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All Programs

Moon Tribe for Girls

The Moon Tribe group starting Fall 2017 is full, but we'll be starting another group in Fall 2018! Contact us to learn more.

Download Fall 2017–Summer 2018 schedules for New, Rising, and Crescent Moons below.

Tuition: 
$1,000; $500 due upon registration, $500 by January 1
Nature and Community-Based Rites-of-Passage Program for Adolescent Girls.
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We are enrolling a new group of Moon Tribe girls this fall!

Moon Tribe is a long-term coming-of-age program for girls, beginning at ages 11 to 13 and continuing over two and a half years. Now in its 11th year, Moon Tribe has been a rich, fun, and life-changing experience for many girls and women.

Moon Tribe is designed to support girls as they move through early adolescence, learning about themselves and the world and discerning their identities as young women. The program weaves community and consciousness around potent issues for growing girls and nurtures each girl's innate strength in herself and in her relationships with the earth, her peers, women mentors, and the circle of mothers. Fathers and families are woven into the experience as well. 

“When I started Moon Tribe, I felt like I was a different person everywhere I went—at home, at school, and with friends. I always liked the person I was at Moon Tribe best, and now I feel like that’s who I am all the time!”
—Moon Tribe graduate

"I can’t promote this program enough, truly. It is a big commitment, but it will serve them well for the rest of their lives. Our daughter was enriched by Moon Tribe in countless ways. Her courageous and self-motivated decision to go live in China for six months, her incredible emotional maturity in facing our family challenges, and her deep and abiding love of nature, all have roots that were deeply established in her three years of experiences in Moon Tribe."
—Moon Tribe parent

Payment Plan: Upon registration, you may pay full tuition of $1,000; half tuition of $500, followed by a second $500 payement; or one-third tuition of $250, followed by three additional payments of $250 each.

Want more details about Moon Tribe? E-mail us.

Download schedules for New Moons (first year), Rising Moons (second year), and Crescent Moons (third year) below.

Snowy Owl Vacation Camp

Want to give this camp as a gift? Let us know and we'll send you a gift certificate!

For ages 7 to 12.

Thursday and Friday, December 28 and 29

Two locations: Sheffield, Mass., and New Lebanon, NY

9:00 am to 3:00 pm each day

Tuition: 
$110
Snowy Owl Winter Camp
Nature and Community-Based Rites-of-Passage Program for Adolescent Girls.
Come wander far and wide through the winter landscape!
 
We'll kindle fires and cook food, learn techniques for survival and comfort in the woods, track animals, and watch the winter flocks of birds forage in the forest and fields! 
 
Through stories and games, we'll learn about the natural world, and then set off on adventures to explore our environment firsthand.
 

Sacred Fire for Boys

Learn more about the program at an Open House on Tuesday, September 19, from 6:30–8:00 pm at Flying Deer!

Fall 2017–Summer 2018 dates can be viewed on our calendar, or scroll down to download a list of dates and events.

Tuition: 
$900
Sacred Fire: Boys' Rites-of-Passage Program
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Flying Deer: Naturalist Training, Deep Connection to Nature, Self, and Others

Sacred Fire is a three-year wilderness rites-of-passage program for boys who wish to undertake a conscious journey into adolescence with the heartfelt support of family and community. The essence of this process is to create a world of deeper connection with Nature, Self, Community and Spirit.

The Sacred Fire community includes three groups of participants (Crayfish, Buckskins, and Dogwoods), program graduates (Fireboys), instructors, parents, "uncles" (mentors), and elders. First-year participants are Crayfish, second-years are Buckskins, and third-years are Dogwoods. If your son chooses to enroll in the Sacred Fire program, with parent support, his family joins eight or so other new families in becoming a tight-knit Sacred Fire community. 

Each year, the Sacred Fire calendar year begins in October and ends in July, and each year the three-stage rites-of-passage journey repeats itself in a unique way. The year includes a weekend campout in the fall, Adventure Days one Saturday a month from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm throughout the school year (with the exception of January and February), family potlucks, a Mothers' Ritual, and a five-day Initiation Weekend in June. 

Download dates and a full program description.

