I live in N. Searsmont (on the Montville line so I feel more Montvillian) with the Ravenwood Collective – a small intentional community on 178 acres which I founded with Audubon Expedition Institute colleagues 13 years ago. Having recently completed the formation of a home owners association, my farmhouse home is now part of a 6 household ecovillage. Ravenwood is the site for Lesley University’s undergraduate curriculum Practices for Sustainability each fall semester.
I have been engaged in some form of community living since the age of 19. Traveling with the Audubon Expedition Institute (AEI) in the early 80’s as a graduate student solidified my belief in the power of community living as an anecdote to the cultural malaise that I had succumbed to – even though my husband and I were part of the “back-to-the-land” movement of the 70’s. Sanna and I were AEI graduate students together and one of our courses was to design a hypothetical intentional community on the acreage we were camping on. Sanna was excited then – 1985 – about the Danish co-housing movement. 23 years later we are engaging in a real process – no longer hypothetical and it is quite exciting to me.
I am on the faculty of Lesley University, Cambridge, MA, directing and teaching in a MS program of my co-creation called Ecological Teaching and Learning. The vision of the program (the only one of its kind in the country) is to work with teachers – formal or informal – to incorporate and integrate systems thinking and ecological literacy across the curriculum. Ten years into the commencement of this program, I am thrilled and grateful to get paid to do my life’s soul work.
My decision to leave Ravenwood and join the Belfast co-housing has not been an easy one. I love my landmates, the land, the vision and my home. However, I am quite finished with mowing and maintaining a huge yard and old farmhouse. I also dislike my dependence on my car. I have determined that a better lifestyle choice for me is to have amenities close enough to bike to and enough people to car pool with that my dependence on a vehicle will not be the foundation of my lifestyle. The trade-offs are huge for me – but none-the-less important in my continued growth as an ecological citizen of this planet.
Ravenwood also lacks children of which I have none of my own – except being “Auntie” for Mika McKinney. I look forward to mentoring little ones in the art of unfettered time in nature.