Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont offers over 80 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design. Now in its 35th year, Yestermorrow is one of the only design/build schools in the country, teaching both design and construction skills. Our hands-on 1-day to 3-week workshops, certificate programs and semester programs are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Doing Good In and Out of the Classroom/Studio/Shop

One of Yestermorrow's great strengths is our steadfast commitment to community exemplified by our own work in the Mad River Valley and by our courses in responsible community development and design. There is no true measure for the impact of these activities, but one indication that what we are doing is being noticed are mentions of our work and actions in The Valley Reporter--our Valley's weekly paper (

And this week was a big one for Yestermorrow:

Page 6: Article on Yestermorrow's new catalog for spring/summer classes

Page 11: Nearly full-page coverage with one article on taking personal responsibility for your carbon footprint and another on the actions of the Mad River Valley Carbon Shredders in putting forth climate change resolutions in 3 out of the 4 Valley towns in preparation for town meeting day. The Carbon Shredders were brought together by a team of folks from 7th Generation, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and Yestermorrow. The Carbon Shredders use Yestermorrow as their clubhouse.

Page 12: Covers the recent developments regarding the purchase and conservation of the Kingsbury Farm. Here again, Yestermorrow was involved and we have provided meeting space for the steering committee and are currently managing the farm property until suitable buyer or buyers can be located (

Page 14: Has a full page spread on the Souper Bowl which was a fundraising event for the Mad River Valley Localvore Project. If you look close on the page you can see a picture of Yestermorrow's own Dan Eckstein. Kate Stephenson is very active in the group and they frequently use our conference room for meetings (

We do all of this because we believe in what we teach at Yestermorrow and we hope that others will follow these examples and undertake similar efforts in their own backyards.

Good luck on your efforts!

Bob Ferris

Friday, January 11, 2008

Doing Good in the Dominican Republic

This 17-day design/build adventure is focusing on a rural community project for the Women's Club of the Future of El Rincon. The Women's Club is dedicated to strengthening their community by creating opportunities for their residents, especially their young adults. Their projects include utilizing the nearby Laguna Del Diablo as a guided tourist hike through steep mountain farmland offering an experience of rural Dominican culture. They also offer public sewing machines (with instruction), and rainwater harvesting for public use.

The class project is to create a gathering area where both the local community and a burgeoning eco-tourist community can congregate. The design challenge is to make the site inviting for tourist vehicles that pass by on their way to famously beautiful Rincon Beach, as well as create a shaded public place for the residents of El Rincon. The site is in the middle of the small village.

See pictures of the class in action, and read more about the impact the class is having

Friday, January 04, 2008

Moving forward

As planet earth begins a new rotation, and the calendar signifies a new year, my thoughts naturally turn to the lengthening days ahead, despite the bitter cold temperatures that seem to have frozen everything, including time, in place.

A new year means many things. Resolutions. Tax time. Time for change. Fresh starts. Personal reflection. Opportunity for growth.

It seems that I'm not the only one looking ahead. The phone here at Yestermorrow has been ringing non-stop. Our new Spring/Summer '08 Course Catalog has just been sent out and posted on our website. Late winter and early spring is a great time to dig into oneself: learn a new skill or hone an old one; push a boundary or comfort zone; or turn a dream into a reality.

Yestermorrow is stretching its wings as well. Out of our 79 courses for the '08 Spring/Summer Semester, 14 of them are new, including Ecological Water Systems, Deconstruction and Material Re-Use, and Designing Small Living Spaces. We constantly make efforts to improve our offerings and respond to the learning needs of our students. As our mission says, we strive to inspire people to create a better, more sustainable world.

Like I've said here before, change is good. Each one of us has a fresh opportunity to change our world and make it a better place, and make ourselves better along the way. Happy New Year and Carpe Diem!