February 2008

Building on the nature study post from yesterday, I wanted to add one of my favorite links; Observations Of A Naturalist by Boyd Shaffer. It features illustrated articles (illustrated by Boyd) about nature by a man who knows it well. I studied the field botany of southcentral Alaska in Boyd's class at Kenai Peninsula College [...]

A friend emailed me about Naturalist Jim Conrad's site Backyard Nature, part of his push to improve environmental education by offering free nature study courses online. There's also a public phenology database where you can record nature information you observe. It's a great resource for learning about the world around you, as well as sharing [...]

I was speaking with someone on the phone about our residential programs this morning, and as a result of the conversation I wanted to clarify some points about our long-term programs. Our Earth Skills Semester Programs and the Yearlong Immersion Program are made up of seven different courses that combine together to build a cohesive [...]

I've been thinking about writing a review for Paul Stamets's book Mycelium Running since I read it last fall. It's an amazing book about fungi, which most people think are simply mushrooms. The reality, as put forth in the book, is that fungi are the internet of the natural world; communicating over long distances and [...]

Solar Firelighting Tool

A friend sent me the link to a cool firelighting gadget that works by collecting the sun's rays with a parabolic reflector. A fire by this method can be accomplished several different ways, but I haven't seen a handheld, commercial model until now. It looks cool and costs $13. Check it out here.

I'm a vocal critic of the lack of sustainability in outdoor education and recreation. I've said numerous times that minimum impact is really displaced impact, in that the impact is considerable but is not felt in the area where people recreate. Northland College has addressed the problem. They've put together a web page about their [...]

As part of our ongoing program development, we're adding a summer homesteading internship to our lineup of courses.  It will provide serious students an opportunity to work on their bushcraft skills amongst a small community of learners while at the same time learning to live simply off the land.  Work will revolve around farming and [...]

I spend a lot of time thinking about the teaching process in preparation for our courses. Years of doing so have led me to believe that there are many things that can be learned, but not directly taught. An example of this took place the other night when some of the participants in our winter [...]

We just finished a four-day (2-day weekend, 2-day advanced) winter wilderness survival course culminating with some of the participants spending the night out with no sleeping bags in shelters they built themselves. Over four days we had a wide range of weather, from below zero (F) temperatures to driving rain and slush to whiteout conditions. [...]

I've been elected to the board of directors of GALA, which stands for Global Awareness, Local Action. It's a local organization focusing on sustainability and local issues. We've worked together for the past year by offering sustainability workshops on such topics as composting, raised bed gardens, winemaking, local edible and medicinal plants, and more. The [...]

We've added two week-long courses to our schedule this spring. Titled Spring Bushcraft Intensive 1 and 2, they are the first two weeks of our Spring Earth Skills Semester Program, but can be taken as standalone courses. In the first week, students will start from scratch to build a shelter of their own to live [...]

Aside from this being a powerful and moving biography, the documentary Little Dieter Needs To Fly is a fascinating look at survival psychology. From the DVD: As a young boy, Dieter Dengler watched as Allied places destroyed his village; from that instant, he knew he wanted to fly. At 18, he moved to America, enlisted [...]

We've had a recent schedule change for June. A private workshop we had scheduled was cancelled, and as a result we're running the 5-day version of our Advanced Summer Survival Course June 23-27, immediately following our Summer Survival Weekend Course that runs June 21-22.  If you plan on coming bring a fly rod if you've [...]

I bought a $100 axe head this past week. I'm guessing that sounds expensive to you, because it did to me at first. It's an unused, 3.25 lb Emerson & Stevens, made in Oakland, Maine in 1942. The thing about axes is that they're not making them like they used to. Before the days of [...]

We've put together a general intern position for this year. There is a heavy emphasis on organic gardening and food production, as well as general work. Details below. Positions Available: There is one position left for 2008. About: Interns will live on site or nearby, and will have several duties including gardening, shooting video, and [...]

In planning the spring Earth Skills Semester Program, as well as how we'll accomplish certain tasks at our new base camp in Masardis, the issue of a way to generate electricity to charge camera and video camera batteries and run a laptop has been in the back of my mind for a while. Since we [...]

We've finalized the dates for our canoeing and bushcraft trip to northern Quebec with Cree guide David Bosum. We'll meet in Ouje Bougoumou on the afternoon/evening of Saturday, August 9th, and start our trip the morning of the 10th. We'll be back the night of the 16th and leave on the 17th. There will be [...]

 


 

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Note: Anything that appears to be an error in spelling or grammar is actually the author’s clever use of the vernacular, and as such is not an error, but rather a carefully placed literary device that demonstrates his writing prowess.

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