rain garden

Carpinteria Valley Water District Rainwater Harvesting Demonstration Garden- Earthworks Workshop Saturday September 10

Sweetwater Collaborative will lead the effort to put in a rainwater harvesting demonstration garden at the Carpinteria Valley Water District this fall. We will start with a community hands-on workshop creating the earthworks for this project, on Saturday, September 10, 10:00 AM- 3:00 PM. Register now

Come be a part of something bigger, shape the earth to harvest water to build rich soil and nourish a water wise garden, at the Carpinteria Valley Water District offices.   Water that falls on the roofs near the front of the offices, on Santa Ynez Ave, will be directed from downspouts into channels and basins that will form the foundation of a beautiful rain garden.

This workshop is free to participants; we ask that you sign up online so we have a good head count. Snacks, a light lunch, drinks, and many tools will be provided. Please bring your pointed shovels, picks and trowels to help with the effort.  This will be a social work party that you'll walk away from with ideas and some real skills to implement in your own landscape. Register now

Many hands make light work           Shaping a basin

An Alfresco Anapamu Adventure, Sat August 13, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM

Help to create a new path for rainwater into a front yard that will become a place of adventure for bees, and butterflies.. This hands-on workshop will be the beginning of the whole landscape transformation into a water wise cottage garden. This workshop is full. you can Register here for the waitlist if you are interested. 
We'll redirect rainwater from two downspouts into two mulch basins and create berms, which together will form the foundation of the rain garden to come. The August 13 workshop will focus on the earthworks and downspouts. Later this fall we will have another hands-on workshop to plant the pollinator-friendly native plants. Join us and be part of an outdoor adventure in water wise practices.


Little Creekbed, Big Mountain, Many Plants Workshop, Sat Feb 27, 10am-3pm

Tucked into a hillside behind the Botanic Garden, our workshop hosts' home was rebuilt after the Jesusita Fire. We'll help with new landscaping to prevent erosion and run-off while creating peace and beauty- a delightful little creekbed next to a big mountain (OK it's a hill...)  Register Now.

There'll be lots of different tasks in this workshop-- we'll carve a creekbed, lay rock accents along it, and fill all sides with drought tolerant grasses and shrubs.  The planting scheme is a blend of shapes and colors; we'll be creating beauty as well as utility.

Foundation digging of the creekbed will be done ahead of time, so workshop participants can focus on fine tuning the earthworks, rock work, and planting.  Register now to secure your spot!

This will be a learning through doing workshop, with additional educational points reviewed during the break and lunch. If you want to learn more about rainwater harvesting in the soil, please come to our Rainwater Harvesting 101 class on Thursday, March 3 from 7:00-8:30PM at the Goleta Community Center- just a few days after this workshop!  Check our website for more details about the class.

See you on Saturday, February 27 for a delightful day in the foothills of Santa Barbara, making beauty happen, together.

Rainwater Harvesting 101 class, Tues March 5, 6:30-8:00 PM, Louise Lowry Davis Center, rain or shine

Interested in building healthy soil while getting your plants the water they need? Join us for Rainwater Harvesting 101 and get an overview of the concepts, design, and best practices for rainwater harvesting in the soil and in tanks. Register now.

Rainwater harvesting, building a healthy soil sponge and carbon sequestration are all strategies that work together and are part of the Sweetwater model. These practices help to build resilience to fires and other climate disruptions in our local community. Rainwater harvesting earthworks can also reduce flooding.
This class is sponsored in part by the City of Santa Barbara Water Conservation Program.
A Powerpoint of approximately 45 minutes will begin each class with the remainder of the time taken up by individual questions or additional information presented by Sweetwater personnel if there are no particular questions.

Let's Make A Berry Nice Yard, Sat Jan 23 split shift workshop, still a couple spots left in the early shift

Sweetwater is at it again-- creating a food forest where there was a brown lawn. This one will have lots of berries- blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries, as well as artichokes, drought tolerant fruit trees, and natives to call in the pollinators.  Join our hands-on workshop on Sat Jan 23 in north Goleta - there's still room in the early shift- 8:30-11:30 AM.


tree planting at a Sweetwater workshop

A lot of the foundation digging of mulch basins (i.e.the hard stuff) will be done ahead of time so participants can get experience with the fine tuning that helps the water to flow where we want it to. This is rainwater harvesting at its best. 

