Wisner Resources

Wisner Resources: Burning Answers


Erica Wisner is a public education specialist, team coordinator, crisis manager, and volunteer fire fighter.
Ernie Wisner is a retired sea captain, fire fighter, botanist, fisherman, and hands-on problem solver.

Wisner Resources offers a wide range of books, videos, hands-on trainings and training curriculum materials, and private consultation for those interested in thoughtful, practical, creative and time-tested solutions to common problems. 
We travel internationally in season, and regionally in the Pacific/Montane West.  When we're at home, we live in the Okanogan Highlands, on the first mountain south of Lake Osoyoos.

Team Wisner: Affiliates, partners, and service providers

Burning Questions . .'. .Burning Solutions

If you've attended one of our fire trainings (or almost anyone else's), you've likely seen how we use a list of "Burning Questions."  These collaborative, poster-sized notepads allow anyone in the group to bookmark any questions that occur to them at any time during the training.  Everything on the list will be addressed, not in the order received, but in the order determined as most useful by the guiding expert(s).  Some questions will naturally "answer themselves" during the planned course or project.  Other questions may await the end, when the whole group is ready for extra details like advanced topics, alternatives, or local-knowledge specifics.

There are a lot of "burning questions" in the world today.  Some are old questions, with a lot of time already invested in known and proven solutions.  The oldest questions, like how to use fire constructively, are entwined in the beginnings of humankind, older than written history.  There are also many new and urgent questions, relating to unprecedented changes in human populations and experience, requiring creative pattern-recognition and real-time innovation.

As we transition into an unknown future, we may not always have access to an expert instructor to stack and answer our questions in a sensible, orderly way.  But we have a lot of intelligent collaborators.  Thanks to world-class mentors, colleagues, and innovators, we have seen more than our fair share of excellent solutions.  Sharing these solutions, and collaborating with our peers and communities to develop more of them, that's our mission.

Services for Hire: A rough guide to the value of our time

- Projects, Your Way: $10,000+  (For experimental, conventional, or fantasy projects, please consider hiring a local contractor or artist-in-residence.)
- Projects, Our Way: $3,000+    (If your goals match our priorities and expertise, our services become more efficient, with greater value for money.)
- Projects, Lead/Train Your Crew: $1000 per day + expenses
- Public Events and Custom Coursework: $500-1000 per half-day + expenses  (public events, private classes, custom presentations for your events, see "Arrange a Workshop" page)
- Private Consulting/Tech Support: $150/hour     ($90/hour for flexible clients, $450 non-refundable deposit for project consulting / site visits)
- Participate in a scheduled course: $25-$500 depending on course details, see Upcoming Workshops page
- Self-Study Resources: $3-50 per book, plan, video, or online course
- Free Info: Try www.Permies.com, or YouTube, then ask us if needed. 
We routinely give up to 10 minutes free by phone or email.  To go beyond that, please purchase a 1-hour consult.

Engaging our Services:
Please send your deposit via PayPal, check, or money order to: Erica K Wisner, Wisner Resources. 
A non-refundable deposit of 1/3 the project value, or $300 for new project consulting.  We will not deposit your money until we confirm our ability to accept your job.

Counter-Offers and Public Charity Work:
Please take advantage of our extensive free, public advice legacy at www.permies.com, or come see us at one of our affiliates such as www.GreenOkanogan.org, www.7fires.org, ErnieAndErica, Mt. Hull Volunteer Fire District, etc. 

As our time allows, and as it relates to our projects and mission in the world, we will consider reasonable counter-offers.  Please structure your offer by describing what services you need, what you are able to pay, and what you can offer for the balance, such as in-kind services, business support, or charitable donation receipts.  A substantial deposit of either cash or in-kind support is the best way to get our attention for any proposal.

If you would like to support our existing volunteer/charity work, please consider making an unrestricted donation earmarked "Wisner" to:
Seven Fires, www.7fires.org - PayPal to dir@7fires.org, or see website for other contact info.  Seven Fires supports our Living Legacy project, and logistics/scholarships for traveling events, traditional cultures, and First Nations/tribes.
Mt. Hull Fire Hall - OCFPD12@gmail.com - please contact before donating.  Mt. Hull Fire District is Erica's "home team" where we live, keeping our homestead from burning down around our ears, and a community resource "lifeboat."
Spirit of Grace - www.motaspirit.org - our home-away-from-home in Beaverton, Oregon, a good place for care packages and creative, all-colors-welcome spiritual community.
www.Permies.com - Purchase a premium membership by buying "PIE" slices, then give pie to Erica Wisner for care and feeding of online minions.

Expertise and Priorities:

Tech Support: We favor solid-state, old-school, natural, and non-toxic solutions where possible; pre-industrial and conservative biotech offer invaluable insights for a post-industrial future.  We also favor smart use of high tech to enhance our potential with well-planned, durable infrastructure; swift communications and flexible team coordination; and powerful data processing for well-researched and effective solutions. 
We do not favor permanent solutions to temporary problems, and we are wary of self-propagating experiments (whether GMO genes, Internet memes, or institutionalization of public trust).