How can you tell if your son is ready for a rites-of-passage program? If he is between the ages of 13 and 15, chances are the answer is “yes,” whether he knows it or not. Here are some specific signs to look for:

  • His body is starting to grow fast, his voice is dropping...
  • His relationships are changing, he is feeling the awkwardness of social scenes...
  • There is tension developing in his relationships (especially at home)...
  • You are hearing him say things that make you say, "Did he just say that?!"
  • He is hungry for more freedom, feeling confined...
  • His is beginning to look for real challenges...
  • He is interested in participating in a coming-of-age rite of passage...
  • His family supports him to do so!

Payment Plan: Upon registration, you may pay full tuition of $900; half tuition of $450, followed by a second $450 payment; or one-third tuition of $300, followed by two payments of $300 each.

Download a full description of the program below, as well as dates for the Fall 2017 to Summer 2018 year. 

Cottonwood Camp

For ages 6 to 12.

Cottonwood Week 1 (New Lebanon): June 18–22
Cottonwood Week 2 (New Lebanon): June 25–29
Cottonwood Week 3 (New Lebanon): July 2–6
Cottonwood Week 4 (Housatonic, MA): July 23–27
Cottonwood Week 5: July 30–August 3
Cottonwood Week 6 (East Chatham): August 13–17 
Cottonwood Week 7 (East Chatham): August 20–24

Monday–Friday, 9:00 am–3:00 pm

Cottonwood Camp I for ages 6 to 12.
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Cottonwood Camp Discount: You receive a 10% discount when you register two or more children for Cottonwood Camp at the same time, or when you register one child for two or more weeks of Cottonwood Camp at the same time. The discount will be automatically applied when you check out.

This week lies at the heart and soul of Flying Deer. It's an exciting day camp for children who love to spend time outdoors with friends, learning about the forest and all its valuable teachings: mysterious animal tracks, delicious edible plants, curious insects, shelter, primitive fire-making, and other wilderness skills, not to mention fun songs, games, and stories!

We begin and end our day all together with morning and afternoon circles in the Flying Deer tipi, and spend our days adventuring in age-based groups. Each day will feature a different aspect of nature and wilderness skills. The various interests of each group, along with discoveries and inspiration during the week, will influence the areas of focus and emerging themes from week to week. 

For kids aged 10 to 12, our oldest age-based group offers a step up in connection to self, community, and the earth. They'll work on more advanced naturalist and survival skills while taking a step toward leadership and role modeling. 

Cottonwood Camp in Berkshire County takes place at North Plain Farm (formerly Project Native) on Route 41 in Housatonic, Massachusetts. 

 

Woolly Bears Forest Kindergarten at Flying Deer Nature Center

This program is currently full; please e-mail us to be added to the waiting list.

10 Wednesdays from 9:00 am–1:00 pm

September 20 & 27
October 4, 11, 18 & 25 
November 1, 8, 15 & 29 (no class November 22)

Tuition: 
$350
Flying Deer Homeschool Program in New Lebanon, NY: Wooly Bears

For boys and girls ages 4 to 6. 

Fall 2017 semester runs weekly for 10 weeks, with a break the week of November 19–26.

The deadline to apply for financial assistance is September 1. Apply online or download an application.

Learn more about what our Woolly Bears days are like on our Forest Kindergarten blog!

Women in the Woods Days

Fall dates coming soon!

Tuition: 
$60.00 for one day
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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

Katydid Camp

For ages 4 and 5.

Monday–Friday, 9:00 am–1:00 pm

Katydid Week 1: June 18–22
Katydid Week 2: August 20–24

Katydid Camp for the littlest nature lovers.
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All the fun of Cottonwood Camp in a nurturing, rhythmic week. Children take part in a story-filled adventure exploring the abundant joy and wonder of the outdoors! We'll focus on creating comfort, fostering knowledge, and building self-reliance in nature. 

My daughter changed, grew, and became so much stronger through her week with you. She became so much more capable and able to take care of herself and be herself. She is brave! It was a miraculous change. I can see how much you have helped her on her path.
—Parent of a Katydid participant

 

Woolly Bears Forest Kindergarten at Bartholomew's Cobble, Sheffield, Mass.

