Realizing Earthfire’s
Permaculture Vision

“And the prevailing winds in the valley come from the southwest; in the spring the snow from the fierce winter storms are released from the high mountain peaks to water renewed life…”

We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary with the launch of a property-wide master plan that includes regenerative agriculture, innovative new enclosures and gardens for our animals residents, and expanded rehabilitation facilities.

Considering the ongoing global reduction in wildland preservation and increasing animal extinction rates, we’ve resolved to broaden EFI’s outreach locally, nationally, and internationally through the launch of four key initiatives. Our top priority is the renovation of the site’s animal facilities, outdoor animal gardens, and pasture, starting with implementing permaculture principles that include regenerative agriculture practices.

Permaculture is a holistic approach to land use that is particularly relevant today. It works with natural cycles and is respectful of flora and fauna, seasonal changes, water usage, and maintenance. We’ve hired Kareen Erbe, owner and founder of Broken Ground, to lead the property enrichment project.

“This is an exciting project in so many ways,” says Kareen. “I haven’t worked on a permaculture design that has wild animals at the center of the project. It’s an opportunity for innovative ideas to surface and has already been a wonderful learning experience.”

Earthfire has also hired Steve Hill, owner of Green Animal Solutions and an expert in animal enclosure design, to provide direction on rebuilding the wild residents’ living quarters and outdoor gardens with a special focus on enrichment of their daily lives. Hill is based in the United Kingdom, but had the opportunity to travel to Earthfire for a five-day site inspection last fall. He was astounded by the wild beauty of Teton Valley.

“The natural surroundings are so inspiring, which definitely impacts the scale of the amenities I’m recommending in my designs,” says Hill, who is connecting remotely from across the pond with Earthfire and Kareen.

We anticipate completion of the project within five years with the most essential portions⁠—permaculture, animal habitats, and infrastructure improvements⁠—wrapped up in three years. It’s a significant investment with an end goal of increased comfort for the animals, expanded rehabilitation capacity, and infrastructure to make the sanctuary more accessible for customized visits and retreats.

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We’re incredibly grateful for all donations that have made it possible for us to embrace this plan for the future. It’s reassuring to know that there are so many people with the heart and charitable means to support our efforts on behalf of all beings.

The Institute has received a major catalytic contribution in addition to a range of gifts from many steadfast supporters. The projected cost for completion of the master-plan key initiatives will require an additional $4 million.

“We’re looking forward to a future of reliable sustainability and long, healthy lives for the animals under our care. Above all, we aspire to spur action that better serves our natural world. Our very lives depend on it,” says Executive Director, Susan Eirich..

“Is it not possible that a place could have huge affection for those who dwell there? Perhaps your place loves having you there…could it be possible that it could sense your presence and feel the care you extend towards it?” – John O’Donohue


Earthfire depends on your support to make our work possible.

Header image by Ledy X/

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