Earth Sanctuary - Whidbey Island Nature Reserve, Meditation Parkland, & Sculpture Garden
Earth Sanctuary - A Nature Reserve and Retreat Center on South Whidbey Island, near Seattle Washington

Photo copyright Peter Raulerson
Chuck Pettis, founder of Earth Sanctuary.

ES Dolmen
The Earth Sanctuary team works together for maximum biodiversity.

Cottonwood Stone Circle
Many volunteers have given their time and energy to make Earth Sanctuary an extra special place.

About Us

Earth Sanctuary is the vision of its founder, Chuck Pettis. A long-time environmentalist, Chuck Pettis decided to take personal responsibility to enhance biodiversity and create a sustainable society by creating Earth Sanctuary. With a 500-year plan to restore the 72-acres of Earth Sanctuary to mature old-growth forest with maximum diversity of birds, wildlife, plants, and fungi, Earth Sanctuary is an exemplary model for ecological design. The goal: to truly "Design with Nature."

Author of the book, Secrets of Sacred Space, Chuck Pettis is also an expert on the design and creation of sacred spaces. Earth Sanctuary is an exemplary example of a sacred and peaceful place that uses eco-art to create inspiring and unique environments for personal renewal and spiritual growth.

The Founder

Chuck Pettis - visionary, designer, eco-artist, and author - is the founder and owner of Earth Sanctuary, a 72-acre nature reserve and meditation parkland on Whidbey Island, Washington.

Chuck Pettis - Evergreen Citizen of the Month

Over the past 25 years he has built numerous environmental artworks, among them labyrinths and stone circles. In 1977 he built the Ellis Hollow Stone Circle, the first energetically and astronomically aligned stone circle in the United States. In 1987 he created the "Seattle Ley-Line Map," utilizing a grant that the Geo Group (of which he is a founding member) won from the Seattle Arts Commission. The map, displaying ley lines that run through Seattle, is part of Seattle City Light's 1% for Art Portable Works Collection. For more information, visit the Geo Group web site at

Chuck Pettis received a B.A. in Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a M.A. in Design from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, where he attended Buckminster Fuller's Design Department. Fuller's holistic approach to design has continued to be a source of life-long inspiration for Chuck.

Chuck Pettis' interest in design and spirituality go hand in hand. He has visited and studied sacred spaces all over the world. His most recent book is Secrets of Sacred Space: Discover and Create Places of Power ($20, Llewellyn Publications, 2000).

As a dedicated practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, he deeply believes in the value of meditation. He says "I don't know anyone who meditates or prays too much. With Earth Sanctuary I've tried to create an environment that motivates and facilitates spiritual practice."

Chuck is an experienced and engaging speaker-both on the subject of sacred space, as well as branding and marketing. He is the founder and president of BrandSolutions, Inc., a internationally respected brand consulting and research firm that advises on the selection and use of trademarks, images, and corporate messages. His book TechnoBrands: How to Create and Use, Brand Identity to Market, Advertise and Sell Technology Products (AMACOM, 1995) has been published in the U.S., Italy, China, and India. He has written many articles and given over 150 speeches and presentations on advertising, public relations, and brand building.

Read Chuck Pettis' personal story on how Earth Sanctuary got started.

Chuck Pettis resides near Earth Sanctuary in Freeland, WA. He can be reached at 360.331.6667 or at

Featured Book

Secrets of Sacred SpaceSecrets of Sacred Space: Discover and Create Places of Power
- by Chuck Pettis (Llewellyn, 2000)

Earth Sanctuary News

Earth Sanctuary Fact Sheet

News Releases

Earth Sanctuary's Cutting-Edge Forest Management Plan is Designed to Speed Old-Growth, September 2011

Pacific NW Nature Reserve Designed to Restore Wholeness to the Human Spirit and the Environment: Island Meditation Parkland features Stonehenge-like Monuments, March 21, 2002

Megalithic Stone Monuments Being Built on Whidbey Island, March 3, 2002


There is a wonderful article on Earth Sanctuary by Carol Pucci in the January 22, 2009 Seattle Times Travel/Outdoors section - NW Weekend. The Earth Sanctuary labyrinth is the cover photo of the print pull-out section! There is also a great video of Earth Sanctuary by Erika Schultz.

