Our Mission

The Harrison House Arts & Ecology Center is dedicated to the practice and teaching of drylands permaculture and to providing a place for artists to explore the intersection of art and ecology.


WARREN BRUSH, lead instructor, is a global resilience design consultant, educator, lecturer, and storyteller. He has worked for over 30 years in acroecological education and regenerative system design for communities, organizations, households, farms, and conservation properties worldwide. He is co-founder of Quail Springs Permaculture, Wilderness Youth Project, True Nature Design Consulting and is an advisor for the Permaculture Researching Institute of Kenya.

LINDSAY ALLEN is an Instructor at Quail Springs Permaculture. She is a farmer, educator and activist and has been farming for the past 11 years and currently works with Higher Ground Farms as the Operations Director and as the Farm Manager of the 7,000 foot Rooftop Farm at Boston Medical Center.

TIM DELOREY is a highly published research scientist who explores the “Natural Intelligence” expressed within the working of the human “being” as well as through one’s relationship with the Nature. Tim has been a permaculturist for the past six years and is regularly involved in designing permaculture initiatives. He is also a longtime member of the Transition Town Initiative in Joshua Tree (TJT).

NICHOLAS HOLMES is an ecological designer-builder and educator based in Joshua Tree since 2006. Nicholas runs his own design-build company, Holmes Ecological Design & Construction and is the owner-operator at Solstice Eco Building Supply. He’s completed training in rainwater harvesting systems design & construction with the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association, and is a certified Greywater Installer though Greywater Action.

BRENTON KELLY has served on the Board of Directors of Quail Springs Permaculture as Treasurer and is the bookkeeper for the farm. He brings to his teaching over 30 years of experience in soil building, gardening, non-toxic land management and animal husbandry.

ROBIN KOBALY is the Executive Director of the SummerTree Institute. She has served as both United States Bureau of Land Management District Botanist for the California Desert District and Preserve Manager at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. A professional biologist with over 20 years of experience as an interpretive specialist Robin designs and presents award winning events and programs for adults and children.

DAMIAN LESTER is the Permaculture Designer at Harrison House Music, Arts & Ecology. After receiving his PDC, Damian has continued his studies with a focus on drylands orientation: learning about desert plants, native cultures of the region desertification, rainwater harvesting, and water issues in general. Damian practices permaculture design at Opuntia Garden Farm with his wife Maya Toccata.

SASHA RABIN is the natural building and advocacy director at Quail Springs Permaculture. She also runs her own natural building organization, Earthen Shelter. Although she enjoys the act of building, her true passions lie in the teaching and sharing of natural building with others.

MAYA TOCCATA has been in love with permaculture since the early 2000s when she watched a screening of Bill Mollison’s Global Gardener. She is a certified permaculture designer (OSU, PINA), and has been working with her husband, Damian Lester, on developing their own desert permaculture site here in Joshua Tree. She is especially passionate about social permaculture and ways in which it can support children and families in our community.

KENNEDY VERRETT is the Harrison House composing fellow 2021-22 and an innovative multi-instrumentalist and music educator whose compositional vocabulary blends an array of genres and philosophy. Kennedy is currently working on a site-specific sonic experience to be performed in Joshua Tree National Park.

MARK WHEELER is a naturalist and expert hiking guide. He was president of the Joshua Tree National Park Association. Other work has included taking behaviorally-challenged students on month-long wilderness adventure travel excursions to learn decision-making, anger management, and other hard and soft skills. Mark is currently on the board of advisors for the Morongo Basin Conservation Association.

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Growing Food, conserving water and climate change are subjects that many of us have thought about this past year as we’ve had to consider how to sustain ourselves.

To delve more deeply into these areas join us for a dynamic weekend at the Harrison House Music, Arts and Ecology center March 19-21 on an introductory learning journey into the heart of the many facets of permaculture. This course will be led by international permaculture educator, designer and storyteller, Warren Brush. Cost is $200 (early bird until February 19).

A full Permaculture Design Certification Course (PDC) will be offered May 15-28 facilitated by Brush along with a team of local and international specialists.

These courses will be held out-of-doors, socially distanced with strict COVID protocols in place. In the event that we must cancel full refunds will be given.

For more details, contact


“I had the chance to study Permaculture under Warren Brush in Joshua Tree at the Harrison House. What an incredible opportunity, and one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. As humans we can play an important role in nature by designing regenerative systems that nourish us and improve the environment and our communities. That’s what I want to do.”
– Justin Moore

“I’ve taken a number of PDC’s and permaculture related workshops over the years. This was one of the most powerful.”
– Jill Giegerich

“I am still reveling in the wonderment of the past two weeks. Warren’s special way of teaching will stay with me forever.”
– Julia Ehret

To learn permaculture is to become literate with the art (patterns) of nature and as humans to learn to live more regeneratively within her systems.”
– Eva Soltes, Founder/Director

Our Commitments & Projects

We are committed to practicing & teaching accessible home-scale solutions for:
– Sustainable water usage
– Local food production
– Building soil fertility and sequestering carbon

Our current projects include: 

– Rainwater-harvesting earthworks to support native trees for food, shade &
wind protection
– Rooftop-rainwater-harvesting systems
– Greywater-fed “oasis zones” for fruit production
– Soil regeneration
– Propagation of edible and medicinal native plant species
– Water-efficient vegetable gardening systems
– Growing the local culture of ecological awareness and stewardship
– Arts and Environment residencies and volunteer programs