Robyn M. Tredwell, a Director of the Institute and Project Director for over 25 years of Birdwood Downs, a horse, cattle and ecological station, where she successfully applied the Institute of Ecotechnic’s ecological approach to sustainable land care, passed away on September 26, 2012.

Robyn inspired many young people to expand their horizons through hands-on study of ecology and adventures to different cultures. To help keep her dreams alive, the Institute has initiated the “Robyn Tredwell Ecofrontiers Scholarship Fund,” to assist promising youths to participate in programmes at Birdwood Downs and other ecotechnic projects focusing on innovative ecological and cross-cultural work.

Both the Institute of Ecotechnics U.S. and U.K. resolved to create this Fund to honor her achievements, courage and commitment to educate others in sustainable land care and exploration of human cultures.

EcoFrontiers Scholarship Fund will facilitate promising young people of limited financial resources participating in Ecotechnic demonstration projects. This honors Robyn’s lifetime work opening doors between Ecotechnic projects for people of varied cultural background. The support of the Scholarship Fund will be used assisting transport to and from the projects and defray some initial costs to participate in these innovative programs.

The Robyn M. Tredwell Memorial Scholarship Fund has been authorized by vote of the Institute of Ecotechnic Board of Directors at its 2012 AGM, 25 October 2012 on s’Aranella Island off of Cadaques, Spain.

Criteria for potential recipients:

  1. Age: between 18 and 30 years
  2. For: applicants with insufficient financial means to pay for transport to/from the educational opportunity.
  3. Applicant must apply for the programme by the host project.
  4. They need the desire and ability to learn by doing.
  5. Up to $2000 will be granted per applicant accepted by a program management team.

Organizational structure of the Memorial Scholarship Fund:

President: Hans Leenaarts, Director and Business Manager of Birdwood Downs Company

Vice President: Mark Nelson, Chairman of the Institute of Ecotechnics, a Director of Birdwood Downs Company

Secretary/Treasurer: Deborah Parrish Snyder, Director, Institute of Ecotechnics and of Birdwood Downs Company


Current Ecofrontiers Programmes offered:

Australia, Kimberley, “Birdwood Downs” – Tropical Savannah

In the overgrazed Kimberley region of northwestern Australia, the Institute of Ecotechnics consults to Birdwood Downs Company, which manages a 4700 acre (1850 hectare) savannah (tropical grassland and tree ecology) restoration project, Birdwood Downs. Its program of sustainable diversified development includes pasture regeneration with drought-resistant grass and legume varieties; silviculture and tropical orchardry; ecotechnic treatment and reuse of wastewater for gardens; also horsemanship training programs for local youth; and breeding/management of horse and cattle herds. Like many savannah regions worldwide, this region suffered severe ecological degradation due to overgrazing and overburning. The project has been recognized as offering ecological and ecotechnic alternatives for sustainable development and use of the tropical savannahs.

Oceans, Research Vessel Heraclitus

The Research Vessel Heraclitus is an 82-foot (25 metre), three-masted, ferro-cement oceanographic research vessel based on the traditional sea-going Chinese junk. Designed and built by the Institute of Ecotechnics in 1974-75, the Heraclitus has sailed over 250,000 miles, in every ocean except the Arctic, and circumnavigated the globe. In 2006, it completed over ten years of coral reef ecological and paleo-core studies. Previous expeditions include: ethnobotanical collections in Peruvian Amazonia, voyages around South America, an expedition to Antarctica to collect humpback whale genetic material, the first successful release of previously captive dolphins and a round-the-world expedition, from 1983-1986, that studied sustainable tropical agricultural systems and the cultures that developed them. The Heraclitus engages in Planet Water Expeditions, exploring the world’s river-based and oceanic cultures, as well as the winds and currents of Planet Water.

England, in London, “October Gallery” – Transvangarde Art Gallery

The Institute of Ecotechnics founded and developed the October Gallery, an internationally recognized art and cultural events center in the Bloomsbury area of central London as a meeting place for the ‘ transvangarde ‘ – cutting-edge artists, musicians, poets and thinkers from all cultures around the planet. The October Gallery annually curates between seven and ten art exhibitions relating to different cultures each year as well as hosting a wide range of musical, dance and theatrical performances, as well as seminars, symposia and talks on a range of scientific and cultural topics.

New Mexico, “Synergia Ranch”, in USA – High Desert

Synergia Ranch, comprising 135 acres twenty miles southeast of Santa Fe, NM, at an elevation of 6200 ft (1900 metres), is the Institute of Ecotechnic’s oldest established project, and its U.S. headquarters. The restoration of this badly overgrazed and eroding high country semi-arid property required the addition of many hundreds of tons of compost to local soils, check dams to stop erosion, and the planting of over a thousand windbreak, shade and fruit trees. Today, the ranch’s traditional-style adobe buildings, courtyards, gardens, shop, and 50′ (15m) diameter dome sit at the center of a now beautiful ‘oasis in the desert. It has a half-acre vegetable garden and over four acres of mixed fruit trees, both certified organic. It attracts multidisciplinary workshops from around the world. Synergia Ranch is also the home of the Laboratory Biosphere closed ecological system research facility.

Puerto Rico, “Casas de la Selva” – Tropical Forest

Las Casas de la Selva is the Puerto Rican home of Tropic Ventures, the Institute of Ecotechnics’ project in sustainable rainforest ecology and preservation. Line-planting valuable timber trees between the existing rainforest maintains the ecosystem’s biomass and biodiversity.Two hundred and thirty acres of the 1000-acre (400 hectare) property have been planted, in cooperation with the Puerto Rican Departments of Forestry and Natural Resources, with some 40,000 trees (including relatively rare species of endogenous Puerto Rican hardwoods). Some production has already begun with extremely promising results. The valuable contribution of this method to the rainforest environment has seen Las Casas recognised as an ‘auxiliary forest’ in the US national park system of classification. Local community members, and Earthwatch Foundation, universities and other non-profit organizations participate in the research and educational outreach programs at the project site.