Highland Center for the Art and Science of Sustaining Culture

Highland Center Overview

Highland Center is evolving as an interdisciplinary facility for stewardship education and research, located in the Little White Salmon Biodiversity Reserve. This dramatic interface of the Cascade mountain range and the Colombia River Gorge gives rise to complex ecological systems and the possibility of productive working landscapes.


Highland is an ideal retreat for stewardship learning, where the simple and practical patterns of beauty through utility meet the quietude of old forest. Visitors are inspired by a sense of harmony and belonging in the landscape.

Highland is the capstone of the continuing, three decade project of the Little White Salmon Biodiversity Reserve.



Highland Center is located near Hood River, across the Columbia River in Washington state, just 50 miles east of Portland, Oregon, through some of the most spectacular scenery of the Columbia River Gorge. The Highland Center and Farm are perched 300m above the Columbia River.


Education at Highland Center:

Learning in the Building of it

In the spirit of Highland, the school is in the building of it; the creation of the educational facilities is itself an educational opportunity. Students and interns learn about the land by working on it, and learn about green building construction with their own hands. Everyone is a student, and everyone is a teacher, including the landscape itself.

Highland Center and Farm explores the relationships among science, art, culture, ecology, and local community development through a diverse range of offerings including:

  1. Workshops
  2. Lectures
  3. Performances
  4. Research internships
  5. Conferences
  6. Workgroups
  7. On-farm Cottage Industries


Current Facilities

Highland Center includes a functional core of support structures for farming, education programs, and administration. The current farmhouse renovation will significantly expand capacity to deliver our interdisciplinary vision for stewardship learning and sustaining culture. Please see the past events for a list of the many activities, workshops, and conferences that have already taken place at Highland.

Enterprise Development

Teacher Trainings

In collaboration with educators from around the region, place-based education methodologies and materials will be taught and developed to help facilitate a strong network of educators influencing the minds of the next generations.

Advanced Technical Training in Scientific Fields

As part of the advancement of STEM curriculum to help students develop relevant skills for career pathways:

  • Training in advanced microscopy, soil zoology, invertebrate imaging supporting the fields of predator and pest relations, beneficial insect breeding, etc…
  • Beneficial insect husbandry for the markets of pest management and pollination, live feed, insects for classrooms (ie: silkworms)

Commercial Kitchen, Cheese and other Value-Added Food Production

Elona Trogub is a Ukraine-born award-winning chef, farmer, goat herdess and budding herbalist blurring the line between food and medicine. Through Healing Traditions Foods, she produces popular, healthy prepared foods such as Veggie Pate found in both People’s Cooperative and Alberta Cooperative in Portland, OR. 

Herbalea Goat Dairy: Raw Goat Milk, Artisan Cheeses & Classes
Our growing (currently at 22) herd of Nubian goats produces some of the sweetest milk around. Once our milking parlor and cheese-making facilities are built and certified, we’ll be providing nourishing raw goat milk and cheeses to the Gorge community and beyond. Currently, visitors and students alike can participate and learn about herb-centered preventative goat care and hand-milking. We look forward to launching the dairy operation in 2017. Longer-term goals include certifying the dairy as Organic and producing our own feed year-round.

Witch In Kitchen: Medicinal Herb Products, Cooking Classes and Feasts
Reconnecting eaters with the ancestral experience of harvesting, preparing both the ingredients and the method for cooking (ie: starting fire from scratch), and experiencing the forest not as just a place, but as a nourisher, teacher and friend. Understanding the history of foods, the medicinal properties of wild and cultivated foods and building conscious cooking skills so that the pantry and medicine cabinet become intertwined and health becomes a beneficial by-product of one’s relationship to their landscape.  


With a scale-appropriate saw mill, we can effectively manage fuels reduction in the LWSBR, as well as provide firewood and building materials to our community.
Imagin authentic connection to sourcing materials for new home construction: families visit, select a tree and have it milled in specific proportions for building their house. The top is kept as a reminder of the life of the tree. Branches are provided for firewood and the family plants a new tree to replace the one taken. 

Luthier’s Instrument Production Shop
David King (bass maker), Andrius J. Faruolo (violin maker), and Byron John Will (harpsichord maker) have collaborated in the design and are now facilitating the construction of a professional instrument production shop sustainably sourcing materials from the reserve.

Heritage Grain & Oil Production

To foster a resilient local food system, heritage grains will be planted, harvested and processed to provide our partner bakery, Tabor Bread, with a source of heritage grains and oils.

Currently, camelina is being researched as a quality replacement for olive oil, a source for biofuels and a high-protein poultry feed.

Highland Farm Folk School

Partnering with the local organization, the Wood Elves and inviting teachers from around the region, ancestral skills will be taught, including:

  • Fiber Arts: Sheering, Carding, Dyeing, Spinning, Felting, Knitting, Weaving
  • Metal Arts: Metalsmithing, welding and fabrication
  • Wood Arts: Tree selection, downing, milling, laminating, carving, shaping, furniture making, instrument making
  • Food Arts: Growing, Preserving, Seed Saving (with a focus on creating a regional Seed Bank)
  • Ceramic Arts: Clay sourcing, shaping, firing, glazing
  • Animal Husbandry & Bee-Keeping: Breed selection, breeding, herbalism for pets and livestock, bee-keeping primers and master bee-keeping classes