“In January of 2009, I officially incorporated my first small business, Greener Living Inc., a company focused on natural and green building; home energy audits and weatherization; as well as an educational component of teaching workshops. The most significant event that led me to starting my own business involved the 11 week Natural Building Intensive program at Yestermorrow. There were many experiences during the course that seemed to prepare me for the next steps of becoming an entrepreneur. Most importantly, the training I received gave me the confidence that I could pursue natural building as a career. Secondly, I saw individuals pursuing their passions in sustainable ways, and making a good living. Thirdly, I now had more tangible experience and relevant references to present to potential clients. With a certificate from a reputable institution and instructors who could, and happily would, vouch for my experience, skill, and ability I felt much more confident in marketing myself.
I left Yestermorrow at the end of July 2008 with a renewed positivity that I could make a living doing what I love and that earning money didn't have to harm the environment. I felt more confident than ever that I possessed the skills and knowledge to provide valuable insight and quality work to my clients. Furthermore, I had gained more awareness of how to run a business from engaging in many conversations with the instructors of the program. Perhaps most of all, I simply felt inspired, positive, and full of energy to take action, whatever direction that might have been. ”
- Ben Griffin, NBI '08 graduate
“The challenge of reconciling and harmonizing our economic and environmental systems are the greatest challenge of our time. The very future of humanity will depend on the outcome. Yestermorrow's educational focus on connecting the natural and built environments in a design-build program is unique, necessary, timely, innovative, important and relevant to this outcome.”
- Stephen Kellert, Professor, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
“The strongest part was the actual construction phase of the project. These two weeks were the most valuable part of my architectural education so far, and a lot of it is because I was able to learn important design/build skills I never got in grad school.”
- Community Design/Build student
“I loved getting to work so closely with and learn from the instructors during the building process; I learned a huge amount from them not only through formal teaching but by observing them and the way they creatively solved each problem incredibly quickly. It was inspiring. ”
- Community Design/Build Student
“I enjoyed the course and my stay and would highly recommend it to anybody in the building industry!”
- Green Building Materials Student
“I’m impressed at what a pure experience this has been- people here- staff + interns + instructors- walk the walk. I have learned so much that they didn’t know they were teaching- things like not over-doing, not buying overly packaged goods, not needing everything to match. Foods were really healthy, things weren’t wasted, signs to recycle were friendly, not preachy. Regarding the class, the site was so valuable. I noticed that construction diagrams in books now have meaning- they seem functional, not just pictures. On a personal level, I really admired how the instructors managed the frustating moments. You all truly served each of us. Thank you. ”
- Home Design/Build Student
“This was a life-changing experience, and I’ll be back! Thank you. It was a great place to connect with really interesting people. A very inspirational experience.”
- Strawbale Design/Build Student
I would like for you and the folks at Yestermorrow to know that I have really gained a lot of very useful practical instruction and knowledge at my six classes working toward a certificate in Sustainable Design and Permaculture. I am especially impressed with the quality and preparedness of your instructors, and how much they pack into a short period of time. And unlike many University settings, my instructors have all had a wealth of experience beyond pure classroom teaching. Being a "hands on" person, I very much appreciate this. Furthermore, I would mention the fun and learning experience that comes from relating with the eager and serious students you attract. Also I congratulate your lovely staff for providing friendly and helpful "service with a smile". Please let my gratitude and appreciation be known for your school, which seems custom made for my situation as an older "student" who likes to be challenged in the classroom! Keep up the good work.
- Steve Lobb, CEO of Central Vermont Ecovillage
“When I read about Yestermorrow in the book "The House That Jill Built" I was intrigued. When I got your catalog I was ecstatic!!! A real live school that combined the concept of Design/Build as it should be. A school that is dedicated to sustainable building practices. I tried to find a similiar program closer to home or just as inclusive, but, with no success. I knew I had to go to your school and see if it was too good to be true. Your school did not disappoint me.
It is everything I imagined it would be. I was so exciting to be around people who believed and were living and practicing the sustainable design/build principle I have always believed in.
What I did take away from the class, besides knowledge, was an affirmation to keep trying in my own community to help make it a more "sustainable community". To make the education process FUN, not preachy. To show ,by example ,that practicing sustainable living practices isn't really all that hard. That it can be fun and can bring a community closer together.”
- Gloria Erickson, Strawbale Design/Build student
“Thank you for an excellent two weeks. I really enjoyed myself, learnt a lot, explored areas I hadn’t even considered earlier. My previous experience at Yestermorrow was extremely positive; this one surpassed it! I’ll most certainly be back.”
- Raising the Bar on Sustainable Design student
“Just thought I would share pictures of my building project along to you and the rest of the Yestermorrow folks. I feel like the poster child for Yestermorrow. I started with the Design/Build course last year, took the plumbing course, the electrical course, and the GC course. I am now, based on the designs I came up with in the design/build course, building it myself! I am almost winterized right now and will start slowly working on plumbing and electric over the winter and will hopefully be in the new house by next spring or early summer.
Thanks for everything you guys do. I couldn't even have begun to tackle this without Yestermorrow.”
