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This ecological living guide was developed by Kibbutz Lotan's Center for Creative Ecology.

Learn more about:

The Center

The Center for Creative Ecology of Kibbutz Lotan is located in the Arava valley of the Israeli Negev desert. CfCE is rooted in Tikkun Olam – the Jewish concept for repairing and transforming the world.

It began with a small desert organic garden, and once we realized how much knowledge we had accumulated, expanded to become a unique ecological center that combines hands-on, experiential, environmental education within the framework of a living community.

Each project helps us evaluate new directions we wish to pursue. Utilizing creative recycling and alternative/natural building techniques, the center now includes an ecological theme park, migratory bird reserve, nature trails, recycling center, and constructed wetlands for treating the waste water of the entire kibbutz.

In early 2009, the CfCE was awarded a Green Beanie by, chosen from over 100 entries to be featured in their special section Eco Jews: Trends and Triumphs in Jewish Environmentalism.

Lotan is a member of the European branch of the Global Ecovillage Network and in 2006 received the organization's award for Ecovillage Excellence in recognition of its work in promoting ecological building, waste management and environmental education, and also for promoting sustainability through the building of bridges between different ethnic groups in Israel.

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Our Educational Programs

Our courses can help you enrich your life and preserve our world. Join us on one of our hands-on practical ecology training opportunities:

Green Apprenticeship -
Permaculture Design Course

Peace, Justice & Environment -
College Accredited Semester

Work/Study Eco Volunteering

Our programs train participants to understand and create alternative solutions for the issues facing the modern world. Our programs incorporate the following subjects, taught through both theoretical and practical instruction:

  • Local food production
  • Permaculture
  • Ecological design techniques
  • Natural/alternative building
  • Sustainable technologies - composting toilets, grey and black water purification systems, solar ovens, geodesic domes
  • Community Design
  • Environmental ethics
  • Organic gardening - growing vegetables from scratch
  • Natural and alternative building with mud, straw bales, tires, and trash
  • Composting - with food scraps and with the help of worms (vermiculture)
  • Permaculture design projects - ecological design from the garden and home to the workplace
  • Care of EcoCampus neighborhood - maintenance and development
  • Countless opportunities for individual or group eco projects

Looking for more?

Our 5–month MASA* Affiliated Green Apprenticeship expands upon the core curriculum with:

  • Hebrew Instruction 2 to 3 hours per week
  • Culture and history of the land of Israel
  • Educational trips to other areas of the country
  • Connections to community members through participation in kibbutz vocations
  • Volunteering in the wider Israeli community
  • NEW! Gain valuable teaching experience by becoming counselors in the Center for Creative Ecology's Summer Informal Education Experience. Qualifying Green Apprentices will spend their last month of the program as education interns on the ecology center's staff. Apprentices will join the Center's qualified educational staff in creating and teaching informal education programs based on the concepts learned over the previous 4 months!

*Some applicants will be eligible for MASA scholarships

In all our programs, practical skills are developed through hands–on work in our environmental education center, organic garden, and alternative/natural building projects, and complemented by classroom sessions in such topics as ecological design, permaculture, gardening theory, and community building.

You can find a full description of our programs, available scholarships and more by pressing the plus button located at the top-right of this screen.

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The EcoCampus Neighborhood

The EcoCampus neighborhood is a prototype model for sustainable living that is a learning experience in itself. It focuses on making a low carbon footprint and utilizing environmentally sound technologies.

eco campus arial
Kibbutz Lotan's EcoCampus includes 10 geodesic 'dome-atories', communal bathroom, showers, living space, outdoor cooking space, and kitchen.

The daily challenges of living together as a micro-community in this low-impact environment form an integral part of the educational experience.

The living quarters are 10 dome-shaped apartments, made of straw-bale and earth-plaster, built on earthquake resistant geodesic frames by past course participants and eco-volunteers.

eco campus domes
Our 'dome-atories' use the geodesic domes structure and are made from earth materials.

The neighborhood's infrastructure includes solar ovens, solar hot water collectors, solar photovoltaic panels, waterless sanitation systems, greywater treatment, vermiculture composting of food waste, and LED pathway lighting.


The dome-atories are super insulated (straw bales) with thick interior mass (earth plastered walls and floor) for temperature stability. The buildings are passively heated by sunlight entering the southern windows - the heat is stored in the walls and floors and heats the rooms at night with no need for additional mechanical heating.

inside dome
Inside a Lotan 'dome-atory'.

Selective window placement for ventilation cools the buildings in the evenings during the hot seasons.


Straw bales are a renewable agricultural waste product that is readily available. Earth plasters are a local material.

Together they produce walls that are energy efficient, fire proof (Israel Standards Institute performed fire testing with the CfCE) and carbon neutral (due to carbon sequestered in the straw).

Hands-on Construction

The geodesic framework is engineered to hold up to all loads and earthquakes. It was manufactured onsite by students using readily available steel pipe, a press and a drill.

The outdoor geodesic 'living room' is open sky during the winter and shaded during the summer.

The frame uses significantly less material than conventional building methods and is a low-tech and highly effective method for combining modern engineering with ancient building techniques to produce safe and energy efficient housing.

Participants are also interwoven into the daily life of our kibbutz, an intentional cooperative community based on the principles of liberal, egalitarian Judaism.

Students also have the opportunity to live what they learn on a day–to–day basis by staying in the GA EcoCampus –a prototype neighborhood for sustainable living.

Upon successful completion of the course work, participants will receive a Permaculture Design Course Certificate according to International Permaculture standards, as well as an Eco–village Design certificate, in accordance with Gaia Education Curriculum.

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Learn More

You can find a full description of the program, our neighborhood, available scholarships and more by pressing the plus button located at the top-right of this screen.

With questions, please write to us at:

logo source
Fun Fact: The logo for this app was taken from this photograph of a fig from Lotan's eco garden.

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Contact Lotan Center for Creative Ecology
Tel: +972 8 6356935; +972 54 9799030
Toll free (while in Israel): 1800 2000 75

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Creative Commons License
This work by Center for Creative Ecology, Kibbutz Lotan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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