2016 AUTUMNAL EQUINOX GATHERING
La Terre Institute for Community and Ecology
22500 Rue La Terre Rd,, Kiln, MS 39556
The goals of La Terre Institute are to promote social and ecological regeneration, to help create a cooperative, non-dominating Earth community, and to eliminate the causes of regional and global ecological collapse. In pursuit of these ends, we sponsor courses, projects and events in New Orleans and on eighty-seven acres along Bayou La Terre, near Dedeaux, Mississippi. The practical focus of our work is the creation of communities rooted in personal and communal awakening, in practices of liberation and solidarity, and in an ethics of care for all beings. “La Terre” is a term that means both “the Earth” and “the Land.” La Terre Institute is motivated by love of the Earth, by love of the Land on which we live, and by the desire to understand both and to defend them. We see participation in the programs and activities of La Terre Institute not only as the development of useful knowledge and skills, but as an engaged practice of mindfulness and care for all beings and for the Land.
Saturday, September 24
9:30-10:30 Check-in time. Distribution of program materials.
10:30-11:00 Introduction to La Terre Institute for Community and Ecology (J. Clark)
11:00-Noon Finding Balance: Agroecology and a Different Way to Live (D. Hensley)
Noon-1:00 Break for lunch and discussion
1:00-4:00 Bioregional Assay Workshop: An Ecological Study of the Land (J. Inabinet)
4:00-5:00 Reconstructing Our Worldview Through Outdoor Education (B. Bullock & K. Ory)
5:00-6:00 Equinox Reflection Circle (All are asked to bring a brief text to read or thoughts to share that are relevant to the Equinox)
Evening Potluck dinner at the cabin and bonfire on the slope behind the cabin.
Participants are invited to camp overnight and stay Sunday
Sunday, September 25
All day Hikes on trails and along the creek
Work on trails and other projects
(Please read carefully if you plan to attend)
Registration for the Gathering
All participants in the gathering will be expected to pre-register as early as possible and by the day before the gathering at the latest. Participants will be expected to participate in the Saturday activities and are invited to camp and stay through Sunday afternoon. To pre-register please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and express your intention to participate. If you plan to camp, please bring camping gear. There will be limited space for a few people in the cabin.
Mindfulness & Care
The most useful guideline is to practice mindfulness and care while on the land. Please pay attention to all the beings and phenomena that you experience. Thich Nhat Hanh has said that “the miracle is to walk the Earth” (La Terre) and that “mindfulness is the miracle which can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life.” Cultivate the clarity of your own (that is, Nature’s) mind. Through our awakened presence on the land, we learn to appreciate, care for, and nurture its goodness, beauty, and creativity.
While walking, watch out for holes from rotted out trees. Be aware of occasional dead trees that might fall if disturbed. Watch out for slippery creek banks. Use the ropes on the trails up and down the creek banks. Be aware that the creek bed with clay deposits is often very slippery. Always look for poison ivy when walking in the woods. Be aware of ticks. Don’t get lost in the woods! Stay on the trails. If you get lost, notice the contour of the land. Hike down the slope of the land and follow the creek back to the cabin. Wear long pants and shoes, not sandals, when hiking in the woods. Drink water when hiking, especially in warm or hot weather. Water is available any time from the faucet in the middle of the field behind the main house, at the house, or at the end of the water line near the cabin. If you are sensitive to the sun, wear a hat and use sunscreen. Don’t litter, and be sure to pick up and dispose of any dropped objects or debris. Bring water and a flashlight on trails, along with your compass, if you have one. Snakes are seen, though relatively rarely. There are four kinds of poisonous snakes (including several varieties of some): water moccasin or cottonmouth, copperhead, rattlesnake, and coral snake. A chart of poisonous and other snakes can be found at the house.
Wildfire destroys wide swaths of forests and grasslands. The black stumps and scorched earth left by those fires are reminders that we should always follow basic fire safety when in the forest or on a grassland. Here are some of those basics: Scrape dead grass and other flammable materials away from campfire sites. Keep campfires small and under control. Keep a shovel and a water container nearby to douse escaped embers. Put campfires dead out before leaving your campsite or going to sleep. This requires adding water and stirring hot coals until they are cool to the touch. Do not park vehicles in tall dry grass, since hot tailpipes can cause dried fuels to catch on fire. Remember that any ignition (cigarettes, campfires, vehicles) could cause a fire.
Proper disposal of human waste is important to avoid pollution of water sources, avoid the negative implications of someone else finding it, minimize the possibility of spreading disease, and maximize the rate of decomposition. In most locations, burying human feces in the correct manner is the most effective method to meet these criteria. Catholes are the most widely accepted method of waste disposal. Locate catholes at least 200 feet (about 70 adult steps) from water, trails and camp. Select an inconspicuous site where other people will be unlikely to walk or camp. Try to find a site with deep organic soil, which contains organisms which will help decompose the feces. Choose an elevated site where water would not normally go during runoff or rain storms. Over time, the decomposing feces will percolate into the soil before reaching water sources. With a small garden trowel or camping shovel, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and 4-6 inches in diameter. The cathole should be covered and disguised with natural materials when finished. If camping with a large group, cathole sites should be widely dispersed.
Directions to La Terre Institute from New Orleans
1) Take I-10 East from New Orleans, through Slidell, continuing past the Mississippi state line.*
2) Get off at Exit 13 (Bay St. Louis-Kiln exit).
3) Turn north (left) on to Hwy. 603 North.
4) Continue north 9.6 miles, passing through Kiln to Rocky Hill-Dedeaux Road
5) Turn right on to Rocky Hill-Dedeaux Road (there is a large blue water tower on the right side of the road).
6) Continue for 4.7 miles to Rue La Terre Road.
7) Turn right on Rue La Terre Road and continue about .7 miles almost to the end of the road. The last two houses you will see on the left are a one-story brown house and a two-story blue house.
8) Please park in the front yard of the brown house (22500 Rue La Terre Road), which is the site of the La Terre Institute for Community and Ecology.
9) If you have any questions, please call John Clark at 504-920-6523. Please check before coming to Bayou La Terre or inviting anyone else to come, except in the case of events open to the general public.
10) If you do a search, use the address 22500 Rue La Terre Rd., Kiln, MS. Our actual location is ten miles from Kiln and about two miles from the small town of Dedeaux.
*If there are delays on I-10 past Slidell you can take I-59 North after Slidell to the Hwy 43 exit in Picayune, and then take Hwy.43 to Hwy. 603 North. Normally, continuing on I-10 is slightly faster.
La Terre Institute Site