The Center for Sustainable & Cooperative Culture at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

Live lightly

aka Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage   |   Rutledge, MO   |


The mission of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is "To create a society, the size of a small town or village, made up of individuals and communities of various sizes and social structures, which allows and encourages its members to live sustainably. To encourage this sustainable society to grow to have the size and recognition necessary to have an influence on the global community by example, education, and research." The purpose of the CSCC is to use the example of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage to catalyze the creation of a resilient, sustainable world, by inspiring individuals and communities to take action to reduce human harm to the natural world and create livable, sustainable cultures through our outreach, experiential education programs, and research.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Danielle Williams

Main address

1 Dancing Rabbit Ln

Rutledge, MO 63563 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Dancing Rabbit, Inc.



NTEE code info

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage (DR), we understand how difficult it can be to live sustainably and responsibly within modern US culture. We believe that we can work to build a healthy alternative: a social structure that is both non-exploitative and vibrant. As our village grows, we see this ideal take shape more clearly every day: a diverse range of people living sustainable lives in a community that truly serves as an example of cooperative human interaction within the natural world.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?


We educate the public about ecological sustainability through our website, our newsletter, public speaking engagements, public tours of the ecovillage, our internship program and our sustainable living visitor program. We have hundreds of visitors every year, and several interns spend the summer for an intensive learning experience. We demonstrate sustainability by generating our electricity sustainably, growing our food organically, building our housing from reused and low embodied energy materials such as straw bales, running our shared vehicles on a fuel made from vegetable oil called biodiesel, restoring our land to native habitat, etc. Ecological covenants on our land trust prohibit the private ownership of motor vehicles, stipulate that we reclaim organic and recyclable materials from our waste stream, and mandate a few other aspects of a sustainable lifestyle.

Population(s) Served

Every year, hundreds of people get hands-on learning and an immersion in sustainable culture through our Sustainable Living Visitor Program. Through tours, classes, hands-on workshops, shared meals, and other activities, our three-week immersion program offers a real experience of sustainable living as well as practical tools for creating change.

Population(s) Served

In conjunction with Midwest Permaculture, we offer an annual Permaculture Design Certification course in a rich ecovillage setting. Permaculture is all about creating sustainable human habitat. What better place to learn about sustainable human habitat than an ecovillage?

In fact, last year one of our students told us:

"I’m sure a PDC offered any ole place is as transforming and educational as this one was, but here [at Dancing Rabbit] it was magical. I laughed, I cried, I ate better than ever, I opened myself up to new experiences and I just really felt the love that exists here.”

Bill and Becky Wilson of Midwest Permaculture are inspirational and gifted teachers, and they have experience with living in intentional community in their home town of Stelle, Illinois. Sharon, a Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage member, assists Bill and Becky with the course each year.

The course is based in our beautiful Casa de la Cultura. The village, gardens, and agricultural lands of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage are the laboratory. This course provides abundant opportunities for hands-on learning!

Although course days are packed full, there will be opportunities to learn about Dancing Rabbit, connect with villagers, and participate in village activities.

Population(s) Served

The Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is delighted to offer a three-day experiential program for high school students. Through generous funding, we are able to offer this opportunity free of charge to two selected high schools in the St. Louis area.

Through this program we intend to:
* create connection between Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage and urban youth;
* enhance the experiential learning of students around planetary sustainability;
* convey both social and ecological technologies for balanced human culture;
* reach a generation who don’t yet have established lifestyles and can imagine and 
create lifestyles that may be different from what they have seen so far; and
* plant seeds for leadership.


* Participants will stay in tents in our wooded campground. We will provide platforms and tents. We ask the participants to bring their own bedrolls (pillows and blankets). We may be able to assist with additional bedding if needed.

*There is no electricity in the campground. We will provide a flashlight for each participant. Electricity is available in the village Common House.

*Participants will use composting toilets.

*Showers will be available in the village’s Common House.

*Nutritious whole food meals will be served: lunch and dinner on Day 1; breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Day 2; and breakfast and
 lunch on Day 3.

* Activities will be held in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Educational Activities

* The program will follow this general schedule:
Day 1: Arrival, welcome, set-up, orientation, tour, evening activity
Day 2: Morning workshop, afternoon work party, evening activity
Day 3: Morning workshop, afternoon Q&A, individual or small group project development, evaluation, clean-up/pack-up and good-bye

* Workshop topics will be based on objectives outlined by the participating group and our Education Coordinator. They may include such topics as: renewable energy; building with natural materials; local and organic food-raising; resource conservation; cooperative economics; communication and conflict resolution; and permaculture design.

* Work parties may include opportunities to work with villagers in gardens and orchards, food preservation activities (canning, fermenting), natural medicine-making, home building, or other community service activities depending on the season.

* Additional activities may include: campfires, prairie walks, informal conversations with villagers, games, and communication exercises.

Population(s) Served

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is a natural builders’ paradise! Experienced builder Hassan Hall, one of Dancing Rabbit’s leading natural building artists, will lead this hands-on workshop focusing on techniques for creatively building straw bales, earthen plaster, and lime plaster.

During the workshop you’ll build two kinds of straw bale walls, and apply both lime and clay-based plasters. You’ll work with base coats, rough plasters, and finish plasters. You’ll also make clay and lime-base paints, and do a mosaic art installation. You’ll take away natural building knowledge and experience that can be applied anywhere, including an existing home. All of this, set in an ecovillage committed to learning, living, and sharing ways to live more lightly on the earth!

