On our first morning there, and all subsequent mornings, Tabitha played a few notes on her violin to wake us up (in lieu of a loud, harsh alarm clock), which is when we realized how serious these incredible women are about treading gently on the earth. Really – everything about this project was sustainable. In addition to sourcing their materials responsibly, many of the power tools were charged using a single solar panel that performed pretty well despite the inclement weather, we all ate delicious vegetarian meals (for which some of the food was brought in from local gardens) three times a day, our organic waste was left in a compost heap dug at the site, and all other waste was set aside for recycling. We even had a green-roofed compost toilet on site (designed earlier by Jenny).
Each of the projects created on the trip was unique. Wanting to power something musical using water from an on-site stream, one group designed the “Piddle Paddle Plonk” – a series of five wooden “dongers” attached to a water wheel. They created a flume using a hollowed out log from the site, which funneled water to the wheel. Not satisfied with the lovely clapping sound the water made when it hit the wheel’s wooden flaps, the team added five tiny logs that were also slightly carved out and hung from the axis, where they were lined up with the “dongers” to produce musical notes.