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Sacred Earth Foundation

About the Organization

Our Mission

More commonly known by the place-name Ekone Ranch, Sacred Earth Foundation (SEF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to activate children and adults to love the earth deeply and wisely, through stewardship of the Rock Creek watershed, authentic community experience, and place-based education.

SEF protects and and actively stewards 1,200+ acres in the upper Rock Creek watershed, an important tributary of the Columbia River. We also share the land with hundreds of visitors each year, through Ekone Summer CampsWhite Eagle Memorial Preserve conservation burial ground, school field trips, retreats, workshops, and gatherings for adults, families, and children.  

After removing abandoned buildings and piles of trash that once spoiled the beauty and integrity of the land at the edge of Rock Creek Canyon, Ekone campers and staff built this medicine wheel with stones taken from the foundations of the old buildings, and celebrated their restoration work.  This site is now at the corner of the burial grounds.

Our Vision

A world in which people are connected to place and care radically for the planet, each other, ourselves, and all life.

Our Values


We prioritize healthy ecosystems in all of the workings of the organization. We...

  • Maintain and restore the integrity and health of the upper Rock Creek watershed

  • Promote healthy habitats for native plants and animals.

  • Encourage healthy forest growth through active management for diversity and resilience.

  • Manage invasive species, always seeking a balanced and healthy ecosystem.

  • Protect our air, waters and soils through careful management practices and ongoing learning and improvement.



We practice experiential community with all who are connected by and to this land. We...

  • Seek and embrace participation from a diversity of backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives.

  • Value personal responsibility, collaboration and initiative, with each of us giving more than we take, recognizing that all contributions are given freely and without recourse.

  • Honor the gifts and skills each person contributes and strive to see that all people receive fair and respectful treatment.

  • Commit to conflict evolution and resolution and embrace interpersonal challenges as opportunities for growth.

  • Apply sound principles and best practices, transparency, honesty and fiduciary responsibility in our organizational culture.

  • Utilize the framework of “For the Good of the Whole” in our organizational decision making.  



We foster a culture of inquiry, curiosity and life-long learning. We...

  • Promote deeper relationships with self, with others, with the earth and with all of life.

  • Cultivate a hearty work ethic, a sense of purpose in the world, and a bias for action and appropriate risk-taking.  

  • Practice and teach compassionate communication, constructive team work, creative problem solving and work as play.  

  • Recognize horses in particular as colleagues, mentors, and allies in stimulating the personal growth and capacity necessary for healing the earth and human communities.

  • Prioritize the education and empowerment of children, as the future change-makers and keepers of this world.

  • Employ a joyful approach to this work and have fun on the journey.



We are accountable for our impacts and our place in the lineage of earth stewards. We...

  • Learn from those who came before us, the native peoples of this place, our ancestors and elders, and the past generations of Ekone stewards.

  • Use ecologically sound principles for food cultivation and animal husbandry, with respect for the soils, plants and animals that nourish us.

  • Practice and promote natural burial, turning our last act into a gift for the earth.

  • Apply principles of natural horsemanship in the riding, training and care of our horses, modeled on studies of wild horses and the teachings of visionary trainers.

  • Employ innovative technologies for clean energy production and conservation, striving for infrastructure systems that are life-affirming.

  • Value children as the keepers of our future world and work to inspire and prepare them to be good stewards of ecological and social vitality.



We see our connection with all things and humbly acknowledge that the bounty and beauty offered by the earth sustains our lives. We...

  • Recognize that the earth is not a possession of humanity; SEF lands will not be treated as a personal asset or commodity, nor sold or encumbered except for the greater good of the land and mission.

  • Value our connection to all species, knowing that animals have intrinsic rights and are powerful teachers and healers.

  • Recognize the common life that courses through us all and stand in wonder at the mystery of this sacred earth.

Organizational Structure

Sacred Earth Foundation is an old organization with a young structure, having grown into a model of shared leadership since the death of founder Ray Mitchell in 2007.  Roles have been created, articulated, and clarified; leadership has been cultivated among board and staff; and clear agreements and expectations have been created by and for residents, staff, board members, guests, and program participants.  Please view our Organizational Chart for a snapshot overview of how we’re structured now.

Strategic Plan

Our board of directors, staff, residents, and key advisers met in 2012 and 2017 to create and develop our Strategic Plan, which we are delighted to share with you.  From this foundation and the ongoing needs of the organization, the land, and the people we serve, we set our annual initiatives and workplan. 


A small organization with a modest budget, we are proud and grateful that Sacred Earth Foundation is financially sound, with clear fiscal management policies and an engaged board of directors exercising fiduciary responsibility.   Since becoming a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2009, we have filed IRS Form 990 annually and are pleased to share our records with you.

Coming up!


April 19-21 Forestry and Spring Cleaning Time!

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