The Havens Project: A Vision of Computer Guided Forest Management

“My son-in-law, on seeing a thin white worm in mud in a pond below the Peculiar Manor cabin that we were cleaning out, jumped into the pond and said, ‘Let’s get it!’,” writes Dr. Robert Giles. “At age 55, I was still learning from him about childlike excitement.” We all need this enthusiasm for life and wonder, and Dr. Giles thinks this especially necessary for a wildlife manager.375_628602523403_1118_n

Even before founding Rural System, Dr. Giles has been looking for ways to re-connect people with the land that supports them. He emphasizes that land and always has a rich, historical dimension as well as the potential for thriving ecological systems. [Read more…]

Building a Complex System: Top-Down or Bottom-up?

Lately my fiance has been nurturing the growth of a wildlife control business and it seems all of his attention and not an insignificant portion of mine has been sucked into the project. One business! The more I’ve read about Rural System the more I am amazed at the magnitude of its undertaking. Dr. Robert Giles has been working hard on Rural System as a start-up for over 20 years. How can such a vast project see its beginnings? Is Rural System too big?

Like with most things there is a very unsatisfying answer to this question: it depends. The launching of a project on the scale of Rural System is too complicated to reduce to a yes or no question. It is much more fruitful to imagine “yes!”

So as a writer seeking to chronicle this grand endeavor, I like to imagine answers to the first question… where does such a thing begin? What I come to are variations on two themes: building from the bottom-up and sculpting from the top-down.

Rural System and Kissito, a non-profit based in VA, bring biofilters to a community in Uganda. Aiding the growth of an existing community is a way parts of Rural System could be built from the bottom-up.

Rural System and Kissito, a non-profit based in VA, bring biofilters to a community in Uganda. Aiding the growth of an existing community is a way parts of Rural System could be built from the bottom-up.

[Read more…]

Sampling in Alpha Units

alpha units

Alpha units, stretching across the enterprise environment.

As Our Wealth of Data and its Wasted Potential so eloquently put it, big data companies and research programs in our modern age have more data than they have the funds or time to analyze. For a price, all of this data could be available to Rural System, feeding directly into the prescriptive software of VNodal. [Read more…]

The Micro-Wildernesses of Rural System

Conservationists have been butting heads with industry for decades, vying to set aside this land or monkey wrench that logging operation. But though Rural System is dedicated to revitalizing and protecting natural resources, it seeks an alternative to the widely accepted cut-and-dry conservation approach.A bubbling stream and the forest around it are a potential micro-wilderness: a pocket of untouched land in the Rural System

Clearer and clearer is this motive, which seems to subtend so much of our writing these past weeks: Rural System is seeking to close a gap between people and the land, between humans and nature. Conservation cannot be limited to setting aside wilderness areas while we do whatever we please to damage the land outside of these reserves.  Rather, conservation must be an awareness that enters all our decisions regarding land use, even in our own backyards. [Read more…]

Shaking Hands With Rural System

I stirred my coffee to calm my nerves as he glanced over my resume. I had read through his website, but felt utterly unsure of where I would fit into the complicated web that is Rural System. Dr. Giles smiled and asked me about my experience as a woodworker.

“It’s thanks to my supervisor, really, who heard me saying how much I would like to learn to build a violin,” I told him. “The construction crew funded the wood and tools and I taught myself everything else from a book.” I couldn’t yet see how my woodworking experience would help a land management system like Rural System get off the ground.  [Read more…]