October 2015 SkillShare – Biochar Demonstration

Saturday, October 24  1 – 5 pm  @ Robin Hills Farm, Vegetable Barn

20390 Stockbridge Chelsea Rd., Chelsea, MI 48118


pit pyrolysis TLUD

Join Karl Kaufman and Sheldon Smith for side-by-side TLUD/Pit Kiln Biochar production demonstrations in Chelsea, MI. Ann Arbor Reskilling is teaming up the with the instructors and Robin Hills Farm for the first workshop of their “Biggest Pumpkin Contest” Series featuring organic methods for “beefing up” your produce!

Biochar is charcoal from biomass, which sequesters carbon from the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years. We will utilize both a Top-Lit Up-Draft (TLUD) pyrolysis unit and the Hawaiian Luau pit pyrolysis technique popularized by Josiah Hunt. Local wood and biomass will be converted to char, and participants will take a bag of biochar home to experiment with. Techniques to “charge” the biochar with nutrients will also be discussed.

Biochar is part of a sustainable solution to climate change, by sequestering carbon and preventing its return to the atmosphere as greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Biochar has also been documented to improve soil fertility by increasing resident soil carbon with resultant improved microbiological populations. This further amplifies carbon sequestration, as well as improving moisture and nutrient retention. The productive deep prairie soils of the Midwest, and the Terra Preta soils in the Amazon are a result of char.

***All participants can take samples and handouts home, and will participate in feeding the pit kiln.

Please register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/biggest-pumpkin-contest-series-biochar-workshop-tickets-18503539585, or by emailing ben.w@robinhillsfarm.com.

Free, but donations greatly appreciated to help us cover our costs!

For more information on what is included in the workshop, please visit http://www.robinhillsfarm.com/events/ or one of the sites below.

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September Community Events

Sunday, September 27th
We will be involved with two community events this day. Join us for one or both!

1-2:30 pm:
Going Out Green: Environmental Impacts of End of Life Choices with Barbara Lucas,green from A2Reskilling and the Ann Arbor Green Burial Network. Hosted by the Friends Meeting House at 1420 Hill St, Ann Arbor, 48104.


easy12:30-5:30 pm:
Sustainable Living Expo: The Ann Arbor District Library is sponsoring an “It’s Easy Being Green” Day on the grounds next to the downtown library, at 343 S. 5th Ave. The expo will have vendors selling their handmade, upcycled and earth-friendly wares, as well as, vendors at informational tables, a keynote speaker and 11 break-out sessions featuring speakers and how-to workshops covering topics such as canning, bee keeping, rain gardens, making seed bombs, and more. More information at http://www.aadl.org/node/318348.

Other Community Events you might be interested in!


We are proud to be supporting an upcoming summit, “Our Climate Change Legacy-Finding Hope, Taking Action Together,” taking place Saturday, Sept. 26 in Ann Arbor (Friday event was cancelled).

If you’re over 50 and alarmed about the impacts of climate change on future generations, come learn what you can do to make a difference! This event engages participants in launching an ongoing community of wise, loving and fierce elder activists who become a powerful voice and force for turning the tide on climate change in local SE Michigan communities. Please register by 9/11 to get early bird pricing at www.OurCCLegacy.net and join us in finding hope and taking action together!

Just for a little additional clarity, the event is specifically designed for those with over 5 decades of life experience :-), and anyone is welcome with that understanding.

For more information, registration, and tickets, please visit www.OurCCLegacy.net. Also more information at https://www.facebook.com/OurCCLegacy.

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August 29th Potluck & SkillShare

Join us for 2 great skillshares on Saturday, August 29th, from 5–8:30 pm, @ Northside Community Center, 809 Taylor St, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.  There will be live music and dance following the skillshares!

This month’s Reskilling meetup takes place during the
weekend-long River Hop event – Aug. 29-30 –
see www.riverhop.org for a complete schedule, including additional skill-shares!

Choose between:

Designing the Ecology of your Yard

perma2Permaculturist Billy Kirst will share how his family has turned their yard into a virtual “food factory,” utilizing principles of natural systems that allow efficient use of resources, without chemical inputs.  Meet at the Northside Community Center for an intro to the methods used, and then tour his amazing garden nearby.


