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Biochar/Conservation Burn Workshop and Training at Circle Bar Ranch
Circle Bar Ranch
Sonoma, CA
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Biochar/Conservation Burn Workshop and Training at Circle Bar Ranch
The Sonoma Biochar Initiative is pleased to announce a second Biochar and Conservation Burn Workshop and Training, featuring instructor Peter Hirst, that will be held from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. on Friday March 21st at Circle Bar Ranch south of the town of Sonoma.

By replacing conventional open burn methods with the conservation burn you can radically 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.

Biochar, made when biomass (such as vineyard or orchard clippings) is heated at high temperature in a low-oxygen environment, has been under serious, worldwide study over the last 7 years as a soil amendment.  Biochar has been shown to increase soil tilth, cation exchange capacity, and plant production, and its highly porous structure and adsorption characteristics act as microscopic holding cells for nutrients, moisture, and beneficial microorganisms.

The workshop features both hands-on, in-the-field training and a classroom style component.  

The morning session will focus on the conservation burn technique, and include both classroom and hands-on field training that will include the scientific theory behind the process, safety and permitting considerations, pile construction, burn management, and maximizing production of biochar.

The afternoon session 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.

A portion of the proceeds will support programs at both the Sonoma Biochar Initiative and the Sonoma Ecology Center. Please bring a bag lunch if you are staying for the whole day.  We will be holding a networking social hour following the afternoon session.

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              
Forestry and tree contractors              
Fire Service Personnel

And anyone interested in learning more about biochar, a remarkable soil amendment that helps to sequester carbon.  

Morning attendees who want to participate should come ready to do some physical labor to help construct, ignite, and burn piles, and to help with fire safety. Please bring work gloves, eye cover, and boots to the workshop.                                                      

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 cleaner open burn methods.

He is a board member of the Sonoma Biochar Initiative, founding President and Director of the Northeast Biochar Association, Inc, a plenary presenter at fUS Biochar Initiative 2012 National Conference, and a principal presenter for the 2013 North American Biochar Symposium. Peter is a co-author of The Biochar Revolution, providing chapters on community development and farm-scale biochar production, and is working on a new book, Biochar from the Ground Up. A new resident of Valley Ford, he is opening the West Coast office of New England Biochar and managing operations at Swallow Valley Farm, location of the Sonoma County Biochar Project. More on Peter Hirst: New England Biochar, LLC.


Circle Bar Ranch (View)
25700 Arnold Dr.
Sonoma, CA 95476
United States


Education > Workshops
Other > Fundraisers

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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