"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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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!
Payment plan available.
Financial assistance available: Apply now.
Contact us for information about registration.