We are a non-profit land trust organization that runs: summer camps and other outdoor education programs, a natural-burial conservation cemetery, and a conservation program that manages 1,138 acres of pine/oak forest and grassland on the eastern edge of the Columbia River Gorge in south central Washington state. The ranch is also home to a community of people and animals year-round. There are currently six full-time residents at the ranch, a couple staff members that live off-site, and always other wonderful guests, volunteers, and program participants coming and going.
***COVID updates and protocols:
We are not running summer camp or traditional programs but *are* running low-density, physically-distanced family camps through our programming season. Volunteers and staff are assigned to "households" after a quarantine period for bathroom and kitchen access (typically 2-4 people in any one household), and no one shares indoor spaces with people outside of their household. For projects, everyone is expected to physically distance and wear a mask whenever we need to get within 6 feet of each other. Everyone wears a mask around their necks for easy on-off accessibility.
What we do:
• Run 8 weeks of summer camp in the summer and host numerous other field trips and retreats for children and adults (spring, summer, and fall)
• Manage our 20-acre, natural-burial, conservation cemetery
• Care for many animals - we share the land with about 20 horses, a flock of chickens and pigeons, seasonal pigs, several cats, and a few dogs. (Not to mention all the wildlife!)
• Lots of gardening (April-October) – we produce a lot of food!
• Forestry (October-February) – wildfire-fuels reduction and forest health management, designed to be fire-wise and climate-resilient
• Conservation projects, including invasive species removal, native plantings, etc.
• Live off-grid, and manage the off-grid systems
• Various ranch projects, including building and fixing things, fencing and unfencing, trail maintenance, moving objects from place to place, and cleaning… so much cleaning.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
General homesteading skills, animal care, help with kids, living with off-grid systems, gardening and landscaping, conservation practices like invasive species ID and forest health basics... Other possibilities (but not guarantees) also include chainsaw safety and skills, driving a tractor, occasional horse rides or horse connection time, driving a stick shift, power tools, etc.
Volunteers have the opportunity to come as a general ranch volunteer, or to focus their service in our garden, forestry project, or lodge-keeping (although *everyone* gets pulled into various kinds of general tasks and chores, and volunteers should always expect to be involved in our programs at least a little bit).
• Garden Intern (April-October) – all the garden tasks! Starting plants from seed, transplanting into the greenhouse and garden, irrigation, thinning, weeding (so much weeding), harvesting, etc.
• Forestry Intern (October-February) – thinning our dryland forests to promote forest health and fire-wise landscapes; felling trees, limbing branches, pulling brush, cutting firewood, burn piles, etc.
• Lodgekeeping (Year-Round) – keeping our beautiful community space looking sharp! Basic household chores, occasional deep cleaning, beautification, watering the house plants, keeping the wood stove lit, laundry, cooking, hosting guests, etc.
• General Ranch Volunteer (Year-Round) – construction, animal care, cleaning and organizing, cutting firewood, fencing, occasional garden projects, and everything else under the sun that keeps us running smoothly year-round.
• Cemetery Intern (Year-Round) – help prepare grave places, support burials, host tours and visits, and tend grave places
We aim to have two volunteers at a time, and ask that folks stay at least a month. Volunteers will be directly supervised by Michelle Sager, our volunteer/conservation/garden coordinator – and volunteers will often work alongside other amazing staff members as well, depending on need and interest.
Qualifications for a volunteer are:
• Genuine interest in ranch life and sustainable living
• The physical capacity to help in all types of weather and lift up to 50 lbs.
• Ability to receive directions and work collaboratively, and also to work independently and be self-motivated to take initiative
• Willingness to engage in non-violent communication practice as part of the team
• Experience or education in permaculture, horticulture, farming, gardening, forestry, outdoor/environmental education, or community living is a bonus!
Volunteers will be provided with either a room in the lodge or a trailer. There is also plenty of room to camp if that is preferred. We provide all basic food. During programs, meals are shared, but during the off-season most meals are cook-for-yourself. There are also 1,138 acres to explore!
We are located outside of Goldendale, WA – a small, rural town with a population of around 3,000 - a 2.5 hour drive from Portland, OR. We are on the eastern edge of the Columbia River Gorge, which has vast trails, rivers and waterfalls galore, and extremely interesting climate variations. It’s beautiful here!
A note about the horses: we love to take our volunteers out on the trail when time and weather / ground conditions allow, but this may only be a couple times per month. Riding possibilities can be limited by conditions and program demands of the horses. But there are other ways to connect with horses that we may be able to facilitate as well.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
This host can provide space for campervans.
25 hours a week
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