5 Month Residential Program

This is a 5 month immersion program where you will delve deeply into primitive living, cultivate a caretaker relationship with the land, build community skills and activate your own wild awareness. 

The 2021 program runs from June 1st to October 31st

An Overview of the Program:

Throughout the entire program you will live with human and non-human creatures in a primitive village in the woods. Each day you will learn new skills that enrich and inform your daily life. That may look like giving away your old hat after making your own felted one or adding a new wild food to your meal. We personalize our instruction to cater to your passions and innate gifts. If you find yourself on fire about a certain craft or skill, we will empower you to nurture it. Igniting that passion is what is so magical about these skills. They change you. They show you the way home. They teach you about who you are and where you are going. This is why we feel so called to do this work–to help you find your vision and send you on your way to become more of who you have always been. This program was created to offer a foundation that supports your vision far beyond the end of your time here. 

Part of what creates such a powerful experience is becoming a caretaker of the earth. No matter what you are learning, this way of interacting with the land is woven over and under all we do. Using your mind, your senses, and the feelings in your body, you will discover how to let the land speak through you. When you can channel this ability, it changes how you harvest the willow for baskets, what you do with the hide scraps from hide tanning, and which groundnut roots you dig up for dinner. You become aligned with the land in a deep way. It’s a profound relationship that all of our early ancestors had with the land they were born from. It is your birthright to reclaim it for yourself.

Another important component of the program is community skills. Living in a resilient and fulfilling community is a skill set that is impossible to perfect but empowering to work on. You will learn new ways to connect and support each other, and more authentic ways of communicating. We will celebrate our accomplishments and break-throughs together, and learn to see things from each other’s perspectives. You will use disagreements as opportunities to learn about each other’s needs. Committing to experiencing joys and challenges together creates a deeply rooted trust, which is a true treasure in our modern world. As the seasons pass, we will evolve into an integrative team with the power and flow of the hive mind. 

Along with community skills, you will start to retrain your senses. You will open to a wild awareness through carefully designed activities. Every day when you wake, you will feel a little more in tune with your surroundings. You will start feeling the forest instead of only seeing it. The animals soften into your presence and you soften into theirs. You eat with a coal burned bowl made from a fallen branch of the cedar tree that you walk by every day, and your gratitude for that tree runs deep. You can feel the cedar in your bones. Each of these skills, whether it is tanning hides or flint knapping, activates a connection that your body has been longing to remember. It is up to you to return home.

List of Skills Covered:

  • Caretaker Role
  • Permaculture and Nurtureculture training
  • Community Skills
  • Communication skills
  • Sensory Awareness Skills
  • Knife and tool skills/safety
  • Make your own canvas tarps, tarp skills and knot tying
  • Debris hut and other short term survival shelters
  • Long term shelter and primitive shelter techniques
  • Blacksmithing Knives
  • Buckskin, bark tanning, fur-on pelts and other ancient ways of tanning skins.
  • Making Primitive Clothing & Sewing techniques 
  • Traditional felting techniques and felted clothing
  • Wild fibers, primitive spinning tools & weaving on handmade looms
  • Water procurement, purification, storage and utilization
  • Bark, Rawhide, Wood and Gourd watertight containers
  • Primitive Pottery
  • Basketry; made of wild gathered materials such as birch or willow. 
  • Kayaking, canoeing, sailing
  • Friction fire Methods; bow drill, hand drill, pump drill and others.
  • Fire skills and coal carrying
  • Primitive Cooking 
  • Wild edible harvesting, processing and cooking
  • Wild Edibles from the sea
  • Medicinal Plants and medicine making
  • Hunting and Trapping techniques
  • Rawhide crafts and braiding techniques
  • Animal processing
  • Bone tool making
  • Stone tools
  • Bow making
  • Camouflage, tactical awareness, concealment, and stealth skills
  • Tracking and animal behavior
  • Bird Language

Excursions you will embark on:

  • Sail, canoe and kayak out to explore some of Maine’s Islands.
  • Multiple day wild rice harvesting overnight
  • 3 day Moosehead lake region trip
  • Survival trip on one of Maine’s islands

Living Setup:

Sleeping: For the first week or two, you will be sharing a wall tent with the rest of your forest family. After that, it’s up to you. You can stay under your own oil tarp that you will be making during the first week. Or build your own debris hut from leaves and sticks. And if you’d like, you can share a long-term shelter that the group will construct together. 

Kitchen Setup: We have a primitive cooking setup with a fire pit and rocket stoves to cook on. There is some kitchenware provided and you will work towards making your own bowls and utensils to use throughout the program. There is a sink supplied by rainwater catchment, and spring water for drinking.