- Matt Schrag
“My Home Design class at Yestermorrow last September was transformative. I left with something more intangible--and ultimately, more important--than technical knowledge; the experience put me back in touch with the creative part of myself, and reminded me that I need to honor it.”
- Carol Rosenfeld, Home Design student
“I wanted to say thank you for the scholarship that I was given which enabled me to attend the timberframing and strawbale building courses this past winter. I was thoroughly impressed with each course and set of instructors, as well as with the community of folks at Yestermorrow. ”
- 2008 Student
“I just completed the Mosaics workshop this past weekend and found it to be a terrific experience. Everything from the beautiful campus, yummy meals and amazing class participants. I learned a lot and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I will definitely be back for more classes in the future.
I left feeling totally energized and inspired. It just doesn't get any better than that!
Keep up the good work. You have an awesome school.
- Kathy Jackson, Mosaics student
“I honestly have no complaints and no recommendations for improvement. I don't know what could have been done better. I had a life-changing two weeks and wouldn't change anything about it. I will absolutely take another class at Yestermorrow. My only recommendation is that you expand the course offerings.”
- Anna Viets, Home Design/Build student
“The best part was interacting with the instructors on a face-to-face basis and having them know you as a person, not just a last name like other schools might. Also, the strong camaraderie present between all the students was great. Never have I had so much fun working on an assignment till the wee morning hours.”
- Home Design/Build student
“Overall definitely worth the time, money and 6 hour drive. Our class got along really well. I learned what I wanted to learn in class, got some useful experience and it fulfilled my expectations. The teachers were great - knowledgeable and laid back and allowed the class to make our own decisions, while still teaching. I easily could have done this class for a week and I'm sure I would have learned even more. I will definitely recommend Yestermorrow to others and I will be back someday.”
- Mike Coviello, Stone Masonry student
“This class was thoroughly enjoyable for me. We had two wonderful instructors, a varied bunch of interesting, motivated students...we learned something, we did something, we worked together and we had some fun. That was time well-spent. Thank you!”
- Anne Salemme, Stone Masonry student
“The strength of the class was the instructors, their knowledge, openness and excitement. The hands-on (or in our case, hands in) experience. We had just the right amount of theoretical information to be able to appreciate and understand the physical process.”
- William McGuire, Natural Plasters student
“When I came to this class, my biggest objective was to practice hands-on skills, and to get a feel for the materials. I was happy to find that this was also the strongest aspect of the course.
I'm sure that no matter what the course curriculum had been like, the instructors we had would make it worthwhile.”
- Natural Plasters student
“Your class was the springboard for one of the most valuable experiences of my life. Thank you.”
- Home Design/Build student
“This class epitomized what I look for in a great learning experience. It balanced design, technical aspects, physical work, and restful/contemplative time really well. Thea made lots of space for us to release stress, have fun and think creatively. She also motivated us gently when we had gotten off-track or were emotionally down. It's a rare teacher who can make her students feel good about themselves and their work even when the product of their work may have been disappointingly different from what they set out to do. ”
- Art of Stone student
“For me the surprise part of the experience was meeting the other students and faculty. Most everyone was very passionate about their area of study, and eager to talk about aspects of it. I was struck by the passion and open mindedness of the whole school.”
- Cabinets and Built-ins student
“What a great experience! I had very little exposure to these skills before the course, and my deck at home went from being a theoretical concept to a concrete project. The course blossomed my ability to look around me and perceive the options and ideas in the houses I see every day. ”
- Decks 101 student
“The Yestermorrow timberframing course was one of the richest and most fulfilling experiences of my life as a craftsman. My lengthy career as a public school construction trades teacher has kept me very busy developing the hands and hearts of others. The timberframing course was for me and I savored every moment of it. ”
- Timberframing student
“It really made so many flighty ideas become tangible in the most inspiring way.
- Adam Katzman, Constructed Wetlands student
“Being at Yestermorrow can literally rock your world. Everyone who works, learns, lives at the school is focused on making the world a better place and is somehow working toward a solution. Yestermorrow is all about the solutions, from the smallest to the grandest. It's everywhere around the rooms, on walls as well as in the walls. You can see the work, and feel the energy. People are working not just toward better gardens, buildings, or building techniques, but toward building a better community for the future.
It is a powerful experience. The three week schedule (of the Core course; Ecological Design in the Build Environment) is rather dense, but somehow the energy level of the teachers and all the students is so high that even during the last days of the final week when everyone is staying up all night to put finishing touch on their projects for final presentations, the whole room stays fired up. The students have let go of all the extraneous social conventions and mental blocks. This is all stripped by long hours as well as the common energy to work out the solution. The relations between students and instructors have become more like mentor- friends working together for a common cause.
After years spent in environments where the focus was mainly the accumulation of profit (with disregard to potential negative side effects to the community), coming to Yestermorrow has been like stepping on planet hearth for the first time, and meeting people that I could relate to and understand without lengthy explanations; learning with them the tools that will let the next generations have a place they can safely call home! I can't wait for my next Yestermorrow experience.”
- Serge Lazarev, Burlington VT