This program is currently full; please e-mail us to be added to the waiting list.

10 Fridays from 9:00 am–1:00 pm

September 29
October 6, 13, 20 & 27
November 3, 10 & 17 (no class November 24)
December 1& 8

Tuition: 
$375
Flying Deer Homeschool Program in Sheffield, MA for Ages 4 to 6.

For boys and girls ages 4 to 6. 

Fall 2017 semester runs weekly for 10 weeks, with a break the week of November 19–26.

The deadline to apply for financial assistance is September 1. Apply online or download an application.

This program takes place at Bartholomew's Cobble, which takes its name from the twin rocky knolls created by geological upheavals when the Taconic and Berkshire ranges were formed. This National Historical Landmark supports 800 species of plants in forest, open fields, and freshwater marshes. 

Learn more about what our Woolly Bears days are like on our Forest Kindergarten blog!

Red-Tail Hawk Overnight Adventure

For ages 10 to 14.

July 9–13 (five days, four nights)

Red-Tail Hawk Overnight Adventure for ages 10 to 14.
Canoe Camp.

Soar into a weeklong immersion of Flying Deer culture, camping for five days and four nights as we take adventure, fun, and friendship to the next level! Campers make the forest their home as we ...

  • Practice leatherworking and make bone tools
  • Learn bowdrill and other fire-making methods
  • Concoct delicious meals using steam pits and other primitive cooking techniques
  • Stalk the nighttime forest in scouting games
  • Play "Leopards and Wolves"—Capture the Flag with a Flying Deer twist
  • Take Jedi Training ... and much more!

This camp is appropriate for nature-loving children who are emotionally prepared for an exciting week away from home. 

 

FOREST Program at Flying Deer Nature Center

This program is currently full; please e-mail us to be added to the waiting list.

10 Wednesdays from 9:00 am–3:00 pm

September 20 & 27
October 4, 11, 18 & 25 
November 1, 8, 15 & 29 (no class November 22)

Half-time dates: 

September 20
October 4 & 18
November 1, 15 & 29

Tuition: 
$500; $300 for half-timers
Cottonwood Camp I for ages 6 to 12.

FOREST (Friends Outdoors Relishing Earth Skills Together): For boys and girls ages 7 to 13.

Fall 2017 semester runs weekly for 10 weeks, with a break the week of November 19–26.

Deadline to apply for financial assistance is September 1. Apply online or download an application.

Read about our daily Homeschool Program activities on our In the Woods blog!

Enchanted Forest

For ages 6 to 9.

July 16–20

Monday–Friday, 9:00 am–3:00 pm

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A living story that unfolds among the natural wonders of the woods! We will use pine cones, moss, sticks, stones, and other foraged materials to create a tiny village for the forest’s magical beings to call their home. But what will happen when a mysterious force brings our little village to life, causing the forest to fill with faeries, wizards, ogres, elves, dragons, and other enchanted creatures? Join us for our adventures in the Enchanted Forest, and find out!

 

Cobblers Program at Bartholomew's Cobble, Sheffield, Mass.

This program is currently full; please e-mail us to be added to the waiting list.

10 Fridays from 9:00 am–3:00 pm

September 29
October 6, 13, 20 & 27
November 3, 10 & 17 (no class November 24)
December 1 & 8

Half-time dates:

September 29
October 13 & 27
November 10
December 1 & 8

Tuition: 
$550; $325 for half-timers
Flying Deer Homeschool Program in Sheffield, MA for Ages 7 to 13

For boys and girls ages 7 to 13.

Fall 2017 semester runs weekly for 10 weeks, with a break the week of Novermber 19–26.

Deadline to apply for financial assistance is September 1. Apply online or download an application.

This program takes place at Bartholomew's Cobble, which takes its name from the twin rocky knolls created by geological upheavals when the Taconic and Berkshire ranges were formed. This National Historical Landmark supports 800 species of plants in forest, open fields, and freshwater marshes. 

Read about our daily Homeschool Program activities on our In the Woods blog!

Camp Sherwood

For ages 13 to 16.

July 16–20 (five days, four nights)

Camp Sherwood for ages 13 to 16.