A story on the Victory stupa appeared on the front page of our local paper, The South Whidbey Record.

The blessing ceremony for the Earth Sanctuary stupa got front page coverage in our local South Whidbey Record news paper. Thank you H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya and all the lamas and monks who participated in the beautiful and inspiring ceremony, as well as all who helped in some way. We circumambulated the future stupa site yesterday and it is like the stupa has already become present.

Earth Sanctuary is proud to be a regular feature on the TV show, Evening Magazine.

Earth Sanctuary is mentioned as one of 12 good reasons to visit Whidbey Island.

Andriana Fletcher, a film student at Pacific Lutheran University, recently contacted Sakya Monastery about producing a short documentary about Buddhism in America. She visited Sakya Monastery, the Pettis home and Earth Sanctuary to create this film about Chuck Pettis' practice of Tibetan Buddhism.

"Trees planted at Earth Sanctuary as part of 500-year design"
by Gayle Saran, South Whidbey Record, January 7, 2006

"Earth Sanctuary"
By Dan Borroff, Published in the Winter 2005 Washington Park Arboretum Bulletin and used with permission of the Arboretum Foundation

The Power of "Modern" Prayer Wheels
by H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya

"Haven for a Cause: In Quiet Places, the Spirit and the Land are Restored"
by Valerie Easton. Seattle Times (Pacific Northwest Magazine), June 6, 2003.

"Earth Sanctuary: A Holistic Vision of Nature, Art ,and Spirit"
by Victoria Scarlett and Joseph Anderson. The New Times, May 2002

"Energetic Support Minerals"
by Collen Marquist. The New Times, May 2002.

"The Start of Something Ancient"
by Matt Johnson. South Whidbey Record, March 20, 2002.

"Newman Ponds to Become 'Earth Sanctuary'"
by Jim Larsen. South Whidbey Record, February 28, 2001

Visitor & Retreat House Guest Comments

Visitors to Earth Sanctuary consistently come away with good things to say about their experience. Here are some of the comments that we've received:

"Since I first visited Earth Sanctuary, the vision of that beautiful marsh has returned to me in quiet moments. I am so grateful for such a beautiful place to visit and to be with nature. Thank you." -Alicia

"The integration of spiritual with the ecological is my religion and I adore seeing it brought to fruition." -Mahire

"Thanks for doing this for the planet. She loves it!" - Carolyn

"We would like to thank you for creating such a sacred place with your gifts and abundance of spiritual knowledge so that we could experience unforgettable energy and purity." -Dorian and Justin

"I really appreciate all of the efforts made to sanctify this area-inside and out. Even simple things like the cairns make the Sanctuary really feel like a sanctuary-a fully intentional holy space." -Andrew

"Thank you so much for the wonderful Lammas feast. It was a remarkable Lammas evening at your stone circle. I am in awe of the sacred spaces that you have created and humbled by how much I have to learn." -Dyan

"This is one of the most lovely spots on earth."

"Awed, amazed, moved...truly grateful for your spiritual gift on your land to others. Thank you!"

"Beautiful place. Thank you for creating this."

"My favorite place on Earth. Thank you for creating and sharing the magic."

"Wonderful grounding energy."


"I love it here."

"I LOVE this place and try to go once a year!! Very peaceful and meditative. Discovered it quite by accident."

"My first visit today and it was beautiful, thank you for this amazing place of peace"

"Earth Sanctuary is heaven on Earth! Thanks Chuck."

"My friend and I recently went to Earth Sanctuary which is an extremely spiritual environment. It is worth anyone's while to take the time to go. I am grateful that someone has been so mindful as to bring this stupa to fruition." -Marian Mecham

"Had the opportunity to walk through the sanctuary. Peaceful, calm and serene healing setting! I saw a beautiful type of lily blooming."

For poetic reflections written by Dorotha Carl about her experiences at Earth Sanctuary's sacred spaces, click here.

