Hazel Ward

Biography & Professional Experience

Hazel is a long time resident of the Southern Oregon/Mount Shasta bioregion first settling here in the early 70’s, and has been advising farms, stewarding forests, and teaching Environmental Sciences for more than fifty years.   

Their focus for this 21st century has been Social Forestry, restoring Oak/Pine Savannah in Little Wolf Gulch near Ruch, OR, demonstrating natural building, fuel hazard materials utilization, multiple products woods-crafting, wildlife support and desert forest water management. 

As a youth, Hazel grew a vegetable garden from age five, trained in wildflower gardening with god-grandmother May Barton, taught two summers in the Nature Lodge at Camp Wakapominee, was an active participant in the life of their traditional culture, performed in a folk music trio with brothers Tim and Josh, and sang in choir and school sectional choruses.

During college, Hazel became an experienced winter mountaineer, water safety instructor, rock climber and caver, studied abroad and performed folk music in France during 1968, participated in Vietnam medical relief efforts, and managed to graduate under political duress. 

After having earned degrees in Forestry and Systematic Botany from Syracuse University and SUNY College of Forestry, 1969, Hazel taught Wild Edible Plants and Woods-lore at Laney College in Oakland CA in the early 70’s. After helping Bill Mollison teach the first Permaculture Design Course at Evergreen State College in 1982, they have been instrumental in teaching and spreading Permaculture practices. They have taught at D-Q University in Davis CA, Thlolego Learning Centre in South Africa, Earth Passengers in Taiwan, Heartwood Institute in Northern California, Aprovecho Institute, and The Wilderness Charter School at Ashland High School, as well as at many other institutes and communities. 

Hazel has taught dozens of Permaculture courses over the last 37 years, primarily in Southern Oregon and Northern California. These include the PDC, Permaculture Teachers Training, and advanced courses in Optical Surveying, Social Forestry and Farm PlanningThey were a frequent guest instructor for Toby Hemenway PDC’s offered in the Northwest.  Hazel holds four Permaculture Diplomas from Bill Mollison’s Institute, as well as two from the Permaculture Institute of North America. In conjunction with Siskiyou Permaculture, they now occasionally teach a local weekends PDC at various locations in Southern Oregon and advanced permaculture courses at Wolf Gulch Ranch in the Little Applegate CanyonHazel was once known as Tom and is the author of Greenward Ho! Herbal Home Remedies: An Ecological Approach to Sustainable Health.

Hazel has organized and supervised the development of several Permaculture Farms and woodlands including Whistling Duck Farm, Spirit Gardens, Star Gardens, Elk Dancing!, Wolf Gulch Farm, Seven Seeds Farm, and HerbPharm. They have also done hundreds of “walk through” farm and homestead brainstorms. 

Hazel presents local talks and stories on topics such as Social Forestry, Ecological Opportunities and Constraints of the Upper Bear Creek Basin, Permaculture for the Masses, Becoming Indigenous to the Siskiyous, and Envisioning a Permanent Culture in the Rogue ValleyThese storytelling events have unfolded visions of the Siskiyou/Mt. Shasta region in the 22nd century. You can find videos, audio recordings, writings, and articles on the Resources page of this website.

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“I am a student in Toby Hemenway’s Permaculture PDC in Portland. I thought that your presentation at our class was fantastic. I was totally and completely inspired. It drastically changed our site plan for the permaculture farm we are starting. This is my second PDC and I have been working as a permaculture designer for three years now and that is the first I had heard of much of your information! I hope to have the time to come down and take a class with you in the future.” 

–Jen Henry, Siren Song Farm