The Sonoma Biochar Initiative, a project of the Sonoma Ecology Center, is offering two separate workshops about biochar and showcasing the conservation burn method, featuring instructor Peter Hirst, on Friday March 21, at Circle Bar Ranch, 25700 Arnold Drive, in Sonoma.

The morning workshop, from 8 a.m. to noon, features both hands-on, in-the-field training and a classroom style component. The focus will be on the conservation burn technique including the scientific theory behind the process, safety and permitting considerations, pile construction, burn management, and maximizing production of biochar.

The afternoon workshop, from 1 to 5 p.m., focuses on biochar, including how it works to improve soil, its many benefits, how to properly condition it prior to use, and how to apply it.  An informal social hour will follow for networking.

Workshop fees are $45 a session, or $75 for the whole day and participation is limited to 40 people in each. A portion of the proceeds will support programs at both the Sonoma Biochar Initiative and the Sonoma Ecology Center.

“Our previous training in February sold out and there is a lot of interest locally in biochar and in this burn technique. Any land managers with brush, prunings, or trimmings should be interested in learning how to improve their own ag burn practice,” said Raymond Baltar, director of the Sonoma Biochar Initiative.

“Learning about the benefits of biochar and how to use it to improve soil and sequester carbon adds greatly to our community’s need for climate adaptation,” he continued. “These trainings could interest vineyard, orchard and row crop managers, other land managers, students, ecologists, forestry and tree contractors, fire service personnel, and anyone with wood or brush surplus who normally does an open burn, or who is just interested in learning more about biochar, a remarkable soil amendment that helps to sequester carbon.”

To register, go to For more information, call Baltar at 291-3240 or email,