If the infrastructure we need for human habitation is to be sustainable, it needs to support the natural infrastructures that support us. It is clear to many professionals in the field that the existing water infrastructure in the United States is failing, primarily because it was designed piecemeal -- without holistic, collaborative insight. The 2011 hurricane season effectively proved this for much of the East Coast. How do we re-create our water infrastructure as a functioning part of the greater watershed -- as a contributor to hydrological and ecosystem health? We will take participants (including architects, engineers, developers, town and natural resource planners, watershed activists, and homeowners) through a journey of understanding watersheds; how they work, and how to work with them to provide for human needs. Utilizing the Mad River Valley watershed as an example, we will explore the benefits of, and approaches to, human-made and adapted "green infrastructure," including bioswales, constructed wetlands, and water gardens, as opposed to typical pump and pipe systems. We'll also look at floodplains and discuss where and how development is (and is not) appropriate.

Course start time: Sunday, 5pm
Course end time: Friday, 5pm



  • Competency Level: All Levels.

Materials to bring

• Something to take notes: clipboard with paper or notebook

• Your favorite calculator (we will have some extras)

• Laptop computer (optional)

• Comfortable clothes / shoes: we will be sitting some, walking outside a least a few days, and traveling around visiting sites... so comfortable clothes that you don't mind getting a little dirty.

• Any information on projects that you are working on or may be working on in the future: site information: maps, survey, soils information, climate data, etc. Don’t worry if you don’t have this information, we will spend some class time assisting students with obtaining this information


Course Outline


5:00pm - Orientation and Tour of the Yestermorrow facilities

6:00pm - Dinner at Yestermorrow (for all, even folks not on meal plan)

7:00pm - Introductions and Interests

• Review schedule of the week

• Introductory course presentation

8:00pm - Break for the evening



9:00am – Watershed 101: shapes, characteristics, soils, geology, maps, etc.


1:00pm – Tour the Mad River Valley… examining the characteristics of a watershed on the ground.

5:00pm - Break for the evening



9:00am - How biological water system act – rivers, forests, wetland, etc. How green infrastructure that mimic biological processes work


1:00pm - Intense review of Yestermorrow’s watershed and neighboring watersheds

5:00pm - Break for the evening



9:00am – Teaching how to access and use tools for investigation: soil Information, climate data, maps, aerial photography, etc.


1:00pm - Appropriate infrastructure: Hard & Soft infrastructure.

5:00pm Break for the evening

7:00pm Yestermorrow Summer Lecture Series



9:00am - Working on Projects


1:00pm - Working on Projects

5:00pm - Break for the evening



9:00am - Working on Projects


1:00pm - Project presentations

3:30pm - Class summary and course evaluation

4:30pm End of class!


*Each weekday Joel will also lead a Tai Chi workout at 7:00am and the class could eat breakfast together at 8:30am (optional)