On day five of the international 72-hour Permaculture Design Course at the Permaculture Paradise Institute, the 11 participants gathered with a mix of anticipation and focus. This was a pivotal day in their journey—a time to put everything they had learned into practice through an individual base mapping exercise. The atmosphere was charged with a sense of purpose as they prepared to synthesize their knowledge into actionable designs.

The morning began with a brief review of the principles and techniques covered over the past four days. The instructors encouraged the participants to draw upon their observations and insights from previous sessions, reminding them that a good design starts with a deep understanding of the site. Armed with their notes, sketches, and newfound skills, each participant set out to create their own detailed base map.

Spreading out across the institute’s grounds, the participants found quiet spots to begin their work. The task was to map a chosen area, capturing its topography, vegetation, water flow, and existing structures. With measuring tools, compasses, and sketch pads in hand, they meticulously surveyed their selected sites. The process was a test of their ability to observe, analyze, and represent the landscape accurately.

As the hours passed, the initial blank pages began to fill with detailed representations of the land. Contours and elevations were carefully noted, and the placement of natural and man-made features took shape. Each participant’s map became a unique reflection of their understanding and vision, embodying the permaculture principles they had been absorbing throughout the course.

Midday brought a break for lunch, offering a chance to rest and share progress. Gathered under the shade of a large tree, the participants exchanged tips and encouragement. The sense of camaraderie was strong, with everyone supporting each other’s efforts and learning from the different approaches being taken.

After lunch, the focus shifted to refining their maps and preparing to present them. Participants added final touches, ensuring that their maps accurately captured the essence of their sites. The afternoon was a blend of quiet concentration and bursts of shared excitement as details were completed and maps were ready for review.

In the late afternoon, the group reconvened to share their work. Each participant presented their base map to the group, explaining their observations and the design choices they had made. It was a moment of pride and reflection, as they showcased not just their maps but their growth over the course of the training. The diversity of perspectives and solutions presented highlighted the richness of their collective learning experience.

As the sun began to set on day five at the Permaculture Paradise Institute, there was a palpable sense of achievement among the participants. They had not only gained valuable skills but also developed a deeper connection to the land and to each other. The individual base mapping exercise had brought their journey full circle, grounding their learning in personal, hands-on experience.

Looking forward to the final day, the participants were filled with a sense of readiness to take their knowledge into the world. The seeds of transformation sown over these five days were ready to grow, guided by the wisdom and inspiration they had cultivated together.