Permaculture Design Course Curriculum

Permaculture Design at Anake Outdoor School

We are excited to facilitate a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) as an integral component of the Anake Outdoor School. Anake aims to connect people with nature, community, and self in growing competent and resilient community leaders. We see Permaculture as a human design pattern that strongly synthesizes these aspects of connection and growth.

Our emphasis is on Permaculture Design as nature and community connection in action. It is a set of practical, hands-on tools to integrate into your life anywhere, and on any scale – from a small rural backyard to a large urban or sub-urban community. Upon graduation, students will receive a Permaculture Design Certificate – an internationally recognized certification through the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is a conscious integrated design system based on ecological principles that create resource efficient and productive human environments. Permaculture provides a framework for consciously designed landscapes that mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature. These systems yield an abundance of shelter, water, energy, and food for the provision of local needs that provide diversity, stability, and resilience for local populations.

Permaculture provides a tangible foothold in developing your next best steps toward living a sustainable and regenerative lifestyle. Our curriculum is designed to give students a thorough understanding of the principles and applications of permaculture in their lives and communities.

The Curriculum at a Glance


The course commences with an introduction to systems thinking, patterns in nature, and cultural regeneration to provide a context for Permaculture. We will focus on its influences, history, principles and ethics, issues of energy, sustainability and community resiliency.

Eco-literacy for Sustainability - Patterns & Processes in Nature

This section of the course introduces the basic underlying earth sciences and ecological process required for sustainable design and land stewardship. Building on the introduction to patterns in nature, this section comprises detailed sessions on the patterning of ecological processes & their role and function in the design of sustainable and regenerative systems. We will cover topics including:

  • Landform & landscape reading
  • Water management, collection and storage strategies, erosion control, and earthworks
  • Understanding & maintaining a healthy living soil system and processes
  • Forest ecology and forests’ role in the environment
  • Global climate systems
  • Influencing factors and strategies to create specific microclimates
  • Features and management strategies for humid and arid environments

Sustainable Design and Production Ecology - Patterns in Design

This section begins with the design process and various concepts of patterning in design. This provides the framework for a more detailed exploration of particular design systems in permaculture.

Invisible Structures

Bioregionalism and Transition planning sets the tone for this section followed by community economics and ethical investment, legal structures, land access, land ownership, community development, and bioregional organization strategies.

Permaculture at Work

This introduces local, national and global permaculture networks and organizations, work opportunities and fields of operation, pathways to achieve skills and knowledge for different kinds of permaculture applications, further training options.

The Structure of the Certificate

The course is a 14-day component of the Anake Program. What sets our Permaculture Design Course apart from others is in its structure and delivery. While most courses implement the standard 72 course hours over a 12-day block, we offer 80 course hours over 14 days in three distinct seasonal sessions: two at our campus in Washington, and one during our winter field trip to California.

  • PDC 1 – Late October – Duvall, WA – 6 Days
  • PDC 2 – Mid-February – Quail Springs, CA – 2 Days
  • PDC 3 – Late March/Early April – Duvall, WA – 6 Days

This format allows for students to experience Permaculture through the lens of multiple seasons and diverse landscapes. It also provides an opportunity to develop design projects in-between sessions and use collaboration with your classmates that you are spending a whole year with. This provides a completely unique experience of the Permaculture Design Certification.

The Permaculture Design Curriculum will be co-taught by Wilderness Awareness Staff, guest instructors, and Lead Certifying Instructor, Warren Brush, from Quail Springs Permaculture and True Nature Design. Warren is a leader in the global permaculture movement and has been a long-time friend of the Wilderness Awareness School. Warren masterfully blends the work of Nature and Community connection with the work of Permaculture and Resilient Design, providing a deep and rich learning experience. Learn more about Warren’s global permaculture efforts.

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