Introducing Ecosystem Restoration Camps

11:00 a.m. Pacific time on Thursday, June 23 (that’s 7:00 p.m. London time)

For our June webinar, Dr. Elaine and the Soil Food Web School will welcome John D. Liu, Janel Luke, Bob Wilms, and Jonny Allen from Ecosystem Restoration Camps! Jonny will share the story behind the first urban Ecosystem Restoration Camp in Hollywood, California. Bob will share the story of a new camp being formed in Mendocino County, California, called the Land. Janel represents the Camp Fire Restoration Project in Paradise, California, and will share the story of devastation and regeneration through wildfire. The Ecosystem Restoration Camps (ERC) organization is a global, grassroots movement of people who work to create a more abundant earth. At camps around the globe, people repair broken ecosystems together and, in doing so, provide humanity with hope and a better future.


The BirdHouse is a community garden in Hollywood, serving as a hub of exchange for those attracted to caring for the land and people through arts and ecology. Through permaculture, systems thinking, medicinal plants, art, singing, science and storytelling, they aspire to a new story of interdependence, to restore shared wisdom, and to have fun doing it.


Bob Wilms is part of a community of city and suburban dwellers that came together to find a property that believed a return to the Land was an important component to the human experience. After 5 years on the property they learned that when you re-wild the land, cultivate your own soil, grow and prepare your own food, you are building your own value and ownership. They aim to aid in restoring the dignity of the marginalized, the cast out, the prison residents and the wild ones. Once reclaimed, people naturally find the desire to contribute their unique gifts to society. 

The Camp Fire Restoration Project is also “Camp Paradise,” the world’s first ecosystem restoration disaster response camp. They are located in Butte County, approximately 70 miles north of the California state capitol of Sacramento.

Speaker Bios:


John D. Liu: After 15 years as a Television Producer and Cameraman for CBS News, RAI and ZDF, John began to study ecology in the mid 1990s. John founded the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP), he helped to create the China Environment and Sustainable Development Reference and Research Center (CESDRRC), and he helped create the China HIV/AIDS Information Center (CHAIN). Over the years he has produced, directed, written and presented numerous films. He is currently Ecosystem Ambassador for the Commonland Foundation and Visiting Research Fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (NIOO/KNAW).

Jonny Allen:
“I have had the good fortune to work in many different crafts, from motorcycle mechanics to ceramics, and woodworking to community building, from cell animation to computer animation and 3D stereoscopics, from graphic arts to cinematography and motion control. I’ve directed special effects and documentary films about music and cultural transmission, and in the process I have had a family, played music, traveled, sailed, freight hopped and barged.


This is the life of a generalist, a jack of all trades. For better or worse I have never been able to specialize. But I find there is a role for a generalist as one with an overview and sometimes a vision. I am interested in creating the conditions where life can flourish. I am at the service of people and plants (and by extension all living things). I am driven by the idea that people can get along in any place by being aware of the complex network of human and nonhuman cycles. The BirdHouse is a place to hatch for those who flock. A space to hatch ideas and projects. A place to flock as do swarms of starlings, in a fashion that evokes our collective intelligence by working the strong suit of homo sapiens, cooperation and communication.”


Bob Wilms is the Executive Director of the Land, a 160-acre retreat center and ecosystem restoration camp in Northern California’s Anderson Valley. He also serves as the Director of The Unconditional Freedom Project’s Earth Program, which recently launched its Prison Botanical Sanctuary Program at Mendocino County Jail.

Janel Luke is Co-Chair of the Camp Fire Restoration Project (CFRP), the non-profit behind Eco-Camp Paradise, whose mission is to promote ecological stewardship through education, community action, and resource sharing. Their current ongoing projects include a community composting program (Paradise Community Compost) and a partnership with Chico TEK. Ms. Luke's professional background involves microbiology, with a focus on soil restoration and composting.

Dr. Elaine Ingham has advanced our knowledge about the soil food web for over 4 decades. Widely recognized as the world’s foremost soil biologist, she’s passionate about empowering ordinary people to bring the soils in their community back to life.

Dr. Adam Cobb's passion for agriculture emerged during several months of volunteer work on organic farms in New Zealand. His time in graduate school cultivated a broad vision for the restoration of living soils, as well as the power of research and community engagement to address global food production challenges. After completing his PhD at Oklahoma State University, he spent five years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and University Instructor. During that time, Adam authored / coauthored 20 research publications focused on agroecology and plant-microbial symbioses, particularly arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. He taught multiple undergraduate and graduate courses on global food security, restoration ecology, and environmental science. He joined Soil Food Web School in 2021, following his dream to help regenerate soils, improve human nutrition, and heal our planet.

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