Get to Know Us

Our History

Early days of Moonshadow and Talis Springs

On a Cumberland Plateau escarpment in Tennessee’s own Sequatchie Valley, a family homestead was conceived with inspiration from the innovative publication, The Whole Earth Catalog (in print from 1968-1998).

                                                          In 1971, Johnny and Carol, their two sons, and Carol’s retired parents moved to Cartwright Loop in the beautiful Sequatchie Valley. They all began clearing land, planting gardens and orchards, and building a home (see: Moonshadow).

In 1996, the family realized that their knowledge of the fascinating location and bioregion, natural assimilation of sustainable lifestyle, and experience in ecological construction and technology could form the basis of the Sequatchie Valley Institute. This unique setting became home to an educational 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and a model for sustainable and regenerative living. Remaining deeply integrated with the forest ecosystem, this outdoor haven also enjoys a role in the community as an event/retreat center.

The Residents

Quite industrious, the family utilizes much of their time quite at home in their beloved Sequatchie Valley, designing and building  works of art and also connecting with others through their full and truly dazzling base of dear friends and family.

         Carol Kimmons

Carol of Sassy Shadows Pottery and Ceramics



BS in Geology                        MS in Entomology & Plant Pathology

S.V.I. Roles:                                   – Director of Education & Research                                      – Head Gardener


The organization and operation of S.V.I. has been increasingly important and rewarding in Carol’s life. She greatly enjoys guiding tours and sharing her valuable knowledge and warm smile with adults & children alike.

Carol has enjoyed being an adjunct professor in Biology & Environmental Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has taught in Nigeria (Peace Corps), India, Haiti, and the Sequatchie Valley, and was an agricultural research scientist in Guam. She has worked for many years in adult education and has written two books for adult beginning readers. Other interests include hiking, canoeing, and ceramics/pottery. Find Carol’s ceramic work displayed at the Liquidambar Art Gallery.


Check out                             Sassy Shadows Pottery         by clicking this link.Sassy Shadows Pottery in Liquidambar Art Gallery at Sequatchie Valley Institute


Johnny Kimmons



S.V.I. Role:                – Master Builder

BS in Geology, &    MS in Biology, University of New Mexico


Johnny has great talent, vision, and interest in the structural  operations at S.V.I.  He excels in the challenging and rewarding work of designing, building, and maintaining the carefully and skillfully placed structures on the land.

Johnny has enjoyed teaching Biology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He has also taught science in Nigeria (Peace Corps), Turkey, India, Haiti, the Sequatchie Valley, and Guam. Johnny is an avid tennis player.

PatrickPatrick McIntyre Kimmons Ironwood


BA in Third World Research & Development, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

S.V.I. Roles  –  Founding Director, Director of Architecture & Landscape, and Site Manager

Patrick has traveled extensively in Asia and South America, studying the effects of technology and agriculture on society and the environment. He has been an peace/environmental and social justice activist since 1986.

With a natural deep affinity for ecology, and an equal love for his  Patrick moved back home after college in 1989 to create a working model of sustainability. In 1992 he became a certified Permaculture & Eco-Village Design instructor. He has taught workshops and courses on edible landscaping, appropriate technology, and postmodern homesteading.

Patrick has a broad range of interests, enjoying all manner of wilderness/primitive skills  –  from wild-crafting to rock-climbing. Over the years, he has blossomed as a professional visionary artist, traveling across the country exhibiting his work at art shows. Find a collection of his work in the Liquidambar Art Gallery. He loves being a Daddy to his two marvelous children, Sage and Anakeesta.

Patrick at the TN Arts and Crafts Fair at Centennial Park in Nashville, art, artisan, traveling artist

This link will take you to the Nature of Reaction Facebook page.

2 thoughts on “Get to Know Us”

  1. Hi Carol!
    So lovely to talk to you today. Thank you for taking the time with me to share your wisdom.
    As the last weekend in October draws nearer, I will touch base about whether it works for us (the both of us!) to visit.
    Kind regards,

  2. Dear Patrick,
    I don´t know if you remember me ,
    I travelt to you and youre familly in 1987
    for about 30 Years with my sister
    I hope youre enjoy youre life, best wishes from
    germany for you and youre family.
    Hopefully we meet again one day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

research and education in sustainable living