Also in this workshop, you’ll help create artful, affordable, and environmentally-sustainable shelter. You’ll take a tour of naturally-built homes at Dancing Rabbit, and learn what you need to consider when building or retrofitting your own sustainable home. You’ll see how earthen walls fit into the context of foundation, frame, and roof, and how to select appropriate materials for exterior and interior walls.

This one-of-a-kind workshop will provide you with:

-new insights into human shelter and a deep understanding of the important role natural building can play in these unpredictable climatic times
-an understanding of how a building’s foundation, frame, roof, and walls fit together in design and construction
-sensory experiences of natural material mixes and how to adapt them to your needs
-practice with a variety of building tools
-tips on what requires detailed attention, and what can be “quick and dirty,” so you can build both artfully and efficiently
-exercise, laughter, and a dozen new friends!

Most of the workshop will be experiential and hands-on, working with a variety of natural wall-building techniques:

straw bales
earthen plaster
lime plaster
clay and lime-based paints
tile/stained glass mosaic

Population(s) Served

Singing has been a backbone of human culture for millennia. Whether used for storytelling or recreation, the magic of song has been an essential means of expression, connection, and celebration. You can take part in this ancient tradition with us. Bring your voice to help weave together a wondrous community through song.

No matter your talent, age, or skill there is a place for you at Singing Rabbit. Come and explore singing together within a thriving ecovillage. Join a community with a strong song culture and a rich background in using song in song circles, important life events, and everyday life. Spend your Labor Day weekend with us, out in nature, surrounded by laughter and music.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of controlled burns in the area(s)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We believe in human interaction for the benefit of nature. Controlled burns allow under-story plants to establish and for some native grasses to properly germinate and flourish.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

By integrating ecological, economic, social and personal technologies, Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage models a lifestyle that maximizes quality of life while minimizing resource consumption and carbon emissions. Among the social and environmental ills we address most directly are climate change and social isolation.

Dancing Rabbit Inc acts through:
Education--sharing skills and information, making the lessons of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage widely known and accessible, and providing inspiration for people and communities to evolve to the next level.
Research into ecologically and socially sustainable living, including village scale technologies.
Supporting the development, growth, health and increasing sustainability of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.

While our programs serve a wide range of people, we are interested in becoming more effective through reaching existent and emerging change-makers who are influential in their own areas, including individuals, practitioners and planners. We see young people as potential change-makers, and have some focus on youth. We aim to attract and work with fellow thought leaders, to provide mutual inspiration and learning.

Our focus is on the developed world, as we see our most effective leverage for global influence to be changing the practices, policies and mindsets of the populations with the greatest per capita negative ecological impacts on the planet.

Our five-year goals are as follows:
Expand our reputation and role as a thought leader, sought out for our educational programs, published works, research, speakers, and expertise.
Create mutually beneficial partnerships with a variety of institutions (other nonprofits, universities, etc.) that will help us multiply our impact.
Build a professional, robust, organization that is sustainably funded and well staffed with individuals with strong and relevant skill sets, knowledge and passion for their work.
Inspire the formation of new communities (residential and social) and the transformation of neighborhoods.
Work cooperatively with the ecovillage to meet both the village and non-profit infrastructure needs.
Assist Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage to become more sustainable and fulfill its potential as a center for research and education.

In order to make ongoing strategic decisions, we ask:
How strongly does the program/initiative advance our mission? How impactful is it?
Is there current organizational capacity, or will the program/initiative build it?
Is it financially viable?
Is there a high benefit for the cost (including time, money and energy)? (We consider this in light of the triple bottom line model: people, planet and profits.)
How well does it target emergent/existing change makers?
How well does it build DR Inc.'s brand and/or leadership capacity? (Includes both the leadership capacity of DR in the sustainability world and individuals within DR.)

Each program is also considered based on:
How well the project contributes to our programs being balanced; and
How well it contributes the health of the Ecovillage

Although Dancing Rabbit strives for some level of self-sufficiency and economic independence, we do not sequester ourselves from mainstream America. Rather, outreach and education are integral to our goals. We vigorously promote ourselves as a viable example of sustainable living, and spread our ideas and discoveries through visitor programs, workshops, academic and other publications, and speaking engagements.

The Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture has supported Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage's success into it's 22nd year. Through the sustainable and cooperative practices occurring on a daily basis, we have established a lifestyle in harmony with the natural world surrounding us. We have in turn shared these practices, insights and experiences with many visitors, an extended web audience and the communities movement at large. Furthermore we have pursued a culture that questions mainstream practices of consumption and other unsustainable living practices.

We will continue to expand our membership and the skills we are offering. Our available programs have expanded in recent years and will continue to inspire those individuals that we connect with. We will continue to research viable solutions for combating climate change and living lightly. This will be done both to inspire the audience we are engaging and to improve village we are promoting.


The Center for Sustainable & Cooperative Culture at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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The Center for Sustainable & Cooperative Culture at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

Board of directors
as of 03/03/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Sara Peters

Sue Ann Kortkamp

OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and Children's Hospital of IL

Cecil Scheib

Urban Green Council (US Green Building Council, New York)

Jessica Watson

Wings of Hope

Ed Pultz

Joshua Lockyer

Arkansas Tech University

Chong Kee Tan

Bay Bucks

Stephen Shapiro

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

Sara Peters

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

Kyle Yoder

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes