Tony (my husband) and I (Susan) are passionate about sustainability. Together we have four children, and Bentley our standard poodle. With our children grown and no longer living at home we are looking forward to the next phase of our lives…
The purpose of the Learning Centre is to provide inclusive, multi-generational environmental education.
a. ‘about the environment’ (e.g. Biology)
b. ‘for the environment’ (e.g. Activism)
c. ‘through the environment’ (e.g. Empowerment; team work, team building, confidence building and leadership)
Our goal is to grow and support a community for natural building through hands-on learning and the development of a natural building network. We host a monthly fireside chat that brings together professionals, enthusiasts and the general public. Our guests are welcome to attend.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
We work a 5 day week. Typically Monday to Friday, with an exception being if we are hosting a monthly working bee. If you work the bee day(s), you will have alternate days off.
We believe that it is Education though the environment– team building, confidence building, leadership, and team work that truly makes a difference between just traveling and having a life changing experience.
We encourage and support our guests to get out and play, to explore all that the island has to offer. Grab another guest and take off... go mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, swimming, it’s all within your reach. We have bikes you can use.
A ten minute walk will get you to local live music, karaoke, a jam session, a walk on the beach. The Lighthouse Country Regional Trail is at our front gates - walk, enjoy the beauty of our rare Coastal Douglas fir forest.
The real experience comes from connecting with others, the guests, our family and friends and our community. There is never a shortage of people, visiting, asking questions, sharing thoughts and ideas. Come and bring yours!
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
We have a need for Earthship builders and garden helpers. No experience is necessary; however natural building and construction skills are preferred. A passion for natural building and/or gardening is desirable.
All 1170 tires have been placed, filled, pounded and leveled. We have installed the water cisterns, and the roof. We are now working on the plumbing and electrical systems, insulation and vapour barrier, along with the remainder of the tire wall pack out. Building construction is hard physical work; you will be learning how to build based on Earthship constructions methodologies. As important as getting the various systems in place, is learning how, why and having fun while doing the tasks. Bring your sense of humour, your muscles and your desire to learn and share!
Our food forest is planted; our young fruit & nut trees and berry bushes all need tender loving care to help them along. We have plans for 12 community garden boxes built from waste wood salvaged from our sawmill, and are building a giant sunflower shaped garden. There is lots of building, planting, tending and harvesting to be done. We use mostly hand-tools, although there is a small tractor if needed. Bring your creativity, plant knowledge (or willingness to learn) and your patience. We are all learning!
You are in Lighthouse Country, a small rural area on Vancouver Island and about 6 kilometers from Bowser town center. There you will find a grocery store, banking, real estate office, massage, doctor, yoga, Salish Sea gift shop, coffee shop and a variety of retailers. A summer farmer’s market is held here.
We are off grid and very rustic. If you love the outdoors, you will love this. You will have a place to pitch your tent, or park your campervan or RV (no hookups) on the edge of the forest. We have an outdoor solar shower – very cute – but if you want real running hot water, a quick bike ride to the local campground and for a buck or two you can have a hot shower! Our outhouse is not smelly and we use real toilet paper – not old magazines and phone books.
Meals are prepared and served in the Cafe - named for first summer’s early morning guests (2 black bears) our compact outdoor kitchen includes a stove, fridge, cook top, double sinks, cutlery, dishes, pots n pans and all the basics to cook a meal.
We prepare a full lunch; everyone pitches in dinner prep. Dishes and kitchen clean up is the responsibility of all.
Our outdoor kitchen is stocked with all the basics for breakfast – guests get themselves up and organized for the day’s start.
We prepare a healthy and nutritious lunch and assist in the prep for dinner. Lunch is typically a soup, sandwich, salad, dessert, and coffee, tea. The menu rotates often... we prefer vegetarian, but can complement with seafood, meat and dairy depending on the guests needs, desires and food sensitivities.
Fresh drinking water is available at no charge to fill your own reusable container.
The kitchen is stocked with the basic ingredients for vegetarian dinners there is a chalk board for you to add to the grocery list. Sometime guests provide the 'special spice' or ingredient. We encourage our guests to participate in the preparation and serving of dinner, as we have found in the past it increases the cultural sharing, and makes for a more rich experience for all. It's such a wonderful opportunity to learn about other peoples' food customs and flavours.
The kitchen is kept clean and tidy. Dishes and kitchen clean up is the responsibility of all.
Saturday and Sunday you are on your own, help yourself to leftovers in the fridge, pack a lunch, take a buddy or two (or more) and find something to do. There are occasionally special Sunday dinners... we’ll make sure you know in advance!
