Welcome to CECLA

Center for Ecological & Cultural Living Arts

2020 is slated to be a rewarding year for continuing existing work and undertaking new and exciting ventures related to the environment, sustainable living, ecology, and land restoration.

CECLA’s big initiative is the TerraTrek project! Currently in the planning phase, TerraTrek is proposed as a yearlong journey to tell stories and expose challenges related to the environment all over America. This ambitious undertaking will increase awareness and empathy for the environment, inspire appreciation for the natural world, and grow the community of problem solvers, activists and stewards of the earth.

Our Mission

CECLA is dedicated to practicing, teaching and celebrating community-based ecological and cultural living arts.  Our mission is to research, apply, and demonstrate the skills and processes of sustainable living, through small-scale organic farming, multiple-resource management, and community-building through educational and cultural programs.

To meet this mission, CECLA has the following objectives:



A key goal of CECLA is to work to offer educational programs and workshops pertaining to small scale organic farming, and resource ecology and management. Taking advantage of the diverse scientific and cultural expertise of our staff, we have a wide range of programs.

Please contact us for more information.

  • Public Workshops
  • Internships and College Partnerships
  • High School Credit for Community Service
  • Children’s Programs


It’s generally believed that small scale organic farming is beneficial to the environment. To help document how various ecological resources respond, CECLA is designing scientific studies to help monitor how various aspects of the ecological community respond to the farming and land management activities we practice. Where practical, we’ll partner with educational institutions.

We’ll also use our ecological expertise to assist other organizations when they require research investigations on ecological resources.


CECLA is about celebrating life, and culture and community are key aspects of this. As our infrastructure comes together, CECLA will be planning and scheduling a wide variety of activities and events to foster a broad and inclusive community.

Please watch our web site for information about music events, festivals, and farm days, as well as various meetings, holistic health programs, and free land stewardship programs.

In addition, we invite groups who wish to schedule picnics, meetings, field days, and so on, to contact us about the possibility of using our land and facilities.

Please consider scheduling your event with us


CECLA offers a number of services to landowners and other non-profit organizations (such as land and conservation trusts), to help identify, manage and conserve natural resources that can benefit from sound stewardship. Our focus is on identifying resources, and then helping you to integrate those resources into a comprehensive conservation plan, and meet your goals for your land, whether it be farming, recreation, or commercial. We focus our services on:

  • Wildlife Conservation Plans
  • Land Planning
  • Wetland and Stream conservation planting plans
  • Agricultural Drainage and Erosion Control Plans
  • Ecological Restoration Plans
  • Ecological Surveys Natural Resources, Wetland Delineation, Rare Species Surveys


currently is headquartered in Saco, Maine, in southern Maine. The property abuts the large Heath Preserve of the Nature Conservancy.

How Can You Be a Part of CECLA’s Efforts?

Help Support our Mission

CECLA is a non-profit organization. We pride ourselves on running a simple operation with reasonable costs that are primarily generated from our small-scale farming operation and education programs.

As such, support from sponsorships and contributions from members are critical in helping us achieve our goals in providing a range of education opportunities and community programs.

Please consider becoming part of our community in one of the following ways:

Center yourself in the world.

Live the Culture and its Arts!

International Partnerships

CECLA is pleased to announce new partnerships with indigenous communities to provide unique adventure & cultural learning vacation opportunities and volunteer opportunities in the Andes and Amazon of South America in Ecuador and Peru, and with the Guna Yala community of Panama.

Starting in April, CECLA will be offering 7 to 10 day trips, both scheduled and flexible, to both destinations, with proceeds going directly to the indigenous communities.

Activities will include hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and much more.

Hands on experience will be provided in harvesting and use of beneficial medicinal plants and herbs, traditional weaving, making reed pipes, and much more.

Indigenous Partners

Throughout our travels in Central and South America, we’ve encountered a wide range of indigenous peoples holding on to their cultures in the face of pressures of development, deforestation, and sale of ancestral lands, to support unsustainable large-scale agricultural operations, modernization, and the misguided belief that they need to westernize before they can be considered anything other than third world. These pressures usually end up destroying native lands and tearing apart communities, and discouraging native customs and values. Many communities, however, have a strong desire to live contrary to these destructive options, in ways that enable them to continue living their traditional lives that will preserve their culture and identity. They find themselves in a struggle, sometimes lacking the tools and knowledge to be self-sutainable.

The Quechua of the high Andes..the Salasaca of Ecuador..the Shuar of the Amazon..the Guna of Panama…to name just a few.

Our staff at CECLA have ties to these cultures that we work to strengthen in ways that benefit both their cultures and ours.

First and foremost: we have a great deal WE can learn from THEM with regards to small scale agriculture, low impact lifestyles, living simply, and community values. Through stories, discussions, and various linkages, (including in some cases potentially having our members be able to communicate with them via email) our members will have the opportunity to have windows into their lives, thoughts, and views. On occasion, we’ll be trying to arrange a visit or two from them.

Secondly: We’ll be exploring ways in which we can help them with their economic reality by supporting their efforts at maintaining their culture and teaching them to be more self-sustainable. In many places, small family gardening practices, once a common traditional knowledge, have been abandoned in exchange for chemically enhanced mono-culture crops, which they often sell to buy food from large-scale farming operations. Most crops are grown with pesticides and chemical fertilizers, which are completely unregulated in these countries. Many farmers die from exposure to these chemicals. The most unfortunate part of this situation is that, through the eyes of most farmers, there is no other option. They no longer remember traditional methods or how to grow food sustainably. But families in small communities (who almost all grow crops) are interested in learning the tools which will allow them to care for their lands and the health of their families, growing food sustainably. It is our hope at CECLA that we can do our part to bring them this knowledge, starting at the community level, and helping it spread to neighboring communties.

All of these cultures have unique artisans and craftspeople, and many produce goods that may be of interest to our members. We’ll highlight some of these crafts on our web site, and in our lodge. Weavings from Alonso Pilla, master weaver of the Salasaca culture; soaps produced by farmers committed to sustainable agriculture in the Darien Province of Panama, and so on.

In this way we hope to do our part to strengthen the global community, share cultures and perspectives, finding out what works best to lead us into a better future.

Agricultural Sustainability

Cultural Preservation

Community Engagement


Cash donations can be dedicated to our general budget, or targeted specifically to some item or project. For example, you can donate money for a sitting bench along our trails, a shovel for the farm, a window (or a wall!) in our lodge, a visitor/staff yurt, and so on. We’ll recognize your contribution to your approval through signs, tags, newsletter, and other ways.

You may also visit our most recent project, TerraTrek, and make a donation. This would be greatly appreciated. Visit the TerraTrek.org Support Us page.