New Website

Thanks for visiting Turkey Tail Permaculture.  You can find my work now primarily at www.connorstedman.com.


Last week, myself, Benneth Phelps, and Ethan Roland attended Young Farmers Conference 2009 at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in White Plains, NY.  There were HUNDREDS of inspiring young farmers and action-oriented food/agriculture folks there – an incredible collection of bright minds.

I want to pass on several great nuggets from this conference.

1. I presented on Tree Crops and Agroforestry to a full room of folks Thursday afternoon.  This was a high-energy presentation with lots of storytelling and nature connection elements.  Stone Barns recorded the audio, which will be up on the web sometime in the future; for now, here’s my slideshow (from SlideShare):

2. Ethan Roland gave a powerful presentation on Ecosystem Investing.  What could happen if we apply systems thinking and permaculture design principles to our financial ecosystems?  Lots of cutting-edge thinking here.  View Ecosystem Investing and other conference materials here,including Benneth and Ethan’s GREAT presentation “Permaculture for Farmers.”

3. Wes Jackson of the Land Institute gave the keynote address.  His mission is to perennialize grain agriculture.  Annual grain crops represent one of the greatest threats to the planet, owing to massive soil erosion, water pollution, carbon emissions, and replacement of local ecosystems, economies, and culture with export-crop monocultures.  Annual grains are also, of course, the primary means by which most people in the world eat.

This is a problem!  And Wes Jackson has identified a very promising leverage point, and laid out a possible pathway for large scale soil-repairing, watershed-repairing, carbon-negative agriculture in the US.

4.  A lot more.  Stay tuned for more paradigm-shifting insights from this conference.  In fact, leave a comment and let me know what you’d like to read more about!

Monday Night Tidbits

1. I saw this short but pretty incredible article about “Forest Kindergarten”, a nature education practice form Europe starting to gain some headway in the US.  What’s incredible is not so much the content, which is what the nature-based education and Art of Mentoring movements have been doing with consistently amazing results for 25+ years, but that it’s in the New York Times!

2. Later this week I’m presenting on tree crops and agroforestry at the Young Farmers Conference north of New York City.  Should be an incredible event, with a keynote from Wes Jackson of the Land Institute!  I’ll post my slideshow as well as observations and key learnings from the conference as a whole afterwards.

Photos from the last two weeks of Eyes of the Forest.  Enjoy!

A beautiful track photo by Chris Landry.  Who made this track?  Front or hind foot?  How about left or right?

Joshua under a very unusual tree to find in the pine barrens.  What is this tree?  What does its presence indicate?

And, finally, it must be Santa.  What is that on Chris’s face?  What conditions does it indicate?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



This is my mentor Jon Young speaking about bird language:


The spring session of Eyes of the Forest will be an intensive study in bird language.  We are also in the early stages of planning a 3- or 4-day advanced bird language course in the Northeast US for spring 2010.

A lot happening on the bird language front these days!

We had a FANTASTIC Eyes of the Forest day trailing in the Montague Plains this past Wednesday!

I’m on a really slow internet connection right now, so photos will have to wait. But a quick summary:

–We learned San Bushman trailing form, through Adriaan Louw’s work as a Cybertracker trailing evaluator. We trailed deer, coyote, and human.

–We got a lot of really cool comparisons between coyote and domestic dog, both in scat and tracks.  There are a LOT of domestic dogs in the Plains during pheasant season, so when we picked up a pretty fresh coyote trail it was easy to compare.  We even saw the 4-print “squat signature” right around our coyote scat – first time any of us have seen this in non-snow conditions!

–We had an intro to bird language session and did our first bird sit.  A winter flock of chickadees spent some time in our area, reacting to our presence with mild agitation/curiosity but mostly feeding with flock calls, and then dispersing.

–We found some individuals of a very surprising mystery tree species, which I’ll post a photo of when I have a faster connection.

All in all a wonderful session!

Eyes of the Forest is now enrolling for our winter season, beginning in late January.  Email me for dates and further information.

My friend and fellow Gaia University associate Kyle Thierrman created this 4-minute movie on how you can use your choice of banking institution as a leverage point for global change and relocalized economies.

Bottom line: local banks invest in local businesses and the needs of local communities.  Large national and international banks invest in proportionally larger projects, including many with hugely damaging consequences for the planet and for communities.  Your deposits are leveraged up to 10x their dollar amount in lending power because of basic federal regulations on how banks make loans.  Watch the movie and switch if you can to a local bank!