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 was created to provide hands-on, quality education to the greater Colorado Springs area.
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 took 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, COVID-19 happened. Our plans were compromised, and the uncertainty that accompanied the pandemic resulted in a huge scaling back of our vision for 2020.
Despite this setback, 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 employee to keep the momentum of growing this young organization going. With plans for a more engaging garden and pick & pay program, SEE also brought on 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 Indy Give Campaign!
As SEE continues to grow, expect more classes and community events, opportunities to get involved, and of course, delicious, organically-grown local produce!
If you like what we’re doing, consider supporting us! Whether you follow us on social media, help spread the word about SEE to your friends and family, or donate your time or money, you’re helping further the cause of community and sustainability in Colorado Springs.
Thank you for believing in us, and in the importance of this work!