BioChar Burn Workshop

Conservation Burn and Biochar Workshops

February 13, 2015 @ 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Circle Bar Ranch
$45 morning only/$75 full day
Conservation Burn and Biochar Workshops @ Circle Bar Ranch

Cosponsored by the Sonoma Ecology Center and the Sonoma Resource Conservation District

 These workshops feature both hands-on, in-the-field training and a classroom style component.

The morning classroom session (8 A.M. to 11 A.M) will focus on biochar itself, including why it works to improve soil, the benefits of using it in both animal and plant agriculture, how to properly condition it prior to use, and how to apply it. Conservation burn theory and methodology will also be covered, including the scientific theory behind the process, safety and permitting considerations, pile construction, burn management, and maximizing production of biochar.

The late morning/early afternoon session (11:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M.) will include hands-on field training using several large piles of vines and vine trimmings.

A portion of the proceeds will support programs at both the Sonoma Biochar Initiative and the Sonoma Ecology Center. Please bring a bag lunch and a water container if you are staying for the whole day. Coffee and water will be available. Following the afternoon session we will be holding a networking social hour, featuring local wine, from 3:30 P.M. to 4:30 P.M.

By replacing conventional open burn methods with the conservation burn you can significantly reduce emissions (visible smoke and invisible chemicals and particles) from agricultural burns in your community and conserve resources, especially carbon. You will also learn how to produce biochar, a valuable soil amendment, in the process.

Who should attend: 

Anyone with wood or brush surplus who normally does an open burn, or who is interested in biochar, such as:

  • Vineyard, orchard and row crop managers                           
  • Land managers               
  • Students                             
  • Ecologists  
  • Forestry and tree contractors              
  • Fire Service Personnel

Conservation burn participants that wish to help should come ready to do some physical labor to help construct, ignite and manage the burn piles and help with fire safety. Please bring work gloves, eye cover, and heavy boots to the workshop if you wish to participate. 

The morning classroom session costs $45. The full-day training, including hands-on, in-the-field experience, is $75.

Instructor and biochar expert Peter Hirst has been an energy and natural resources professional for over 30 years, most recently as owner of New England Biochar, LLC at NEB partner Bob Wells’ Redberry Farm on Cape Cod. Peter has consulted and presented in lecture form and hands-on demonstrations of biochar production, testing and application all over the country, and has trained growers, vintners and California State Parks forestry personnel in producing biochar from clean open burn methods.

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