Project Work and Documentation

Ecological Design and Cultural Transformation

Adventurous Travels, Project Work and Fulfilling, Sustainable Living

by Laura Kaestele

October 2014

Output Packet 2 - Capstone Phase - Bachelor of Science - Integrative Ecosocial Design

Wild rainforest - Connecting with magnificent nature


Welcome to the second Output Packet about my work in the field of ecosocial design, personal transformation and cultural awareness. I am a capstone Bachelor associate in Integrative Ecosocial Design at Gaia University. The main themes in this project are nature, culture and community with the context of travelling in Southeast Asia, December to May 2014. I was collaboratively working in permaculture and community projects on the practical implementation of sustainability with micro-projects on a personal, community and world level. On the other hand, I gained a wider perspective through my travel experiences, especially the contrast of spending the summer in the UK increased my understanding of cultural and worldview patterns.


  • Gain practical skills in permaculture, gardening, natural building and sustainable living

  • Explore how to lead a healthy and happy life in connection with nature and myself

  • Experience collaborative work and community building across cultures

  • Reflect on and raise awareness of cultural, worldview and political patterns

  • Learn more about design tools, practice experiential doing and action learning

  • Share my project work, design practices, travel and learning journey with GaiaU and the wider field

The key process was action learning with on the ground, hands-on work and experiments complemented by the application of design tool for permaculture, ecovillage and personal development. At the heart of this project lies my love for nature, fascination for cultures, joy of travelling and deep wish to help and contribute to ecosocial regeneration. After all, the beauty and diversity of life inspires me with a sense of aliveness, wonder, hope and connection to be an active change agent.


Specification – provides a clear structure and introduces my recent project work and learning journey, sharing inspiration, purpose and key learnings

Project – presents an overview of projects activities and action learning cycles as well as outcomes, development and professional growth

Design – articulates the design frameworks, principles and methods applied in the overall learning process, individual projects and creation of this Output Packet

Personal – shares my observations on ecological living and practices for nature connection, healthy food, exercise and spirituality in designing a healthy & happy life

Community – outlines efforts in community design and ecovillage development in addition to experiences in teamwork, collaboration and leadership

World – explores permaculture design, gardening, appropriate technologies and natural building as well as political themes around globalization, worldview analysis and cultural patterns experienced while travelling

Pathway – shows the integration of OP 2 into my pathway planning and learning design, with clear re-connection to my strategic goals as well as updates on program management

Integration – summarizes the key outcomes and learnings of this project, outlining nuggets of wisdom, new goals, next steps and open questions

Supportive Material collects multi-media resources including an annotated review, additional material documenting the design and outcomes of this project, GaiaU participation records and journal entries

Process Reflections - displays my final reflections reviewing the OP process and implementation with further comments on my un/learning experiences

Continue report

Guidelines for Readers

This Output Packet (OP) is part of my online portfolio using the web technology Mahara to document and share my action learning experiences with GaiaU. You can navigate by clicking through the tabs at the top or “continue report” button at the end of each page. The displayed mindmaps have a legend explaining their colour code and can best be viewed full screen. All links incorporated in the text are optional reading and marked in bold words.

Furthermore external resources, images and graphics are referenced in the footnotes of the respective page, in addition to an annotated resource review. Designing from patterns to details the OP structure mindmap outlines core report and supportive evidence (not included in word count), please use this as an orientation to decide about your depth of engagement with the material.

Thank you for taking the time to read the report and please contact me for further questions, feedback or collaboration by emailing

OP Content (optional)

My Calling Question (optional)

… The art of asking powerful questions has the ability to take us into rich, adventurous inquiries and push thought edges. Such an inquiry holds space for emergence, the unknown, intuition and possibility to live into the answers.

My interest is to explore and design ways to live and work in harmony with nature and create sustainable human communities. Therefore I came up with the following key question for this learning journey: How can we create practical on the ground solutions for ecological regeneration and live in a connected, sustainable way as individuals, communities and cultures?

Feedback Integration (optional)

View this document to read my reflections and integration of feedback from previous OPs.

Creative Commons license

Resource References

Picture - Wild rainforest: Photo taken by Laura Kaestele in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

Picture - World Cloud: Created on to highlight key words of this report

Website - Gaia University:

Output Packet: Previous Output Packet, Learning Intentions and Pathway Design LIPD with feedback attached on first page


Laura Kaestele
09 November 2014, 7:20

Here is my self-review form, looking forward to collecting and integrating some more feedback for the coming OPs :)

Amber Marraudino
09 November 2014, 18:39

I learned so much from your OP!

Laura Kaestele
10 November 2014, 17:34

My peer review of  OP3 about the Jump and Sprout at Penacook Community Garden by Sophie Viandier.

Another PoDAPO review cycle complete, also posted on the first page of her OP.

Nicole Vosper
08 December 2014, 7:19

Nicole Vosper
08 December 2014, 7:20

Inspiring work Laura!