The Sanctuary maintains a 40 acre land trust as a community resource for educational and community building events. As a decommodified entity, this land cannot be owned, rented or taxed, rather is held by the Shepardfields 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for the benefit of the local and regional community. The trust itself is open to the public daily for walking and enjoying. The Sanctuary is also available for private and public events, and features a growing set of facilities, all of which aim to embody principles of permaculture, environmental sustainability and non-violence. Below are some of the features which make the Sanctuary a unique place to host an event. For more information about holding a retreat at the Sanctuary visit our Retreat Page.
The 30 foot yurt, often the center of activity during events, is perfect for meetings, yoga and meditation classes, film screenings and discussion groups, concerts and more. During our regular season (March-November) the yurt is also available through AirBnB for overnight accommodations. For more info visit our airBnB page.
The Community Stage
Still under construction, this beautiful new addition to the Sanctuary offers a grand outdoor performance space for music, circus, yoga, wedding ceremonies and more. Designed by Sanctuary architect Hans Lohse, built by a small team of dedicated volunteers and funded by over 70 generous supporters, the stage will become a permanent venue showcasing local and national performing arts, community events and will be the future home for the Sanctuary’s circus program. The stage itself is 30’ wide by 20’ deep and will have a roof, additional seating and green rooms for performers. Surrounded by meadow and forest, it is a performance space surrounded by natural glory. The stage is already operational and available for performances. We hope to have the project completed by the end of our 2018 season. For more information about this project or to help us finish it with your support visit our Razoo page.
Eco-Temple and Solar Array
Sanctuary facilities are carbon-neutral and ecologically-regenerative. The Ecotemple is the Sanctuary’s composting toilet, which offers bathroom facilities using this low tech greentechnology for turning humanure into topsoil. Guests can also wash their hands here. This summer 2018 we hope to be installing additional water facilities including a solar shower. Using no water and returning all “waste” to the earth, this beautiful project represents the toilet best suited for our Anthropocene era. The entire facility is also solar-powered, making your retreat here truly green.
In the center of the six acre meadow is a labyrinth for walking meditation, a path for prayer, an archetypal blueprint of the path of unfolding wholeness, always moving towards the center, even when it seems to be moving away from where you want to grow. Sanctuary staff are available for leading guided sitting and walking meditations.
The Sanctuary’s community garden is being developed using permaculture principles of self-organizing, self-regulating agriculture. Last year, the focus of the garden was herbs and flowers.
We are proud to host a thriving beaver population in the lowlands forest area of the land trust. In recent years, these amazing creatures have built hundreds of feet of new dams, transforming the area into a growing series of ponds and wetlands. Guests are invited to explore the work of these climate change heros.
There are several paths out of the meadow and into the forest at the Sanctuary which guests are invited to explore. Due to beaver activity, the new ponds and stream network has currently overflowed, blocking two of the trails which pass into the back 20 acres of forest. We plan to build a bridge over the stream this year to extend the trails.
Many non-human beings live at the Sanctuary and serve various roles as guardians, teachers and ambassadors. In addition to the rich wildlife, guests will encounter Sally the dog, cats (Beatrice, Pangerbon, Horus, Bat and Crooked Tail), a beautiful and very friendly goat named Maxine, as well as chickens and honey bees. All of these creatures are especially friendly, so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. These amazing beings contribute greatly to the palpable ambiance, deep peace and wholeness at the Sanctuary.
There are two full-time residential directors who live in the house at the Sanctuary. While not open to the public, the house has a kitchen, bathroom and living room area that can be used for special events.
A 30 foot tipi which offers sacred space for meditation or discussion, several fire pits, the “Grotto” Peace Circle for drum circles and other things, a sweat lodge (originally created by the late great Eagle Man Ed McGaa), the Goat Castle Tree House (still under construction), plus many mysterious nooks and crannies.
A Tiny Home: Designed and built by Visionary Architect & Sanctuarian Hans Lohse
The result of over fifty years of intensive architectural research into housing and building construction by Hans, this “Tiny Home” will be parked at the Sanctuary starting in May 2018, showcasing the the best in tiny house design and off-grid sustainability.
At approx. 170 square feet and designed following principles of sacred geometry, this amazing habitation can sleep four. The sacred space is augmented by cutting edge technologies so that this tiny house embodies all of the amenities of modern houses including a kitchen and bathroom with on-demand hot water, LED lighting and solar PV electricity with battery storage, and efficient fire burning stove. This unique dwelling will be available for airBnB accommodations as well as retreats at the Sanctuary. We also plan to start construction on a second Tiny Home this year and to offer weekend workshops in the design and construction of this housing of the future.