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
The 2022 program runs from May 30th to October 28th
An Overview of the Program:
You will live in a community of wild human and non-human kin in a primitive village in the woods. You will learn new skills that will enrich and inform your daily life; that may look like sewing up some brain tanned leather shoes 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. Welcoming these skills back into our lives in a big way is a vital part of stepping into being a caretaker of the earth.
As animals, humans are designed to participate in nature by meeting our needs through these skills. The land relies on us to do so. Using your mind, your senses, and the feelings in your body, you will discover how to let the land speak through you. As the land shows you how to be in right relationship with her, you will naturally start to retrain your senses and feel more wild in your body. You will start feeling the forest instead of only seeing it. The animals soften into your presence and you soften into theirs. When you can channel this ability, it changes how you harvest the birch bark for baskets, what you do with the hide scraps from hide tanning, and where you plant the hazelnut trees for future generations. If you tune in deep enough, the wild animals might even start offering themselves to you as your next meal. You will 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.
As land stewards, we will not only focus on tending the physical land, but also nurturing each others inner landscapes and innate gifts. By learning more authentic ways of communicating, celebrating our accomplishments and break-throughs together, and practicing seeing things from each other’s perspectives we can help one another become more rooted in who we are. 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, but you must be willing to wade into the sometimes mucky waters.
Developing competency & relationship to each of these skills activates a connection that your body has been longing to remember. This land, these skills, and the community will awaken you to the power of who you’ve always been. It is your birthright to reclaim this for yourself, to live as a fully alive and wild human.
List of Skills Covered:
- Land stewarding and care-taking techniques
- Permaculture and Nurtureculture
- Sensory Awareness Skills
- Debris hut and other short term survival shelters
- Long term shelter and primitive shelter techniques
- Natural Building
- Blacksmithing Knives
- Buckskin, bark tanning, fur-on pelts and other ancient ways of tanning skins.
- Community Skills
- 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
- Knife and tool skills/safety
- Basketry; made of wild gathered materials such as birch, pine, willow or roots.
- Kayaking, canoeing, sailing
- Friction fire Methods; bow drill, hand drill, pump drill and others.
- Fire making/tending 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; pecked and ground as well as flintknapped
- Camping/tarp skills and knot tying
- Mat weaving with cattail or grasses
- Camouflage, tactical awareness, concealment, and stealth skills
- Tracking and animal behavior
- Bird Language
We teach most of these workshops ourselves, but value bringing in various guest instructors to share their wealth of knowledge and unique perspectives. We particularly focus on hiring Penobscot tribal members as they are the original stewards of this land.
Sleeping: For the first part of the program you will be living in the sleeping setup you bring with you. You can build a shelter after the short-term shelter building session if you choose, or take a turn sleeping in the long-term shelter we will collectively build later in the program. You may also choose to sleep in your tent during the whole program if you would rather focus your energy on other skills.
Kitchen Setup: We have a primitive cooking setup with a fire pit and rocket stoves to cook on. The kitchenware is provided and you will work towards making your own bowls and utensils to use throughout the program. There is drinking water and sink setup gravity fed by spring water.
Bathroom/Shower Setup: There is a primitive composting toilet system 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. There is also a cast iron tub you can light a fire under during the colder months.
Food: We provide the majority of food. There are gardens full of cultivated plants and edible “weeds” available to you, and many areas throughout the land, neighboring land, and the ocean that you can harvest wild food from daily. We buy some bulk food from the local coop, and what produce we cannot harvest from the land we get from local farms. You will be scavenging road kill, fishing, or killing animals for meat. Please plan financially for things like coffee, personal snacks, or meals out. All participants take turns cooking meals for the group.
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– awareness, shelter, water, fire, food. We move through each one on a macro and micro scale as the season progress, until you feel a deep-rooted reverence and competence for what it means to live with the earth.
The following is to give you an idea of the different components and general rhythm of what 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 intensive learning, play, and free time.
Your Sit Spot: This is your sacred learning place that we encourage you to visit almost every day through out your 5 month experience. Here you will practice different awareness techniques, meditations, giving offerings, care-take, and sitting quietly observing what is happening around you. This place becomes a portal for you to learn how to be in relationship with the land on many levels.
Morning instruction block: Most weekday mornings there is a three-hour workshop block, which is usually a mix of hands on skills and educational lectures.
Afternoon open hours: Each weekday afternoon there is a two-hour block 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: One day a week we hold 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.
Day-long excursions or immersions: One day a week is often 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. Saturday and Sunday are the designated rest days.
Community activity or game: One night a week we play fun stealth games, listen to a guest speaker, or engage in fun naturalist activities like star gazing or going owl spotting/calling.
Community Meal: Once a week we have a community wide potluck. This includes everyone living on the land, neighbors, and friends from our local community.
- 7am:Wake up & spend half hour doing a sit spot.
- 8am: Communal Breakfast
- 9:00am–12:00pm: Tracking in leaf litter.
- 12:00pm-3pm Communal Lunch, rest time or a short canoe out to catch fish for dinner.
- 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 Program is a sliding scale of $5,900-$7,900.
We want this program to be available to anyone who feels called to be part of this experience. We ask you honestly evaluate whether or not you can afford it, and to stretch financially to do so (keeping in mind we need financial compensation to run the best version of this program). If the cost still is not doable for you, we offer payment plans, work exchange, and scholarships. Black, indigenous, latinx, non-binary people and women qualify to get $1,000 or more off the cost of the program. If you want to donate to the scholarship program to help someone else attend, please contact us!
Want to Sign up for the Program?
To apply fill out the application below! When we have received your application, we will have a phone interview so we can ask questions and answer any questions you may have. If possible, we ask that you 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!