February 2, 2015

School of Permaculture Team

Nicholas Burtner
Nicholas Burtner Permaculture

Nicholas is the director of both the farm site and suburban site, and the organizational director for the School of Permaculture. In late 2012 Nicholas opened the Working With Nature Permaculture Learning, Research, and Healing Center, which has since been rebranded to the School of Permaculture. The school utilizes an urban, a rural, and classic classroom settings to demonstrate, educate, and offer hands-on experience as well as classroom learning opportunities.

Nicholas has worked on a large number of permaculture projects from suburban lots and homesteads to college campuses and apartment complexes to family farms and broad acre ranches. View portfolio here.

Nicholas’ permaculture design certification was given by Bill Mollison (the co-originator of permaculture) and Geoff Lawton (world renown permaculturist). His permaculture internships at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia were under the leadership of Geoff and Nadia Lawton. And under the guidance of Michael Reynolds, he attended the Earthship Academy for natural and recycled building construction in Taos, New Mexico.

Aside from permaculture, sustainability, and ecology-related activities, Nicholas is a devote follower of Jesus Christ, a husband, and a father. He is also a nidan and instructor at the Flowing Circle Aikido Center, a major proponent of peace, and he believes that through a relationship with Jesus as well as the application of permaculture, people can find a more meaningful and purposeful existence.

Nicholas’ list of credentials on PermacultureGlobal.com



Kristi Burtner

Kristi Burtner Permaculture
Kristi grew up on a farm in the mid-west (monocrop soybean/corn) raising amd showing sheep for over 10 years in 4-H. As soon as she entered college she high-tailed it to the desert of AZ where she pursued a business career in sales/marketing, recruiting, and human resources. That career brought her to Texas, where she completed her MBA. In Texas, she’s been on an adventure to freedom, where she’s left the corporate world behind and pursued a more missional style of work in serving Jesus and getting back to her rural roots. Gifted in marketing, communication and administration, she helps organizations by putting those gifts to work for their causes. She’s passionate about abundant living, empowering and helping people, and sharing that knowledge through School of Permaculture. Her focus is on the Aid/Orphanage program, Administration, Communications, Events, Student & Class liaison as well as Social Media. Kristi completed her Permaculture Design Course with the School of Permaculture and received her certificate in April 2016. 

Mary Kate Carter
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Mary-Kate Carter obtained her passion for sustainability from her background in community service that produces lasting change. In working with the homeless and hunger relief organizations, the revelation of sustainability became a clear solution.  Mary-Kate holds two PDC certificates from the Austin Permaculture guild and Midwest Permaculture.  In addition she completed an Advanced Permaculture Teacher Training certificate and apprenticeship with Permaculture designer Bill Wilson. While completing her apprenticeship with Bill Wilson, she also served as the Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Sustainable Community and was the founding executive director for the Savanna Institute. The Savanna Institute is one of the first non-profit research organizations to partner with university research teams to study and implement permaculture designs as an alternative to corn and soy production in the Midwest. 

In meeting Nicholas Burtner, Mary-Kate found a kindred spirit, sharing the vision of the School of Permaculture’s goal to love and help as many people as possible into a more sustainable future.

Anita Mills

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Anita Mills is Founder of Anita’s Arbor, whose mission is to mentor and support the sustainable lifestyle. Anita loves to empower people, by showing them how to live a fuller, healthier, more resilient, sustainable life in an urban setting.

Anita has been an organic gardener since the late 1960s, has an enduring interest in low-tech solutions to sustainable living, and consults on community gardens, school gardens and personal gardens.

After many, many years in the corporate world, she was free to work as a garden manager at an organic food co-op for a year, building out their garden space with chickens, greenhouse, aquaponics and growing areas. In short, it became a demonstration of a backyard sustainable food system. It was also a diverse laboratory, with various containers or contained beds – because of probable contaminated soil on site. It allowed her to experiment with straw bale gardens, key hole gardening, and hugelkultur.

Anita also teaches how to upcycle household textiles (sheets, blue jeans) into rugs, and how to make soap. Her latest explorations include showing how to upcycle “trash” to start seeds and gardens, as well as kitchen-based garden pest control and soil tests.


Eric Seider

Eric Seider grew up in the suburbs of Rhode Island in The North Eastern United States, a cool temperate climate. His house was on 3/4 of an acre with a large garden, fruit trees and a short walk to the beach. He and his family would collect fresh mussels for dinner and preserve the surplus from the garden. Though too young to really appreciate it, it planted the seed which would resurface after graduating university.

Eric studied Graphic Design at university, and wilderness survival afterwards. Feeling trapped between two worlds the discovery of permaculture seemed like the best way to utilize his design and wilderness educations. The greening the desert video inspired him to take a Permaculture Design Course with world renowned Permaculture Design Consultant Geoff Lawton and soon followed that with an internship on Geoff’s farm in Australia. Eric traveled on consultancy and aid trips with Geoff and Nadia around Australia, Vietnam & China, joining Geoff and Nadia’s global permaculture consultancy team, PSC. He also became a director of The Permaculture Research Institute USA, a national non-profit with an aim of establishing self replicating demonstration sites around the world. In 2009 he worked as project manager for the Permaculture Research Institute of Jordan’s demonstration site. Working in such a harsh desert environment instilled in him a great appreciation for water conservation and the traditional Muslim setting illustrated the importance of culturally sensitive approaches & practices.

Eric has maintained a successful graphic design and brand development business while attempting to combine permaculture into the hospitality industry. The compromises proving too great personally he has grown tired of walking the fence between two worlds. This inspired a return to the Permaculture Research Institute in Australia in 2013 to focus on teaching with Geoff Lawton. Eric is now fully committed to furthering permaculture awareness through education and site design demonstration. Eric is very excited and honored to be joining the team at School of Permaculture and extremely motivated to help design in food security and soil building systems in North Texas and beyond.

Eric’s list of credentials on PermacultureGlobal.com

Nicole Rice

Nicole Rice

Nicole Rice is a passionate advocate of real food. She was raised appreciating foods in their natural form. Then, four years ago she again saw the healing power of traditional foods after using them to turn her health back around. Inspired by her experience she pursued a certificate as a nutritional wellness educator through Liberation Wellness. As a homeschooling mother of three, Nicole knows that time is precious and in today’s hectic, instant food society – kitchen skills have become a rare art. She loves to create better ways to help others bring healthy food to their table. Many people engage with her through her local Facebook group: Natural Food Source. Although not quite two years old, it has quickly grown through word of mouth and now connects 600+ people. These days when she isn’t digging in the garden with her hubby – Nicole spends her time teaching one-on-one and group classes. She loves to inspire culinary exploration and re-establish lost culinary skills.

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