is a problem for you, we encourage you to investigate what is available at your school. Who knows, maybe with a little probing you can unearth an amazing opportunity to help fund your time here working in a sustainability research cooperative!
If this is a path which seems likely to work for you, we are happy to participate in the conversation with you and your school.
What we need you to do is find out what options are available at your school, and for you to make the initial contact with an advisor who can support you from your end. At that point, we can work together with you and your advisers to map out a fellowship.
For more information about Academic Fellowships at windward, check out this additional fellows page.
We've put together a Reading List which potential interns, apprentices, and fellows can use to learn about some alternative social structures that achieved a high degree of sustainability in the past, some recent sustainability work that Windward is building on, and some Utopian fiction that suggests what a sustainable village might look like.
The Reading List is there to help bridge that gap, between your experience of sustainability and ours, by providing insights and discussion points that we can weave into your time. We understand that time is in short supply, and that ten books may seem like a lot of reading to do in a twelve week period. Since we're intentionally trying to be different enough to make a difference,
The reading list also contains links to thought provoking quotes from each of the books along with some discussion about why a given book is relevant. We don't expect interns to arrive having read all ten books. Still, there's a lot to cover in twelve weeks and the more prepared someone is when they arrive, the more they will get out of the experience.
We handle applications as a group, and so ask that the application conversation be handled via email so that everyone can read your own words.
We need to know what path you are looking to apply for. If you are not sure, that's fine too, just let us know and we can begin figuring it out.
we also need to know what time-frame you are looking at coming, what months or season. We accept folks on a rolling basis, so you can begin your stay almost anytime within the window of March-September. We prefer to have internships and fellowships finished up by the last week in November in preparation for the winter months. That means starting a fall internship by the beginning of September.
Since we are going to be sharing our life with you, and working closely for an extended period, we want to get to know you!
- Where do you come from? both in general and specifically right now in life?
- Where do you want to go? What kinds of life trajectories are you already on?
- How does Windward fit into your big-picture plans? If you do not have big-picture plans, that ok too, just let us know.
Send us an email at our community email address, and include "PING!" in the subject line so we can begin the conversation!
We look forward to hearing from you!
Other Resources to Explore
There is a lot going on here, and a lot still to do. Part of being successful in the research cooperative is doing the homework. In service of that goal, we have put together some writings over the years to help orient people to life at Windward and get a sense of our philosophy, values, and our life-practice of stewardship and sustainability.
If you have questions about any of the things we outline in these writings, please ask! We are here to serve.
For all those internship applicants, if you are reading this text, congratulations! and you rock! If you want to manifest that you are have the patience and perceptiveness to succeed here, include the word "you rock!" in the subject line of your email, right after the "ping!". Shhh! don't tell the other people who stopped reading after the first sentence. ;
Before you arrive onsite, we need you to send in an Info-sheet/waiver. You can download the infosheet/waiver Here.
Print it out (you get extra point on our end if you can manage to get it printed double sided on one sheet of paper), fill it in out and and sign it, and then mail it to us at:
55 Windward lane
Klickitat, WA 98670