Our short courses range from one day, weekend or week long classes on topics such as permaculture, wilderness survival, ethnobotany, hunter/gatherer lifestyle, wildlife tracking, bird language, homesteading and more. We're always adding new courses so check for updates either on this page or feel free to subscribe to our Facebook page, which is updated frequently. If you'd like to create a custom course for a small group, fill out the form here and we'll get right back to you.
Hypothermia is the number one killer in the backcountry and knowing how to get fire when you're wet and cold is one of the most critical survival skills that you can learn. Plus, fire allows you to cook your food, purify your water and gives you a psychological boost. If you can become proficient at friction fire here in northwestern Washington, then you can succeed at it almost anywhere else in the world. So we're hosting this class during the middle of the rain season to show you how to succeed at fire during the hardest of conditions.
Don't worry, you don't need to be a fire expert to take this course. You don't even have to have any friction fire experience for that matter. We keep this class small to provide plenty of individual instruction for all sorts of skill levels. The instructor to student ration will be 5:1 at the most.
To find out more and register, click here.
In this one day course, we will cover how to build a comprehensive herbal medicine cabinet using herbs that grow here in the Pacific Northwest. We'll go over not only how to make the medicines, but also when/where to harvest them, dosages and safety, how to grow them yourself and resources which will help you continue on your journey as an herbalist. Here are the medicines that we'll make and the topics which we'll cover:
- Medicines: Tinctures, salves, lotions, liniments, poultices, balms, eye washes, syrups, lozenges.
- Teas, infusions and decoctions and which herbs provide the most benefit.
- Safety: While herbal medicines are extremely powerful, they can also be dangerous if taken in high dosages.
- Harvesting: Where to find the herbs, how to harvest and doing it ethically.
- Harvest Schedule: A handy schedule as to when to harvest each herb at it's peak medicinal value.
- Growing your herbs at home within a permaculture system.
- Herbal medicine for kids.
- Herbal medicine for pets.
To find out more and register, click here.
While we often talk about the the chemicals and genetic modifications made to our foods as being harmful, we rarely talk about the products that we put on our bodies. Our skin is not only our largest organ, but the most absorbent as well. Many of the store bought personal care products have significantly more harmful chemicals in them than our food, and this is an area that we need to start discussing more.
In this 3 hour workshop, we will cover how make your own personal care products using only natural ingredients. We'll learn how to make soap, hydrosol, lotion, tooth powder, deodorant and hair rinse. With the holidays coming up, the products that you'll learn to make will make great gifts. Hope to see you there.
Learn some simple and amazing formulas that will help improve your health and our environment. More and more studies are showing just how harmful chemicals are, not only to our environment, but ourselves as well. Many of us are very aware of how they have affected our soils and food, but not many realize they are a large source of indoor pollution and a huge threat to human health.
No legal requirements exist for ingredient labeling on household cleaning products and these products have been linked to many ailments.
We will be exploring the dangers of common products and finding a low cost way to not only keep our families healthy. but also be kind to the environment. This class is great for anyone who is interested in finding alternative ways to correct the damage that is being done through commercial products. Find out more and register here.
During this class we will discuss the fascinating processes that define fermented foods as well as how incorporating these products into our diet is an essential part of overall health. You will learn everything you need to know in order to have the confidence to dive into the world of fermentation for yourself. We will cover techniques used to yield a variety of tasty, probiotic-rich foods such as kimchi and seed-cheeses, along with bubbly beverages like kombucha and simple natural sodas. At the end of the day you will take home your own personalized kimchi and sauerkraut incorporating nutritious wild food from our farm; allowing you to experience the slow transformation taking place before you. Resulting in more nutrients than before with complex and unique new flavors. It is our hope that this experience will encourage you to reclaim these celebrated traditions of our ancestors and apply them in your life.
Find out more and register here.
When we walk down the street or through the park, caught up in our own little worlds, we are often disturbing the birds. When we do this, the birds set off alarms to the other wildlife in the area, signaling our approach. This early warning system is the reason that most of us don't experience wildlife all that frequently. The animals are actually tipped off that we're coming long before we arrive because they're tuned in to the birds. They have to be, or else they won't survive.
Birds just don't alarm humans, but other animals as well. Especially predators that threaten either them or their young. The neat thing is that they alarm different predators differently and the type of alarm is indicative of a certain species of animal. We'll teach you how to identify the different types of alarm and more importantly how not to set off alarms so that you experience more wildlife.
In this class we'll spend a day in a place where bird species are incredibly diverse (over 200 species are seen here over the course of a year). We'll learn not only the species that live at Union Bay and their behavior, but also how they interact with the other wildlife in the area. Your walks in nature will be forever changed after taking this class. There's a story always going on out there and you'll know how to read it. Find out more and register here.
In this two day course we will cover all of the short term survival essentials that can save your life if you're caught out in the wilderness. Topics include shelter building, friction fire, water purification, primitive trapping, and wild foraging. We'll talk about survival psychology, priorities and energy conservation. Our instructors go on regular staged survival trips and teach from personal experience. For a more detailed course description click here.
Permaculture is essentially mimicking natural ecologies in your own garden. When you mimic nature, you'll find that you have to do significantly less work in the long run compared to using conventional methods. While western agriculture focuses mainly on annual crop production in a monoculture system (only one crop is grown), permaculture focuses on growing perennial crops in polyculture systems (many species instead of just 1). Perennial crops live 3+ years and have significantly larger rhizospheres (root zones) that annuals. This allows them tolerate stress caused from draughts, heavy rains and temperature extremes much better than annuals can. With climate change making weather patterns increasingly more unpredictable, I believe that relying on annual crops in our food production systems is a perilous mistake. Permaculture gardens also don't require the use of any pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides and have to be watered significantly less than annual gardens.
In this day long workshop, we'll cover a host of different permaculture techniques which you'll be able to apply at home. Lecture will be given out in the field and almost the entire class will be spent doing hands on activities on our permaculture farm.