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Adult and Teen Programs

Bird Language Club with Devin Franklin

For ages 13 and up.

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.

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.

Tracking Club with Josh Wood

For ages 18 and up.

Meets the first Sunday of each month from 9:00 am to noon (and on the third Sunday in January 2018).

2018 Dates:

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

By donation
Flying Deer: Tracking Club
Josh Wood, Assistant Programs Director

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.

Hide Tanning Workshop

For ages 16 and up.

Friday–Sunday, May 25–27:
Friday, 5:00–9:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 am–5:00 pm


Brain-tanned buckskin has been used for making garments and accessories from the Paleolithic to the present. 

We’ll take you through the entire tanning process, transforming a deer hide into a beautiful, functional material. 

Women in the Woods Days

2018 dates coming soon!

$60.00 for one day
Canoe Camp.

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

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).

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

Next iteration begins Fall 2018.

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.