“Cool and Green” Bike Ideas

bike2Bring your folding bikes, electric bikes, cargo carriers, bad weather gear, etc.—anything you’ve rigged up or purchased to make you bike more useful for getting you and your stuff where you need to go!   Show what you’ve got and/or just ask questions—we’ll learn together on the road to more sustainable transport.  Meet on the grounds outside the Northside Community Center.

~ 6:30 PM POTLUCK ~
Bring a dish to pass & washable plate/cup/fork

~ 6-8:00 PM LIVE MUSIC:  “The Switchbacks”! ~

****Are you into the “sharing economy” (teaching and learning, lending and borrowing, reusing and fixing)? If so, a group of UM grad students want to hear from you!  Share your thoughts in this 10 min SURVEY.

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July 15 – Bike Tour of Urban Agriculture in Detroit

A group of Reskillers will be going on a Bike Tour of Urban Agriculture in Detroit. To sign up for the tour which costs $25 (or $35 includes a bike), go to http://www.wheelhousedetroit.com/tours/



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July 10th event photos

July 10

At July’s skill-share Ginny Rogers taught chain maille making, and Mary Cinch of Cinch Sewing taught basic machine sewing. Beautiful projects were completed in a short time, thanks to the careful preparation and instruction provided by our teachers. Thanks Ginny and Mary for volunteering your time, we really appreciate it!

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July 10th event: Sewing, Mending and Chain Maille

Friday, July 10th   6 – 8:30 pm @ Northside Community Center: 809 Taylor St, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Free, but donations greatly appreciated to help us cover our costs!


Bring a dish to pass & washable plate/cup/fork

~ 7:15 PM SKILLSHARES: ~  Choose between…

Machine Sewing and Mending

Mary Burton, Owner of “Cinch Sew” of Ann Arbor, will teach you how to create a portable, roll-up placemat with cutlery holder to take home!  Also, feel free to bring mending projects you would like advice on. *To assure we provide enough sewing machines, please pre-register for this class at:  http://cinchsew.eventbrite.com.   If you have a working sewing machine you would like to bring, please do!

placemat   sewingmachingOr:

Making Chain Maille

Ginny Rogers will teach how to use two pair of pliers to bend wire into circles and interweave them into beautiful chains in both simple and complex patterns.  Create jewelry, armor, and more!  *Please pre-register to be assured we have enough tools for your use, at: http://chainmaille.eventbrite.com. If you have small needle-nose or blunt-nose pliers, please bring them!


Pre-registration also allows us to contact you if necessary (e.g., in the event of instructor illness).

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June 14th event: Food & Farming at Matthaei Botanical Gardens

Ann Arbor Reskilling is supporting a community event for our June presentations:

Farm Education Day and Sustainable Food Fest


Celebrate sustainable food and farming with the local Jewish community: Re-Skilling Workshops, Vendors, Education, and Food!

Sunday, June 14th    10am – 2pm

at Matthaei Botanical Gardens  |  1800 N Dixboro Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
– with bus tours to Green Things Farm

Presentations on Beekeeping, Soil Health and Composting, Seeds, Pickles, and more!
Visit http://www.facebook.com/jewishallianceFLJ for a full schedule!

Hosted and made possible by:
The Jewish Alliance for Food, Land, & Justice
and the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor
All persons are welcome regardless of religion or affiliation

Admission is free, but it helps to pre-register at:

Featured A2 Reskilling Presentation:

12:15 – 1:15 Backyard Chickens hosted by Glee Bohanon, CEO, and chief bottlewasher at Fair Feather Farm. Meet a few chickens and learn about raising them in your own backyard, including caring/feeding, safe handling of eggs, and how to make home-made feeders.

A2 Reskilling Table Demos:

10 – 12 Intro to Canning hosted by Emily Springfield of Preserving Traditions.

10 – 2 Intro to Weaving hosted by Kathy and Leslie Moskal of Moskal Farm.

10 – 2 Making Lip Balm & Hand Lotion hosted by Kathy and Leslie Moskal of Moskal Farm.


A2 Reskilling: Promoting resilience through community building and skill-sharing.

If you have a community event you would like us to supply reskilling workshops for, please let us know! We are always excited to help reskilling reach new parts of our community!

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