Enter the shadowy world of the scout, where we merge mind and body with the forest and learn to see without being seen. After undergoing a fun, challenging test to join Robin Hood’s merry forest ruffians, we’ll embark on a weeklong series of unforgettable adventures to dangerous lands as we set traps, seek gold, solve riddles, and save our friends.

 

Wolf Camp

For ages 11 to 13.

August 6–10

One day of day camp (9:00 am–3:00 pm) followed by a four-day, three-night backpacking trip. 

Flying Deer Wolf Camp

A small group of campers led by experienced instructors begin with one day of day camp, building our community and developing the knowledge and skills necessary for the journey ahead. On Tuesday morning, we trek into the mountains, where we climb summits, eat and laugh around campfires, and enjoy the freedom that backpacking provides.

 

Adirondack Canoe Expedition

For ages 14 to 18.

August 13–18 (six days, five nights)

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Paddle your way through the wilderness, making and breaking camp each day to the sound of loons, sleeping under the stars, and immersing yourself in the tranquility of the waters. Learn the skills necessary to make life comfortable miles away from civilization. This is a journey in the wild with an emphasis on practical skills and having a great time! Fishing included as an optional food-gathering activity!

 

Awakening Wild: Nature Immersion for Adults

A nine-month program meeting one Saturday per month, September through June (May meeting is a two-night survival challenge). Dates TBA.

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

Tuition: 
$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

"I joined this program as an outlet for connecting deeply with the natural world and the nature in humans. This we did, in spades. I came away with renewed connection and vision, as well as hard skills in making acorn flour, listening to what the birds are saying, and so much more. But the biggest gift of this program is a strong sense of sowing the seeds of a new culture—one that is based on the true nature of humans and our relationship to the world as conscious participants in the web of life."
—Sarah P., 2016–2017 participant

Reclaim Your Connection

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. Foraging edibles from forest and field, tending crackling campfires, slumbering quietly within a handmade shelter … these ancient birth rites await your return. Awakening Wild offers a slower, richer time and space in which you can awaken senses, bolster confidence, and strengthen connections with land, village, and self.

Awakening Wild is a nine-month adventure in wilderness living skills, community building, and nature awareness. Each day offers a special focus in wilderness living skills as we put our hands to work to create useful survival crafts, prepare wild foods, and construct shelters. The Awakening Wild experience is a balance between focused work time on projects and crafts; group time filled with laughter, stories, and song; and slowing to nature's gentle place. This balance calibrates mind, heart, and body, and returns us to our lives refreshed and inspired.

Nature Awareness

Deepening our connection with nature is the heart and soul of this program. Nature awareness practices help us deeply root into our natural surroundings and foster a sense of natural belonging as we:

  • Saturate our five senses in our natural surroundings
  • Listen for Bird Language—naure's communication network
  • Regularly visit one place in our environment—your "sit spot"—to remember our true nature.

Community Building

Like other social species in nature, human beings possess the power to work together toward a common goal. Discover the spirit of cooperation within a nurturing village atmosphere as 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.

Wilderness Living Skills

Wilderness living skills comprise the primary curriculum of Awakening Wild. Wilderness living skills prepare the body and mind to embrace the forest as a home. We approach these skills in the spirit of excitement, fun and collaborative work. We explore modern and primitive fire-making methods, construct single- and multi-person primitive shelters, harvest and prepare delicious wild edibles, and other survival skills. Whittling and knife-sharpening, knot-tying and tarp-setting, cooking over fires, and other camping skills are also covered. Each month highlights a different wilderness living skill.

September: Wild Edibles

  • Harvest edible greens, roots, seeds, and fruits
  • Identify dangerous look-alike plant species
  • Preserve and store surplus food for the winter

October: Bow Drill

  • Identify "friction fire" tree species 
  • Carve your own friction fire-making set—a “bow drill”—from hand-harvested material
  • Practice creating your own primitive fire

November: Primitive Shelter

  • Harvest sticks and leaves to assemble a compact, one-person “debris hut”
  • Design and construct a large bark-covered group shelter

December: Acorns

  • Crack, shell, chop, leach, and grind this nutritious local food
  • Prepare a scrumptious dish using acorn flour
  • Practice primitive cooking techniques

