Trees Water & People

Trees, Water & People is committed to improving people's lives by helping communities to protect, conserve and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends. We believe that natural resources are best protected when local people play an active role in their care and management.
Oct 27, 2015

Next Step: Raising the Roof!

Raise the roof!
Raise the roof!

"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men." ~Herman Melville

It has been humbling to see so many people, from many walks of life, coming together to help build a new home for the Shields family. With a diversity of hands and hearts working to make this house a home, we are reminded how lucky we are to have such a generous community of supporters creating dignified housing for a family in need.

Over the past few weeks, we have seen rapid progress in the construction of the compressed earth block (CEB) home for the Shields family. Our dedicated crew, led by Assistant National Director, John Motley, EARTHinBLOCK, and Lakota Solar Enterprises, has been working hard to get the home buttoned up before the winter hits. Along with many volunteer groups from around the country, they have all the walls up, doors and windows installed, radiant floor heating, and insulation on the walls. In addition, they started constructing the roof, with metal finish to follow.

What's next?

  • Finish the roof
  • Stucco the outside
  • Get the interior walls up
  • Install electric and water
  • Dry wall the ceiling and interior 

We are past the half way mark of our fundraising goal. In order to finish the Shields' home, we need to reach our fundraising goal of $10,000. Can you share this project with your friends and family and ask them to make a donation?

Thank you for your generosity! Stay tuned for more updates.

Volunteer power!
Volunteer power!
Paul Shields (left) and Silas Red Cloud
Paul Shields (left) and Silas Red Cloud
Radiant floor heating
Radiant floor heating
Oct 8, 2015

The walls are rising!

The walls are rising!
The walls are rising!

We are excited to report that the first compressed earth blocks have been set and the walls are now rising at Paul Shield's new CEB home! The weather has been beautiful at Pine Ridge and we have a great group of 15 high school volunteers from Aurora, Colorado helping us on this new (and most exciting!) phase of the construction process. We also have the Lakota Solar Enterprise crew and our partners at EARTHinBLOCK assisting on-site. What an incredible group of people that have come together to make a house a home!

Yesterday, Paul had the honor of laying the very first brick of his new home, a life-chaning moment for he and his family. In fact, Paul has been involved every step of the way, putting a huge amount of sweat equity into his new home. I can tell you, they are blessed and humbled by the outpouring of support.

Next steps:

  • Leveling the interior floors and pouring the floor slab by this Friday
  • Installing solar powered radiant floor heating - clean, free energy from Mother Nature!
  • Installing windows and doors 

We are very grateful for your support. We would not be able to complete this new home without your generosity! Please consider sharing this project with your friends and family so we can meet our fundraising goal by the end of the year.

Mitakuye Oyasin (We are all related),

 

Richard W. Fox
Executive Director
Trees, Water & People

P.S. More updates to come soon, so stay tuned. Until then, please consider a donation to help us meet our fundraising goal of $10,000! 

The Red Clouds
The Red Clouds
The first window frame is in!
The first window frame is in!
CEB walls
CEB walls
Sep 10, 2015

The Building Blocks for a Better Life

Building blocks of a better life!
Building blocks of a better life!

We have started to pour the foundation for the Shield's home and now here are some of the 4,500 compressed earth blocks (CEBs) we are busy making. These are the building blocks for a healthier home and a better life for Paul and his family. 

What is Compressed Earth Block?

Building with earth offers an eco-friendly solution to one of the world’s, and one of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe's, most pressing problems—the acute shortage of adequate shelter for families. Although earth is the oldest building material, compressed earth block (CEB) is part of a new wave of green building. CEB reduces the energy required and the pollution produced in the creation of bricks and cement blocks. In many areas, CEB homes can replace wooden structures that are contributing to the depletion of the world’s forests. Earth blocks are cheaper, greener, and far more durable than concrete blocks or mud bricks. It offers a construction upgrade while respecting local architectural and cultural traditions.

How do you make CEB?

Our partners at EARTHinBLOCK have a patented machine that produces blocks of precision height and width, with an adjustable length. The blocks are tongue-in-groove and can be dry stacked or used with mortar. The machine can also be manufactured to produce "traditional" blocks without the tongue-in-groove.

The machine is designed and manufactured in the U.S.A. It weighs under 2,000 pounds and can be towed behind a truck or SUV. It can be easily moved around a building site or up the side of a mountain. It takes roughly 4,300 blocks to build a 1,200-square foot house. The machine produces 2 blocks per minute. These blocks meet all relevant standards for load-bearing capacity and strength.

We look forward to sharing the progress as we continue manufacturing blocks and building this beautiful new home for the Shields family. Thank you so much for your love and support!

EARTHinBLOCK CEB machine
EARTHinBLOCK CEB machine
All ages can help make CEB!
All ages can help make CEB!
 

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