Bathroom/Shower Setup: There is a composting toilet and tick checking station. For bathing, you can choose between a small pond or two different streams. There is even a waterfall five minutes upstream if you want a primitive high-powered shower on a hot summer day. 

Food: There are gardens full of cultivated plants available to you, and many areas throughout the land that you can harvest wild edibles from daily. We provide the majority of food, and give each person $15 a week to spend on personal snacks or special treats. 

Monthly, Daily and Weekly Rhythm: 

Our immersion program for 2021 runs from June 1st to October 31st. The progression of these skills follows the sacred order– mindset, shelter, water, fire, food. We move through each one as the season progress, until you feel a deep-rooted reverence and competence for what it means to live with the earth. 

Each week is roughly compromised of the following elements:

Your forest spot: This is a sacred learning place that you will form a deep connection with. You will visit it almost every day through out your 5 month experience, practicing different awareness techniques, meditations, giving offerings to, caretaking, and sitting quietly & observing of what is happening around you. This place becomes a portal for you to awaken into a world where you become truly part of nature. 

Morning instruction block: Three-hour morning workshop blocks, which are usually a mix of hands on skills and educational lectures.

Afternoon open hours: Two-hour afternoon blocks where you can work on any skill you’re feeling especially passionate about with one-on-one help from the instructors.  The afternoon open hours could also turn into another workshop block for certain skills that need more time and attention. 

Check-in meeting/community meal: A check in meeting to get a sense of how people are feeling, what they would like more/less of, and some show and tell from the past week; followed by a big community wide potluck meal.

Day-long excursions or immersions: One day a week is reserved for off site excursions, like sailing out to fish for mackerel while exploring Maine’s islands, or intensive blocks that need a larger chunk of time, like building debris huts or softening hides.

Rest Day: Rest days are for taking care of personal needs, going on group outings to see some of Maine’s special places or working on projects that you’re excited about.

Community activity or game: One night a week we have a community activity. Sometimes we play fun stealth games, have a guest speaker, or engage in sensory awareness activities like a drum stalk. 

The following sample week & sample day are to give you a general idea of what the rhythm of your day to day will look like. It is lose framework that we use to make sure your time living here is a good balance between learning and free time.

Sample Week

This is the basic format for each week. This may change due to weather, extra day excursions, the need for more intensive instruction blocks for certain skills, etc.

Monday
Rest Day
6pm: Weekly check-in meeting and community meal  
Tuesday
Morning nature connection spot
9am-12am: Morning instruction block
3pm-5pm: Afternoon open hours 
Wednesday
Morning nature connection spot
Day-long excursion or foraging trips 
Thursday  
Morning nature connection spot
9am-12am: Morning instruction block
3pm-5pm: Afternoon open hours
7pm- Community activity or game 
Friday
Morning nature connection spot
9am-12am: Morning instruction block
3pm-5pm: Afternoon open hours 
Saturday 
Join in on scheduled adult workshops.
If no workshop happening that weekend:
Morning nature connection spot
9am-12am: Morning instruction block
3pm-5pm: Afternoon open hours
Sunday
Join in on scheduled adult workshop
If no workshop happening that weekend:
Rest Day

Sample Day

  • 7am:Wake up & spend half hour in nature connection area.
  • 8am: Communal Breakfast
  • 9:00am–12:00pm: Tracking in leaf litter. 
  • 12:00pm-3pm Communal Lunch and afternoon self-care and rest time.
  • 3pm-5pm: Hanging out together, weaving a birch plaited baskets or folding pine bark baskets. 
  • 6pm: Communal Dinner.
  • 7pm: Awareness activities and fire stalk.

Cost & Financial Aid:

The cost of the entire Program is a sliding scale of $5,900-$6,600.

We want this program available to anyone who feels called to be part of this experience. If needed, we offer payment plans and work exchange for a portion of the program cost.

Want to Sign up for the Program?

We have an intensive application process that helps us get to know you better & learn about why you’re signing up for our program.

After we have receive your application, we will have a phone interview so we can ask questions and answer any questions you may have. We also require you to visit our school prior to the program to meet you, take a tour of the land, and make sure it’s a good fit for both you & us. 

Click here to fill out the application!

Work exchange & Scholarships:

We ask you honestly evaluate whether or not you can afford it, and to stretch financially to do so. If the cost still is not doable for you, we are open to a work exchange agreement. On top of that, there are a small amount of scholarships available to those who truly need it. Please contact us & we will send you a work trade/scholarship form. 

 

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