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The Sustainability Research and Education Project

Cultivating Symbiotic Relationships

Our mission is to cultivate symbiotic relationships between humans and ecosystems by improving quality of life through intelligent, ecological design. We work at home and abroad to learn and share knowledge of simple, sustainable practices through hands-on teaching, demonstrations, and educational experiences.

Since its inception, The Sustainability Project has envisioned, developed, and successfully established a wide variety of projects that actively demonstrate working modes of sustainability.

Broadened Horizons Hurricane Relief Project

Broadened HorizonsFrom October 2005 to May 2006, co-directors, Eric Conn, Katie Nixon, and Britt Walker held the collective vision to learn and share methods of sustainability from aboard their 30-foot demonstration vessel. This journey aboard the Broadened Horizons sailboat took them over 1,800 miles from Tennessee to the Bayous of Louisiana and back where they provided hurricane relief assistance and environmentally friendly solutions to rebuilding in disaster zones. They worked in areas as diverse as:

  • Demonstrating solar and wind technologies from aboard the Broadened Horizons Sailboat
    • Utilizing and acting as a working example of these technologies by generating electricity through solar panels and a wind generator
    • Creating heat and hot water through creative use of an efficient wood-stove
    • Cooking with the sun in a mobile, passive solar cooker

  • Coordinating and leading the revival of the Meg Parry Bioremediation and Community Garden in New Orleans
    • Learning and teaching methods of removing toxic ground contamination through bioremediation utilizing plants, fungi, and bacteria
    • Growing and providing organic produce to community members and several volunteer centers
    • Planting seeds in recycled water bottles for community distribution
    • Composting food scraps from volunteer centers to build healthy soils

  • Working in solidarity with Biloxi-Chitimacha and Pointe-au-Chien Native American tribes by:
    • Working with Indigenous leaders through their Tribal Council, Elder Committees, and their community members to determine proper courses of action,
    • Coordinating over 100 volunteers from across the nation into collective relief efforts,
    • Creating and coordinating a volunteer center with gravity-fed showers, composting toilets, and kitchen facilities, constructed from recycled materials,
    • Coordinating the kitchen and cooking for up to 80 volunteers at a time.

  • Sustainability SeedsGiving out hundreds of packets of organic vegetable, herb, and flower seeds to individuals and communities

  • Visiting numerous communities and organizations working on issues of sustainability

  • Volunteering to conduct a bioremediation project with Harmony House, a medicinal herb garden and community center in Gulfport, MS
    • Taking soil samples, analyzing results, and suggesting courses of action

Community Outreach and Education

Solar SustainabilityDuring the summer of 2006, the Sustainability Project focused on sharing their involvement in hurricane relief efforts through workshops and presentations.

  • Hosted 5 slideshow presentations with question and answer sessions, including a presentation at a high school in Logan, Utah.

  • Organized and taught a class on simple, sustainable ideas with which to retrofit the home.

  • Furthered the research and development of solar cooking techniques and solar cookers
    • Actively used the solar cookers for approximately 80% of personal cooking needs
    • Performed demonstrations and gave away free plans for solar cookers and solar water heaters at two WA state festivals

EarthKeeper Project on Broadened Horizons Farm

Broadened Horizons FarmCurrently, The Sustainability Project is working at our eastern campus on Broadened Horizons Farm with our partner organization, the EarthKeeper Project. Since October 2006, we have been assisting in the rehabilitation and restoration of approximately 15 acres of former cattle grazing land. We are bringing concepts of conservation and issues of sustainability to this rural area of eastern Tennessee thereby providing pioneer grounds for community awareness of environmental issues.

  • Helping to create the Sustainable Environmental Education Center

  • Reaching out to local communities through presentations and workshops

  • Garnering support from the local media

  • Building and demonstrating sustainable infrastructures throughout the farm
    • Composting toilets
    • Solar cookers

Upcoming Mexico Sustainability Project

From February to mid March, the Sustainability Project will travel overland, from Northern Mexico to the Yucatan Peninsula, visiting communities actively engaged in applied models of sustainability. Their mission is to establish a connection and meet with influential and motivated people and communities active in sustainability work. They propose to learn about and document these communities and the methods they have used that successfully incorporate ideals of environmental and cultural sustainability into their work and life.

While in Mexico, they will use two cameras and a recording device to conduct interviews. Upon returning to the U.S., they will integrate the audio and video footage into a creative documentary to be presented at sustainability events, schools, and other opportunistic locations. The purpose of this documentary is to raise awareness of sustainability projects happening in Mexico and to network resources between the U.S. and Mexico to further the vision of global, cooperative sustainability.

Read about the Sustainability Project's Documentary, "Local Motion: Mexican Communities on a Sustainable Track."


Britt Walker
Sustainability Research and Education Project
226 Rodgers Ln.
Rockwood, Tennessee 37854



A W.I.S.H. North America


A World Institute for a Sustainable Humanity