Coming from Vancouver – check out translink trip planner at
Coming from Victoria – check out BC transit trip planner at
Bus options from Nanaimo – check out . The stop you will get off is at the foot of Lions Way, Qualicum Bay. You will be right in front of the Sandbar Cafe & Art Gallery. If you’re tired... have a lovely cup of tea, and then continue from there. Cross the street and walk one block up Lions Way, take the first right onto Lioness Blvd and keep on walking. The driveway is about ½ km long. You will know you’ve arrived once you cross the Railway, the RDN trail and arrive at the green gates. Keep right, you’ve almost arrived at the Cafe. You will likely be greeted by Bentley, our standard poodle. He will love you... although he may bark to let us know you’ve arrived.
All work and no play is no way to spend your life. There are so many things to do on Vancouver Island, the local islands and in our area. Except for our summer working bees, we take Saturday and Sunday off. So do our guests, so we can rest, recharge and have time to explore.
Tony and I live a very simple life, on the property in our 5th wheel trailer with Bentley. We are happiest working on our project, welcoming people from all over the world into our lives. In August we host an annual 'friends and family' summer party. I hope you will join us, good food, music, great people, fun conversations. Last year we hosted over 30 people from all over the world. Chris and Iliya and their son Zach also live on the property. Chris heads up work in the gardens and helps with the Earthship build. Iliya pitches in wherever help is needed.
In 2018, our guests enjoyed trips to Tofino and Ucluelet, exploring Cathedral Grove (sadly closed at the moment), Coombs “goats on the roof”, Free Spirit Spheres, and O.U.R Ecovillage tour. That's just to name a few; we are in the heart of one of the best recreational area in BC!
This is just an ‘at a glance’ of all you can see and do in the area. We look forward to welcoming you
Free Spirit Spheres cool, quirky and truly unique spherical tree-houses offer an exquisite combination of back-to-nature experience with the trendy phenomenon of ‘glamping’.
Horne Lake Caves Park is a caving, adventure tourism, company for many ages and abilities located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
Lighthouse Country Regional Trail: Take a step away from the beach and walk, run or ride the north and south loops of the Lighthouse Country Regional Trail (LCRT) located in Bowser and Qualicum Bay. The level grade and connection to more trails in the surrounding Crown forest and Wilson Family Woodlot make it easy for everyone to get out and get active while enjoying the beauty of our rare Coastal Douglas-fir forest. NOTE: you’ll cross this trail when you are on the driveway. You can wander the path everyday.
Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. Impressive waterfalls cascade down a rocky gorge in a beautiful forested setting bordered by steep mountain peaks at this park, one of the most beautiful parks on central Vancouver Island.
Milner Gardens and Woodlands Experience the magic of 28 hectares (70 acres) of unspoiled natural beauty perched on the edge of an ocean-side bluff overlooking the Strait of Georgia. Stroll the winding pathways and magical surroundings of an ancient coastal Douglas fir forest.
Whiskey Creek Farm Their Bakery / Bistro is devoted to being a completely gluten free location, and 80-95% organic (wherever and whenever they can!). On the property you are welcome to wonder around to see: free-range and non-GMO raised chickens, lush organic gardens, and many rustic treasures! Tony and I celebrated our wedding anniversary here last summer.
O.U.R Ecovillage is a permaculture based intentional community and sustainable education demonstration site.
Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. Majestic old growth trees, beautiful ocean sunsets and an inviting, wide sandy beach with campsites nestled amongst mature Douglas fir trees makes Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park in Parksville one of the premier vacation destinations on Vancouver Island.
good eats in the bay:
Here’s a few places to check out for food, live music and of course beer!
Crown & Anchor Roadhouse Pub: A five minute walk from here; live music, meat draws, karaoke, and jam sessions. Free WiFi available for diners.
Henry’s Kitchen Chinese food is currently under renovation - hopefully it will be reopening soon: A short walk . They have free WiFi available for diners.
Sandbar Cafe & Art Gallery: lots of live local music, just a five minute stroll . Free WiFi available for diners.
West Coast Food House: casual dining in the heart of Qualicum Bay; a five minute walk
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We are off grid, with solar generated electricity. Our internet services are provided by Star-link; it is in beta test and does not always work well. When it is working well, it is incredibly good. For example... We work on-line and stream videos. Zoom does not always perform well. I can typically participate in a zoom call with up to about 100 people with few or no issues. I do not depend on the service to host a zoom call with more than a few people. When hosting 'critical' meetings on zoom, I work offsite. We're happy for you to come, but could not guarantee the quality of the service. It works well enough for us, but we have the luxury of being able to toggle to our cell phones if there is an issue with Star-link. You can find out more about star link here:
Many of our guests travel in their campervans and motorhomes; we have plenty of space. One thing to keep in mind... is that we do not have 'sani-dump' services. Those services are available locally.
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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