Danielle Rita – 1851 Staff
Lydia Silva is dedicated to giving back. While she has many passions, all lead back to her underlying mission of helping the planet.
“When I was younger, I knew that I wanted to be surrounded by nature and connect with the natural world,” said Silva.
Silva, a new adjunct professor in the Environmental Studies Department, grew up exploring nature, and recognized the natural world’s value as a young girl. Silva grew up gardening, as both of her parents are active organic gardeners. Her initial inspiration derived from her experiences at her family’s homestead in Portugal on the island of São Jorge. The property contains about five acres of land, which are mostly occupied by vineyards for winemaking. Silva and her family rely on permaculture practices.
“I am very passionate about science, design, art, and education. One reason I am drawn to permaculture is that it allows me to weave these disciplines together in a meaningful way,” said Silva.
Silva shares Lasell’s value of Connected Learning. She is currently teaching a permaculture design course where students learn about self-sustaining organic agriculture designs. Silva has also been actively designing and implementing projects since 2009. Her students are currently implementing a permaculture design for an organic garden on site at the Center for Sustainability Office.
“I was very inspired by the concept of Connected Learning at Lasell,” Silva said “Permaculture is primarily a study of systems and connections—seeing patterns in the natural world and utilizing them in design of human systems.”
In addition to helping the planet, Silva is recognized for her natural leadership skills. Friend and fellow gardener Holly Polich describes Lydia as “totally game for anything.”
Silva has worked on many permaculture projects in the Berkshires, and was the head gardener and coordinator for the Permaculture Gardening Program in Japan, and the Permaculture Farming Program in Portugal. She was also the project manager for the Babson Community Garden Project, which was implemented in February 2012.
“She is driven to lead a well-researched professional life, with actions and results cultivated by her hands and by those of community-minded peers,” said her husband, Brian Moses. “Her positive energy, natural beauty, and spiritual nature are also a synergistic force to be reckoned with.”
Silva believes education is one of the most important stepping stones in life. When she isn’t saving the planet, she works as Cambridge Program Manager for the Science Club for Girls. Silva received her Bachelor of Art Degree in Education, along with her Master’s in Education from The University of Massachusetts Amherst.
“I love learning and sharing knowledge with others,” Silva said. “I seek to create co-learning communities where everyone learns from the skills and talents of others in the group. My favorite part of working with children is seeing them gain confidence in their abilities and empowering them to become leaders in their communities.”
Silva’s next project is to transform her two-acre yard into a permaculture and demonstration garden with Moses. She intends on constructing a forest garden complete with a chicken coop and perennial vegetable polycultures.
Moses identified a corn stalk as the plant Silva most closely resembles.
“Well, every one of her ideas starts out as a small kernel: maybe yellow, or even blue, white, or red,” Moses said.” She loves being near other kernels, preferably in a tidy row, where she can then grow tall supporting something of significant value to a lot of people.”