Examples of Wisner-Friendly Tech:
- Community-based Design, Placemaking, Permaculture Design

People Support: We do not believe that laws written in fear, ignorance, or haste can prevent the past (or protect the future).  We do believe that groups of people bringing together diverse experience, knowledge, and skills for the highest good may produce better solutions than even the most brilliant individual.  
- Hands-On Trainings / Experiential Education (learning by doing)
- Team Facilitation: volunteer, professional, home-school families; mixed-skill and mixed-age teams
A few of our past partners/employers:
OMSI, City Repair Project, Spirit of Grace, TrackersEarth, AHS Masque Society, 8Shields.com, 7fires.org. 

Paper Wizardry: If it involves paper or sheet goods, Erica makes a lovely artist-in-residence.
- Instructional Writing / Editing / Illustration
- Custom Paper Patterns / Stencils / Tin-smiths' Templates

Please note that Erica's paper gifts do not include traditional "paperwork," which is best done by those who live in ordinary time, taking satisfaction from order and routine.  Office help is often on our "Wants" list.

Problems we currently consider high-priority:

The Long Emergency:
As described in books like "Powerdown" and "The Long Emergency," the 'civilized' world is in a transition from high-energy, high-tech, and largely unsustainable industrial practices, through a bottleneck of depleted natural resources, toward a future that may look very different from either the past or the present. 
Change is always unsettling, but it doesn't have to be tragic.  If it's going to happen anyway, let's do it on purpose
   Our main approach in this transition is to support a "living library" of practical skills, good tech both ancient and modern, and conventional and alternative approaches, to help communities and organizations find their own best path toward a livable future.
Work Examples:
 - Presentations: Rocket Mass Heaters; "Rocket Mass Heaters: Site Specific Design"
 - Building LifeBoats (literally): Sail and Human Powered Transport: Low-Cost, High-Capacity, Owner-Built Boats
 - Off-Grid Solutions for Heating and Cooling: Ancient "Refrigerators," "Freezers," and Heat - "The Nature of Power"
 - The Living Legacy Project

Public Safety and Resilient Communities:
Fire, Flood, and Climate Change
The industrialized world relies on expensive testing, equipment, and response teams to manage fire safety and climate-scale environmental disasters.  But disaster relief is a tragic, expensive approach to predictable and preventable problems.  We support research-based, low-cost, common-sense solutions to engage public support, improve public safety, train and equip resilient leaders and communities, and work together on disaster prevention as well as disaster relief.
 - Permaculture Design: Fire Resistant Landscaping
 - Permitting Non-Suicidal Wood Burning Stoves: The Rocket Mass Heater Builders' Guide

The Good Life:
Mark Lakeman used to say something like,
The easiest way to subvert business-as-usual, is to have more fun than they do.


This is an amazing time to be on the planet, with unparalleled opportunities to share luxurious lives and make a difference in our world.  Most of our public education is targeted at making people's healthiest fantasies come true: hands-on skills that satisfy at a deep level, connecting us with our roots and our creative problem-solving capacity.  All of our events are so much fun that people pay us and s
 - Seasonal Samplers: Edible Plants, Ivy Baskets, Snowflakes...


Science and Art for the Real World
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," and that applies equally well to the highly-calibrated intuitive knowledge of creative arts, wilderness tracking, home cookery, or 7th-generation farming as in the quicksilver world of high tech.  What Ellen Swallow Richards called "oecology" or the science of right living, what became Home Economics, what Herb Bernstein called Muddling Through, and what Joseph Lstiburek calls "knowing your high school physics" with regard to Building Science, are all aspects of this same goal: to apply the most rigorous, experience-tested, and truest knowledge to the problems of everyday life.

Any scientist or engineer needs a working knowledge of the human condition in order to offer ethical, effective solutions; any human needs a working knowledge of basic science to take advantage of modern miracles without creating scorched-earth side effects.  The arts, spiritual disciplines, and everyday rituals and routines represent millenia of wisdom concerning how to communicate insights and pass down reliable best practices: the "programmers' code" for human instruments, if you will.

Mentors, Colleagues, and Collaborators: Where Research and Experience Come Together

CDRI (www.cdri.com)
Hampshire College (www.hampshire.edu)
OMSI (www.omsi.edu)
Illahee Society
The City Repair Project (www.cityrepair.org)
8Shields (www.8shields.org)
TrackersEarth (www.trackersearth.com)
PSU (e.g. School of Social Work)
Wheaton Labs (www.richsoil.com)
Seven Fires (www.7fires.org)
MiKu Valley Permaculture
The Endeavour Center
NIFC Wildlands Fire Refreshers: (https://www.nifc.gov/wfstar/)