The 2nd Ecological Restoration Summit at Diamond Mountain Retreat Center


in partnership with Borderlands Restoration Network and SkyHarvest 
Support the volunteers working onsite building the loose rock dams: click here

Encouraging the rainwater that falls in arid regions to stay on the land, soak into the earth and benefit the plants, animals, and people that co-habitat there.

This five-night residential experience includes healthy vegetarian food, lodging in unique eco cottages,  two presentations daily from expert speakers, plus optional yoga and meditation taught by Diamond Mountain Director Ven. Sunam, SkyHarvest Director Alix Rowland and Kat Ehrhorn, SkyHarvest Project Manager and Diamond Mountain Spiritual Caretaker. We encourage you to connect deeply with yourself while immersing in the land and sharing knowledge and caring with the other participants and facilitators.

The Spring is regenerated by the dams.

Meal time includes delicious healthy vegetarian meals and exchanging ideas with experts.

Presentations during the summit

When: Monday, September 2 – Saturday, September 7, 2024 (Monday being arrival day, and Saturday departure, summit days Tuesday till Friday, Too long? Day passes are also available!
Diamond Mountain Retreat Center, 3209 S Old Fort Bowie Rd, Bowie, AZ
What: 2 expert classes on ecological restoration per day, optional yoga and meditation, check out the speakers here

Ways to participate:

  • Option 1 – Free Volunteer  Track
    Four hours/day of strong hands on ecological restoration  plus educational presentations from experts, optional yoga and meditation.  Free pick up from Tucson Airport, food and shared lodging. Check out the daily schedule here

    • Tour/training for the erosion control structures
    • Repairing/building upon erosion control structures
    • Remove horehound from the riparian area
    • Strategically place seed balls where we removed horehound
    • Planting within/along the spring

Please sign up here and our volunteer coordinator will discuss all your questions and details of your stay. If you live outside the US, please be advised that B1/B2 visa is required when volunteering with us.


  • Option 2 –  Paid Track – Eco Retreat
    Ecological restoration education, fun interactive opportunities to participate in easy optional ecological restoration, expert classes, yoga, meditation, free time for personal retreat.
    Cost. Check out the daily schedule here  

    • Cost for 5 Days including a private Cottage and meals: $1,307
    • Cost for Day pass includes breakfast and lunch: $138

The Speakers

This summit is produced in cooperation by three non-profit organizations; Borderlands Restoration Network, Diamond Mountain Retreat Center, and SkyHarvest. Our goal is to educate, connect and provide resources to people wanting to restore arid lands around the globe starting locally in Arizona.

In case you want to listen to the expert classes from last year’s summit: Reshape the Earth


Native Plants, Crop Wild Relatives, and Wild Utilized Species: What Are They and Why Should We Care?

Perin McNelis Native Plant Program Manager, Borderlands Restoration Network

Borderlands Restoration Network’s Native Plant Program Manager, Perin McNelis, will discuss what a native plant is versus a crop wild relative, versus a wild utilized species, and make a case for why we should devote our collective effort towards the protection and conservation of all three.

Working the Landscape with Whatever Works

Josiah Austin Rancher, Ranch Land Conservationist

Josiah Austin is a local rancher for 40-some years, and he’s still here. He’s a firm believer in creatively working the landscape to establish and maintain a healthy ecosystem, and restoration is a large component. He’ll talk about how he started his stewardship with loose rock dams and swales and cement and stone, but basically it comes down to exploring whatever works.

Creating Instruments with Native Plants

Zach Farley MLA Masters in landscape architecture, PDC Permaculture designer with Geoff Lawton and the Sonoran Permaculture Guild, on humans and nature working together.

Zach will share the process of chosing material and creating an instrument from nature. Learn a new way of living in harmony wiht the land.

WILD Earthworks and Water Catchment

Rudy Poe MLA Masters in landscape architecture, PDC Permaculture designer with Geoff Lawton and the Sonoran Permaculture Guild, on humans and nature working together.

Rudy Poe is the Founder of Water Is Life Design (WILD), an ecological land design company focused on unlocking the greatest potential of ecosystem development and maintenance through the “harmonious integration of landscape and people” (Bill Millison). Rudy will introduce landowners to common sense techniques to become better stewards of their land. Whether developing raw land or retrofitting an existing site, Rudy will talk about regenerative site designs that are based on existing site features and natural systems, alongside the vision that the landowner has for the property. Then he’ll talk about how to promote the health of the watershed through earthwork features that slow and direct waterflow, as well as soil health and fertility with techniques such as mulching, native seeding, rotational grazing, and plant guilds. “What we design is not complicated, it’s common sense.

Where are we, and how the Sam Hill can any plants live here?

Jim Koweek Author and revegitation specialist

An introduction to Southeastern Arizona featuring unique stories of plant survival. For over 40 years Jim has worked with plants, seed, rocks, and dirt in Southeast Arizona. Results are not always pretty. In addition to running his business, Arizona Revegetation & Monitoring Co, he is the author of 3 books: Just Add Water, Grassland Plant ID for Everyone – Except Folks That Take Boring Technical Stuff Too Seriously, and Sonoran Desert Plant ID For Everyone. When not working, Jim can be found playing mandolin at local watering holes in Sonoita and Patagonia, AZ

Restoration challenges and successes in the southwestern US

Elise S. Gornish Cooperative Extension Specialist in Ecological Restoration The University of Arizona, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

A discussion of some of the major challenges associated with southwestern ecological restoration and new approaches to address these challenges.


Pollinator Corridors in the Madrean Archipelago

Francesca Claverie Native Plant Program Director, Borderlands Restoration Network

Borderlands Restoration Network is working for the next two years on the project Expanding Seed Sources and Creating Pollinator Corridors in the Madrean Archipelago. The project will improve the habitat for the endangered monarch butterfly along its migratory route through the Arizona/Sonora borderlands. This two-year project establishes a one-acre milkweed seed amplification plot at the Borderlands Restoration Farm, restores milkweed and pollinator nectar species at the Borderlands Wildlife Preserve, and engages the community in milkweed for monarch butterfly restoration through free workshops, hikes, and volunteer opportunities.

Ecological Restoration in the Semi-Arid Southwest: Soil Amendments & Soil Carbon

Ariel Léger CART Co-Principal Investigator, Researcher III – University of Arizona

Ariel will talk about their research and experience with ecological restoration using soil amendments in Arizona, and implications for soil carbon. The presentation will share promising techniques for restoration, such as the use of branch mulch, as well as discussions of soil carbon dynamics in the semi-arid southwest, soil carbon sequestration, and carbon markets.

Monday, September 2

  • 1-5pm arrival & check-in, buffet

Tuesday, September 3 – Friday, September 6

  • 6am Breakfast
  • 6:30 – 10:30 hands on ecological restoration for volunteers or ecological restoration education, fun interactive opportunities to participate in easy optional ecological restoration for Eco-Retreaters
  • 11:30 lunch and take-out dinner
  • 12:15 – 2:15pm 2 expert classes on ecological restoration per day, optional yoga and meditation, check out the speakers here
  • 2:15-5pm Rest, nap, relax
  • 5pm Yoga
  • 6pm Meditation & Talk
  • 6:30pm Call it a day

Saturday, September 7

  • 8am Breakfast
  • 9am Departure