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Adult Programs

Women in the Woods Days

Fall dates coming soon!

$60.00 for one day
Flying Deer: Wilderness Subsistence Program

Celebrate the gifts of the seasons and increase your knowledge of the land. These sessions include making plant and tree medicine, wild crafted baskets, and delicacies with wild edible plants. Experience how the earth provides for you and feel the exhilaration and rejuvenation of meeting natural challenges with the support and fun of a community of wild women. 

Michelle Apland and Tes Reed, with decades of experience leading girls and women in nature, create and guide each session.

Women in the Woods was my idea of a perfect day. Michelle and Tes held our circle so skillfully, from beginning to end. Half an hour into the morning, I had already learned so much about the plants and trees I live with. And the day just got better—more plant friends, delicious wild food, inspiring fire making, peaceful sit spot, magical cord making, and sharing stories that made our circle of strangers into a circle of sisters. I went home feeling happy, connected, and alive.

—Jane Bernstein

Wilderness Subsistence Project

August 16–20, 2017

For adults (ages 18 and up).

$450. Financial assistance available.
Flying Deer: Wilderness Subsistence Program
Canoe Camp.

An Overnight Survival Adventure in Feeding Yourself Within Community

Rewild yourself with the gifts of the earth, supported by the power of community.

Learn how to harvest abundance from your local natural landscape. In this life-changing four-day immersion, you’ll identify common wild edible plants growing in your bioregion. We’ll harvest with respect, process with e ciency, cook with zest, and eat with pleasure! As we form a village-style community of families and individuals of diverse ages and backgrounds, we will work and play by day, and sing, dance, and laugh at night, spawning a culture of deep nature connection. This experience is about more than yielding the gifts hidden within our local natural landscape—it is about discovering the gifts of our shared humanity.

More details ...

Preparation: Learn the food systems that govern survival in nature. Gather edible plants, practice hunting and trapping, and process and store wild foods.

Survival Challenge: Subsist solely off wild foods, utilize primitive cooking techniques, and thrive in a collaborative village atmosphere within a fireside circle of laughter and community.

Celebration: We’ll return to a sumptuous feast, reflect on the lessons nature has taught us, and share our vision for living more sustainably at this pivotal time on the planet.

Your relationship with the natural world will be forever changed. Read more about the program below ...

When, if ever, have you spent the entire day eating only what you gathered from the land around you? What would it be like to do this for four days and nights, within the tight-knit basket of resilient, motivated, fun-loving community?

Wilderness Subsistence Project is a four-day wilderness survival immersion that guides adults to live with the land, not just on the land. This is not a full-survival program in which you spend four days alone in the wilderness without knife, sleeping bag or water bottle. This is a semi-survival program that focuses on two themes specifically: Food and Community.


In this program, you will learn how to provide yourself, family, and community with nutritious, abundant wild plant and animal foods. You’ll have the opportunity to learn how to identify common wild edible plants that grow in your bioregion, and how to process, store and cook them. You’ll have the opportunity to practice hunting and trapping techniques that can be used to procure wild protein. As a village you will spend four days in preparation for your survival experience.

In your preparations, you will…

  • Scout the landscape to create a map of available “food larders” (dense, abundant sources of calories such as colonies of cattail, stinging nettle and blackberry)
  • Learn powerful sensory and observation skills to awaken a deep awareness of your natural surroundings
  • Assemble various survival crafts (such as digging sticks and drying racks) to help process the wild foods we will gather
  • Harvest, process, and store wild edible plant foods for later consumption (such as dried raspberries and amaranth flour)
  • Dry and store meat for later consumption.

Once your village is prepared, you will enter a survival experience. During this time, you’ll be subsisting on these pre-harvested foods, plus any extra calories you harvest during the survival experience. This will be a challenging but rewarding process! Time in nature will flow like a river as you gather ripe berries amidst birdsong at dawn, slice fresh burdock roots by the blazing fire, and nourish yourself with rich stews, contagious laughter, and stories from the day as night softly falls.