February: Wildlife Tracking

  • Learn the traits that distinguish each animal’s track and sign
  • Explore effective journaling techniques
  • Discover just how far you can follow the trail of a single animal in the forest

March: Bark Baskets

  • Create a watertight container using tree bark, suitable for use over the fire
  • Learn how to make a primitive "canteen"

April: Pack Baskets

  • Learn principles of basketry and useful local plant species
  • Create a totable pack basket to keep forever

May: Two-Night Survival Challenge

  • Set personal and group learning goals for the adventure ahead
  • Enjoy a weekend of primitive camping with your Awakening Wild village
  • Nurture a deep relationship with the earth you call home

June: Graduation

  • Honor the journey with an end-of-year celebration
  • Feed your community a sumptuous meal and hard-earned lessons from the year
  • Plant a secret gift for the next group of Awakening Wild participants

Our Time Together

Weekends at Awakening Wild are spent amidst hundreds of acres of vibrant forests, lush fields, and enchanting streams within the Taconic Mountains of eastern New York. Arriving each Saturday morning, we exchange stories over lunch about the emerging wildness in own awakening lives, and then dive into the day's wilderness living skill. Midday break offers time for group connection followed by quiet (and sometimes lively) time with the earth. Then it's back to hands-on learning as we complete our wilderness-living project of the day. Our time together concludes with sharing lessons learned and ideas for bringing Awakening Wild skills, routines, and awareness into our home and neighborhood.

Returning to the World

Awakening Wild is a transformational journey that helps us see the world with fresh eyes. It offers an expanded awareness of nature, greater comfort in the out-of-doors, a deepened sense of belonging to community, and a refined sense of purpose in life. The Awakening Wild experience is an adventure in discovery, and is open to all levels of experience in and knowledge of nature, open to every background, age, orientation, race, and ethnicity. We each have a unique place in nature and unique gifts to share. We look forward to creating a world that is ready for these gifts!

Tuition Information

Tuition: TBA. 

Payment plan available. 

Financial assistance available: Apply now.

Contact us for information about registration. 

Tracking Club with Josh Wood

For ages 18 and up.

Meets the first Sunday of each month from 9:00 am to noon.

2017 Dates:

October 1
November 5
December 3

2018 Dates:

January 21
February 4
March 4
April 1
May 6
June 3

Tuition: 
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.

Bird Language Club with Devin Franklin

For ages 13 and up.

Saturday, December 9, 8:00–10:00 am in New Lebanon, NY.

Beginning in 2018, Bird Language Club meets from 10:00 am–12:00 pm at our East Chatham location.

February 10
March 10
April 14
May 12
June 9
More 2018 dates to be announced.

Tuition: 
Suggested donation: $20 (no one will be turned away for lack of funds)
Flying Deer: Bird Language Club
Devin Franklin, Programs Director

Find Your Lost “Sneakers”!

Do you have access to a backyard with a handful of bushes, a nearby park with a few trees, or a vacant lot with some scattered wildflowers? If so, then it’s time to get to work—you have some lost sneakers to find! We’re talking about the wild, sneaking creatures who creep in plain sight, yet often go undetected by you and your neighbors.

Red fox, long-tail weasel, screech owl, Cooper’s hawk… How often do you witness these masters of stealth? Yet they are likely there, often right under your nose. Bird Language is a key to unlocking the mysterious lives of these and other wild neighbors.

Bird Language Club meets monthly to practice the art and science of listening to and interpreting the language of the birds. It’s a mind-blowing journey into a deeper awareness of our natural surroundings and our place in nature as human beings. In lush, bird-filled gardens, fields, streams, and forests, we:

  • Learn Bird Language basics (5 Voices of the Birds, Baseline Behavior, Shapes of Alarm and more)
  • Nurture stillness within ourselves as we quietly observe bird and wildlife activity around us
  • Engage in lively group sharing of our personal nature observations
  • Understand the Bird Language patterns and trends present in what we saw
  • Take a stroll together to point out examples of Bird Language in action on the landscape.

This program is supported by donations. E-mail Devin Franklin or call 518-669-3108 for more information.