The Permaculture Podcast

    1830 – Optical Surveying and Social Forestry with Hazel

    What does it mean to go back to the ground and learn the fading skills necessary to work the forest with our hands? To read the land assisted by tools we sight with our own eyes? To create new visions of old roles, such as a land steward or cottager?


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    I explore those thoughts and more with my guest today, Hazel, who some of you may know as Tom Ward. A long-time permaculture practitioner, he remains one of the few people who I feel comfortable calling an elder in the community. As you’ll hear during the conversation today, he carries an impeccable reputation and is known for his respect for people and respect for the land. Ask around among your circles, and you’ll likely hear this echoed by someone whose life was impacted by Hazel’s work as a teacher and storyteller to generations of permaculture practitioners. Which is funny, because, in this digital age, he’s not always the easiest person to find.

    Drawing from his breadth of experience, Hazel shares with us the importance of putting away the gadgets and technology and embedding ourselves in a deep sense of place. To listen and be part of the land around us, and to work with those who are ready.

    You can find out more about Hazel and his work, including upcoming social forestry and optical surveying classes, at

    If you have any thoughts or questions from this conversation with Hazel, leave a comment in the show notes or get in touch.

    Call: 717-827-6266

    The Permaculture Podcast
    P.O. Box 16
    Dauphin, PA 17018

    Until the next time, dig deep and create the world you want to live in where you are by taking care of Earth, yourself, and each other.

    Recommended Reading
    Beyond the War on Invasive Species by Tao Orion
    Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
    Daughters of Copper Woman by Anne Cameron
    Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Brown
    Keeping it Living by Nancy Turner
    The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
    The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram
    Tending the Wild by Kat Anderson
    World Without Mind by Franklin Foer

    Siskiyou Permaculture
    Social Forestry Course
    Optical Surveying Course
    Hazel’s Collected Videos and Recordings

    Heartwood Institute
    Brock DolmanOccidental Arts & Ecology
    Traditional Aboriginal Burning (Cool Burning)


    1. Allain Van LaanenAllain Van Laanen
      September 20, 2018    

      Thank you so much for creating these podcasts.
      Hazel gave a talk this year at the Northern California Permaculture Convergence, on Indegenious People.
      Will you do a podcast of this talk?

      • September 21, 2018    

        Hi Allain,

        I reached out to Karen and Melanie earlier today to see about having Hazel on the show again next year. I’ll check and see what he would be interested in speaking about and perhaps we can include some of the Indigenous People’s talk in our next chat.

        Will you be at the convergence this weekend that he is speaking at?


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