During the survival experience, you will…

  • Spend much of each day using skills of foraging, hunting or trapping (based on your interest) to procure food for the village
  • Assist the village in processing and cooking harvested foods
  • Have the opportunity to spend leisure time practicing other survival skills (such as crafting baskets, constructing a shelter or assembling a natural water filter)
  • Nourish and empower your relationship with the land through practicing sensory and observation skills.


Wilderness Subsistence Project offers participants an opportunity to experience group wilderness survival. Anyone who has experienced group wilderness survival understands the value and importance of teamwork in this situation. Wilderness Subsistence Project unfolds the simple concept of “teamwork” into a dynamic, resilient model that can allow a group of strangers to organize into an effective, highly organized, yet organic and flexible team that can not only “get it done,” but also flourish as a small community. During this program, you can plan on taking a role that is unique and needed both in your survival quest and by your community. You will also deepen your awareness of nature and discover that you are an integral part of the natural community around you.

The Future

The post-petroleum future draws nearer. When it arrives, what will you eat? Where will it come from? In short, what regenerative food systems may one day replace supermarkets and Amazon deliveries? In addition to small-scale local farming, what role might the ancient subsistence methods of hunting, trapping, and foraging play in nourishing our communities? What concepts, models, and visions for resilient communities and regenerative food systems await discovery?

After your wilderness survival experience, you may feel more open, connected, and alive. These are all symptoms of nature connection. From this experience of nature connection, you will have an opportunity to reflect on your experiences and dream new dreams for our future. What bright things can you envision for the future of our children and their children?

On our final day, we will gather together for a potluck with the larger community—the family, friends, and colleagues we’ve invited—to share the stories of our adventures and the visions in our hearts. Food provided will be largely contributed by local farmers, and will include a small offering of wild foods from our program.

Responsible Challenge

This survival program does not encourage pushing physical limits to the point of collapse. While that kind of experience holds many valuable teachings, this program approaches wilderness survival as a means to deepen our connection with the earth, learn valuable (and fun!) skills in finding and obtaining food from the natural landscape, explore effective and resilient community action models, envision a hopeful future for our planet, and facilitate inspired relationships within the local community.

In a full survival situation, one’s needs for shelter, fire, water, and food each and all require attention. In this semi-survival program, our attention is on food. This means that during the survival experience we will allow most of our survival needs for shelter, water, and fire to be met with a few simple modern supplies, such as sleeping bags, water bottles, and skillets. This will allow us to push the edges of our knowledge, skill, and experience as we attempt to subsist solely on “wild” calories. During the survival experience, you will have an option to supplement meals with helpful staples such as salt and oil. Program activities do not include the hunting or trapping of protected wildlife, but meat will be included in the menu during the survival experience.

Tracking Club for ages 18+

Sundays, 9:00 am to noon

New dates for Fall 2017 coming soon!


By donation
Flying Deer: Tracking Club

Flying Deer's monthly Wildlife Tracking Club is a great opportunity for adults to further their nature education and knowledge of the local wildlife, and spend time in the fields and forest. Whether you're approaching the art of tracking for the first time, or have been tracking for years, the Tracking Club offers something for you!

Explore local habitats and find animal tracks and sign-clues that reveal a wealth of information. While interpreting what we find in the field, we open a window into the lives of the local wildlife. Expect to find yourself well off the beaten path, traveling down hidden deer trails and peeking into the rocky refuges of porcupines! Learn how to stay on the trail and how to identify animals, track patterns, scat, scent markings, bones, nests, and more. 

We’ll visit locations throughout the region as we learn to:

  • Identify animals by their tracks
  • Recognize scat and other animal signs
  • Recognize animal gaits and patterns
  • Uncover mysteries!

This program is supported by donations. E-mall Josh or call 413-329-1017 for more information.

Awakening Wild: Nature Immersion for Adults

A nine-month program meeting one weekend per month, September through May.

Fall 2017 dates coming soon!

For NYC residents, we provide a free shuttle to and from the Wassaic Metro-North station.

$2,250 (payment plan and financial assistance available)
Flying Deer: Naturalist Training, Deep Connection to Nature, Self, and Others
Flying Deer: Wilderness Subsistence Program
Flying Deer Wolf Camp

Connection. Challenge. Transformation.

“The wilderness holds all truth and knowledge.”