This will be a learning through doing workshop, with additional educational points reviewed during the break and lunch. If you want to get more of an overview of rainwater harvesting in the soil, or food forests, please see (click "Read more" to finish this sentence)

Technical Round Table for Landscape Professionals Mon Sept 14

Sweetwater Collaborative presents

The first in a series of Technical Round Tables
for Landscape Professionals

Monday, September 14, 2015     

7:00-8:30 PM 

Watershed Resource Center, 2981 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara, 93109, at Hendry's (Arroyo Burro) Beach

$10 payable at the door in cash or check

Stormwater management through rainwater harvesting mulch basins: an innovative approach to compliance and keeping stormwater on site.

Best practices for mulch basin and rain garden architecture in our climate.  


Examples of mulch basin construction in various stages of installation:

pebbles to mulch basinsmeasuring slope with a bunyipcascading basinsmulch basin and flagstonemulch basins in DG

Join us and other colleagues to learn more about rainwater harvesting and work together to create the highest standards of beauty and functionality for water-wise landscapes in our Mediterranean climate.


For more information, visit www.SweetwaterCollaborative.org, email info@SweetwaterCollaborative.org, or call Barbara Wishingrad at 805-403-4566.


Booksigning and Evening Talk with Brad Lancaster on Tuesday June 25

Santa Barbara Permaculture Network & Sweetwater Collaborative Present:

 Booksigning & Evening Talk with
Brad Lancaster
Brad Lancaster, rainwater harvesting, raingarden, earthworks, Santa Barbara 
author of 
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands
Turning Water Scarcity into Water Abundance; Vol.1, 2nd Edition 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
7:30 pm, $5 donation 
Santa Barbara Central Library, Faulkner Gallery

Rainwater Harvesting expert Brad Lancaster returns to Santa Barbara with his newly published 2nd Edition of his award winning, best selling book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands; Turning Water Scarcity into Water Abundance, Vol. 1, 2nd Edition on Tuesday, June 25.

Brad's books have always encouraged readers to turn water scarcity into water abundance by welcoming rain into our lives, landscapes and soils.  In this newly updated 2nd edition, Brad updates real life case studies for harvesting rainwater, completely renovates the approach to seeing & understanding sediment flows, and adds more tools for harvesting rainwater and other often overlooked free on-site resources, such as wind, sun, and shade. 

Rainwater harvesting is the process of capturing rain and making the most of it as close as possible to where it falls.  By harvesting rainwater on the land within the soil and vegetation, or in cisterns that will later irrigate the land, it is possible to control erosion, reduce flooding, and minimize water pollution.  This practice is enormously beneficial in a world with a finite supply of fresh water that is becoming increasingly polluted.

Although rainwater harvesting has been accomplished by humans in virtually every drought vulnerable region of the world for millennia, our society, until very recently with the help of people like Brad Lancaster, seemed to have a collective amnesia about the utility, efficiency, and beauty of rainwater harvesting practices. 

Brad Lancaster is an author, permaculture teacher, designer & consultant, and co-founder of Desert Harvesters (DesertHarvesters.org). Brad has taught programs for the ECOSA Institute, Columbia University, University of Arizona, Prescott College, Audubon Expeditions, and many others. He has helped design integrated water harvesting and permaculture systems for homeowners and gardeners, including the Tucson Audubon Simpson Farm restoration site; the Milagro & Stone Curves co-housing projects.  Brad lives on an eighth of an acre in downtown Tucson, Arizona, where annual rainfall is less than 12 inches. He practices what he preaches by harvesting over 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year, and with his brother Rodd, have created an oasis in the desert by directing harvested rainwater into a thriving landscape that includes abundant gardens, food bearing trees, and habitat for wildlife, instead of into the streets and storm drains of Tucson.

The evening talk & book signing takes place at the Santa Barbara Central Library, Faulkner Gallery, 40 East Anapamu St, SB, 93101, in downtown Santa Barbara, on Tuesday, June 25, 7:30-9pm. $5 donation, no reservations required.  Co-sponsored by Santa Barbara Permaculture Network & Sweetwater Collaborative.   For more information, please call (805) 962-2571, margie@sbpermaculture.org.

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