SEE seeks to empower children and adults of the Colorado Springs area to be household, community and environmental stewards and responsible community members through hands-on learning opportunities. SEE provides education and demonstrations of local food production and preservation, ecosystems and whole system design, industrial and traditional arts, and sustainable habitations.
We envision a thriving community of people who seek knowledge and understanding. In this community, we live more harmoniously with the natural world and with each other. Our work is with the land, not on the land. SEE practices regenerative agriculture, and aims to integrate permaculture into everything we do. We practice skills that may seem “old-fashioned”, skills that put us in direct connection with the food we eat, the energy we consume, the materials we use, and the ecosystem we inhabit.
SEE was formed at the end of 2015 by a passionate group of skilled, earth-loving people. These individuals worked together, inspired by their collective vision to create “The Shire at Old Ranch”, on 20 acres of land on the southwestern edge of Black Forest. The concept of “The Shire” was born a few years earlier, in response to the question – “What happens when the trucks stop rolling?”. In the face of a changing climate, increased demand on natural resources, and looming uncertainty, “The Shire” serves as a place for people to socialize, broaden their skills and knowledge, and supply themselves with the necessary plants and products to live more self-sufficiently and consciously. Knowing that education would be a critical part of “The Shire at Old Ranch”, SEE: The Sustainable Educational Experience was created to provide hands-on, quality education to the greater Colorado Springs area.
Today, SEE is a 501c3 non-profit community of environmental and social change stewards, serving adults and youth of Tava Mountain Region through sustainable education. We are empowering reconnection to the land in an increasingly disconnected world.
SEE reconnects people with one another and the natural world through ongoing education and events, volunteer stewardship in our community garden, and donations-based self harvest. We build community resilience through classes on the land based in: regenerative food systems, local ecology, artisanship and wellness.
The process of designing “The Shire at Old Ranch” warranted years of discussion with stakeholders and hundreds of hours of planning. During this time, the vision for SEE was also taking shape. As progress was made with the planning process, 2020 looked to be the year that SEE would officially launch its programming and educational offerings. Then, the global pandemic struck. We scrambled to accommodate best practices and were overjoyed that all of our programming and work took place outside!
Despite the speed bump, 2020 brought life to what had previously just been an idea. SEE organized volunteers from the community to help maintain the garden, and hosted hands-on, educational activities at the Black Forest Backyard Market’s Kid’s Corner, and started making waves.
In 2021, SEE hired its first employees, a “Development Coordinator” to effectively pull the fledgling organization up by its bootstraps and a seasonal garden manager to help manage volunteers and keep the garden happy and productive. The first classes launched (online and in-person), and SEE piloted school outreach efforts by partnering with School in the Woods for an after school garden club. The number of volunteers doubled, the donation-based pick & pay was more well-stocked (including peaches!) and organized than before, and Saturdays at the Black Forest Backyard Market continued. SEE started to get noticed by local news organizations, and was accepted into the 2021 Give! Campaign.
In 2022, SEE’s Development Coordinator raised the bar. With the return of a second year in the Give! Campaign, increased class and community event offerings, expanded presence at local farmers markets, new site developments and improvements to outside educational spaces, and a broader range of organically – grown local produce!
We celebrated the first inaugural Harvest Celebration in October 2022, celebrating our volunteer-driven initiatives and the wonderful community that makes what we do possible! The event included a potluck, live music from local Colorado Springs band “Meg and the Yeti”, a land acknowledgement honoring native peoples and caretakers past, present, and emerging, a Volunteer Award Ceremony, yard games, and a wonderful range of educational activities! We believe in celebrating the relationships that foster our thriving community of land stewards. We desire that when our community thinks of SEE, they know they have a place they belong, where relationships can grow, with opportunities to learn and grow!
If you like what we’re doing, support us, and spread the word to friends and family! Visit the garden, take a class, attend an event, volunteer time or money, teach with us, join a committee, or apply to join our board! We’re building a resilient local community and healthy environment for ourselves and future generations. Let’s SEE what’s possible!
Thank you for believing in us, and in the importance of this work!