Reclaim Your Connection…
Come to know the goldfinches as they chatter in the evergreens, and learn to recognize their reactions to the hunting hawk. Learn to know the tracks and sign of the creatures that have passed by, and where to find the edible and healing plants in the forest. Discover ways to make a difference on the planet in small but powerful ways. Bask in community as you share your own gifts, stories, and creativity, within an intentional design of deepening connection.

Experience the Wild…
As the urbanized world expands and the natural world shrinks, there is an emerging longing to experience the wilderness around us and the wild within. Awakening Wild offers an ongoing experience of fun, exciting nature immersion to awaken our senses, bolster our sense of comfort and confidence in the woods, and strengthen our connection with the natural world. You'll be guided on a life-changing journey composed of four distinct yet intertwined educational pathways: nature connection, permaculture design, community building and wilderness skills.

Nature Connection
Deepening our connection with nature is the foundation for all we experience and learn in this program. The Core Routines of Nature Connection will help us deeply sink our roots of awareness into our natural surroundings and foster a sense of natural belonging as we:

  • Exercise fun, dynamic ways to expand the senses
  • Develop fluency in the language of nature through listening for Bird Language
  • Hone keen observation and interpretation skills through wildlife tracking
  • Cultivate a sense of belonging through regular visits to one place in nature—your “sit spot.”

Wilderness Survival Skills
For countless millennia we humans have walked the earth with confidence, allowing our beloved land to provide us with all our needs of food, water, tools, shelter, medicine, fire and more. Awakening Wild develops competency in:

  • Making fire, including fire by friction
  • Constructing primitive shelter
  • Identifying, harvesting, and preparing wild edible and medicinal plants
  • Making brain-tanned buckskin
  • Crafting bark pack baskets.

Community Building
Like other social species in nature, human beings possess the power to work together toward a common goal. Unlike other species, however, this cooperative power is latent until activated by a safe, nurturing village atmosphere. Discover the spirit of cooperation and a feeling of belonging as together we:

  • Give voice to authentic gratitude
  • Approach projects, tasks and challenges with effort and laughter
  • Share songs and storytelling around the fire
  • Explore a nature-inspired, roles-based system of collaboration.

Permaculture Design
Permaculture is a creative design system that helps provide human needs while maintaining or increasing the health of the ecosystem. We will explore a set of intertwining permaculture principles as we:

  • Observe (up close!) the interacting forces of decomposition, wind, sun, soil, water flow, topography, and human and animal activities
  • Design and a create a wild edible foods garden.

How we’ll spend our days…
Our days are spent exploring the hundreds of acres of forests, fields, and streams, and our nights are spent in our woodstove-heated yurt. Our focus during a particular day or weekend will relate to what is happening on the landscape at that time, such as harvesting and processing acorns in the fall or tracking mammals in the winter. Each day will include stories, active routines, and reflection. In the evening, we’ll cook and eat together while telling our stories of the day, then gather around the fire for socializing, music, and celebration. Sunday mornings, we will practice our bird language routine—sitting together on the land to listen and observe, then regrouping to map what we’ve learned. Sunday afternoon might be dedicated to permaculture and ecology lessons on the land, which will eventually lead to the practice of design.  Then we’ll circle up once more to check in and close the weekend.

What you’ll take back into the world…
Along with extensive wilderness and leadership skills that you can use in multiple settings, you will leave this program with a deeper awareness of all living things and of the world around you. Having gained an experiential understanding of the functioning connections on the land, you will be able to work more effectively toward healing our planet and ecosystem. You will also find yourself with a greatly enhanced ability to build and nurture community, wherever you are and whoever you are with. This program offers you the support and reflection you need to connect with your own gifts and take the next steps to enact your vision.

Payment Plan: An initial payment of $750 is made upon registration, followed by one of three options:

  • Three payments of $500 each, with a $10 fee added to each payment (due November 15, January 15, and March 15)
  • Two payments of $750 each, with a $10 fee added per payment (due November 15 and February 15)
  • A second payment of $1,500, with a single $10 fee (due November 15).

Need financial assistance? Apply now.

Contact us for information about registration. For questions about the program curriculum, contact instructor Kevin Bose at or 413-347-0283.