And from those who have used Earth Sanctuary House for an extended retreat:

"My stay has been calming.All is wonderful here: beautiful, claming, peaceful, elegant, nurturing, inspiriting, relaxing, intuitive, reflective, spiritual. Thank you for the opportunity to come and connect with earth and self. Interconnection. All life honored." -Semilla

"My stay here has been marvelous. The house itself is very well equipped with most things people will likely forget. It's not often that I have found a place that feels so good, and have been able to stay there, undisturbed." -Andrew

"The surrounding woods and trails with so much to see: mushrooms, huge trees, singing birds, salmonberry flowers, other wild flowers, streams - a beautiful place. Thank you!!" - Mrs. Lynn Rideout

"This is a place to get connected to Self and your Higher Power - a connection between all things, myself and the planet. What a wonderful journey I am choosing to experience."

"The Sanctuary provides the perfect atmosphere for meditation, reflection and healing. Sitting in the Heartstone area, I experienced deep "kensho" or realization that rare but welcomed in Zen practice." -Kakuzen

"I liked the sense of peace and protection that's here."

"I like the peace and tranquility- it is lovely and we love coming here! A great house!"

"It's January, the changing of the year, a time for death and the promise of rebirth. Among the brown leaves and wilted fern fronds, there are hints of new life to come. I found it inside myself too. Thank you." -M.E.

"After hours of trying 'too hard' in my centering prayer, hours of waiting to hear the still, small voice of God, hours of sitting, piecing together scraps of discernment that may or may not be at my heart, I was moved to tears one twilight when I came upon the Fen Stone Circle. The tiny cairn with its offerings in the center opened me. 'I want to belong,' I said aloud and fell to my knees, 'I want to belong.'"

The Team

Behind the beauty and peacefulness of Earth Sanctuary is an exemplary team of experts in wetland ecology, restoration, landscape design, and Feng Shui.

Heidi Oman

Heidi OlmanHeidi is responsible for managing the planting, maintenance, care of our ambitious tree program - to replant the entire Earth Sanctuary property with the optimal mix of trees.



Dan Borroff (left) and Dave Schmidt (right)

Dan Borroff and Dave SchmidtDan Borroff is Earth Sanctuary's landscape designer. He created the landscaping for Earth Sanctuary's sacred sites and its House, determining hardscaping as well as plantings. He is also the lead on Earth Sanctuary's revegetation project and supervises its implementation. Numerous articles have featured Dan and his award-winning work. An enigmatic character, concerned with the stewardship of the Earth, Dan's been described as "a fascinating mix of scientist and artist, idealist and pragmatist." He is the principal of Dan Borroff Landscape. Dave Schmidt has been in the horticulture business all his life. At Earth Sanctuary he's assisted with plant selection, and with his wife, Catherine, planted nearly 7,000 plants at Earth Sanctuary. Dave built the Earth Sanctuary Labyrinth and contributed to the Dolmen's hardscaping. He has a Masters degree in Restoration Ecology from the University of Washington and is interesed in working more with wetland and restoration ecology.

Kevin Fetherston

Kevin FethersonWetland, river and forest restoration expert. Kevin is one of the most experienced professional wetlands ecologists in the Pacific Northwest. Kevin is a consultant specializing in forest, wetland, and river ecology. He brings to the Earth Sanctuary 15 years of experience designing, constructing and monitoring wetland restoration projects. The Earth Sanctuary 500-Year Plan is the result of his collaboration with landscape designer Dan Borroff. The result is an ecological design synthesizing state of the art ecosystem science and landscape design.

Collen Marquist

Collen MarquistAs a Crystals expert Collen provided recommendations for which minerals to be placed beneath each of Earth Sanctuary's sacred sites, and assisted with their installation in several cases. As a professional environmentalist, Collen has worked with land use planning, electromagnetic fields, hazardous chemicals, salmon fisheries and air pollution studies. For seven years, Collen wrote the monthly column "Messages in Stone" for The New Times and co-authored the book Crystalline Communion 2000. As a psychic, Collen works with astrology, tarot, geopathology, and earth healing. Collen teaches Reiki, meditation, and the healing properties of minerals.

Bre Pettis

Bre PettisBre Pettis is a media-maker, video-blogger, creative consultant, artist, school-teacher and now, CEO of MakerBot (.com). Bre started working on megalithic monuments at the age of four when he helped with the construction of the Ellis Hollow Stone Circle in Ithaca, NY. At Earth Sanctuary, Bre helped with videos, blackberry clearing and blackberry vine sculptures.

Morgan Pettis

Morgan PettisMorgan Pettis, In addition to becoming something of an accomplished cairn artist, Morgan worked for several years as our Restoration Project Manager. Morgan has a background involving federal facility environmental compliance and was awarded the 1999 White House Closing the Circle Award for Environmental Excellence, while honorably serving six years in the U.S. Coast Guard. He now works at Amazon Web Services.

David Rousseau

David Rousseau, Photo © Chuck PettisDavid's expertise with Feng-Shui helped to determine the placement of trails and landscaping elements at Earth Sanctuary. David has over 25 years of practical experience as a designer, builder, and project manager. His current work is primarily as a specialized consultant for community planning, green building design, and guideline and incentive programs that have a strong emphasis on resource conservation, healthy communities and healthy buildings. He is the author of Environmental by Design and Healthy by Design: Building and Remodeling Solutions for Creating Healthy Homes. David teaches Ecological Design at the University of British Columbia, and is the President of Archemy Consulting Ltd, Vancouver, B.C.

H. H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya

H. H. Jigdal Dagchen SakyaKnown affectionately as "Rinpoche," His Holiness is Earth Sanctuary's Spiritual Advisor. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya was raised in Old Tibet to assume the role of "throne holder" of the Sakya School, a role third only to H.H. the Dalai Lama in rank. He is descended from a noble lineage, regarded in Tibet as an emanation of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom. His immigration to the United States in 1960 makes him one of the first Tibetans-in-exile in North America. In 1974 he co-founded the Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism[] in Seattle. Since then he has guided the Monastery as a non-denominational and ecumenical center for teachings about Tibetan Buddhism.

Mike Sweeney

Mike SweenyMike was the designer and fabricator of Earth Sanctuary's signs. Additionally, he created the metal inlaid sundial near Earth Sanctuary House, and worked on Blackberry vine sculpture installations. He is missed.


Celia Sullivan

Celia SullivanCelia is the caretaker of Earth Sanctuary House. In addition to that, she introduces and orients people to the Earth Sanctuary land and leads Labyrinth Walks. When she's not at Earth Sanctuary Celia teaches kindergarten on Whidbey Island. A vocalist herself, she enjoys teaching music in school performing arts programs. Celia lives in a house next to Earth Sanctuary.

William Rubel, Jody Rubel and Nikko Bowen

William Rubel, Jody Rubel, Kikko Bowen William Rubel, Jody Rubel, and Nikko Bowen formed the native plant restoration crew at Earth Sanctuary from 2003-2008. William Rubel is a graduate of Columbia University who has balanced a passion for ecological restoration and volunteer work with freelance writing. Jody Rubel is currently pursuing a career in music in New York City, with his fusion band, Sister Monk. William and Jody came to Earth Sanctuary after three years of co-managing their own market garden. Nikko Bowen came to Earth Sanctuary after several years as a seed collector for native plant conservation groups, and is currently a student and aspiring guitar maker.

Dolmen Installation Team (clockwise, from far left, Albert, Bre, Chuck, Morgan, Steven)

David Rousseau, Photo © Chuck PettisAlbert Gabelein has operated heavy machinery for a number of projects at Earth Sanctuary - from the construction of access roads to the installation of the dolmen. Albert has a lot of experience in moving large stones for hardscaping, and helped build the Mutiny Bay Stone Circle. He's run his Albert Gabelein Construction company for 24 years on Whidbey Island. Steven Gabelein enjoys working with his Dad and collecting rocks. He has helped with the installation and monitoring of bird nesting boxes, as well as brush clearing at Earth Sanctuary.