If you see a class that you are interested in that is not on our current schedule, We can put together a class for you and your group. Email or call for details.
In the wild your sense of awareness is one of your most valuable tools. Your knowledge and experience can carry through most of your day, but it’s really your awareness that gives you an edge. A blue jay alarming in a far off tree can alert you to game or danger, a single strand of deer hair on a thorn can show you a trail. These fun exercises will give a tool for exploring and expanding your awareness and your sense of connection to the world around you.
Introduction to Wilderness Survival
An Emergency can happen at any time. Driving home from work, and your car slides off the road. Out hiking and You lose your way. Your canoe tips ruining your phone, etc.. Knowing what to do can not only mean the difference between life and death, but it can also mean the difference between a miserable night and a comfortable one. The skills of basic wilderness survival are transferable to many situations, but when you put them all together they start to build a skill set which infers confidence, and self reliability. In this class we will cover the 4 needs of Survival: Shelter, Fire, Water, and Food. We will cover the assessment phase, as well as your survival kit. We will build a seasonally appropriate shelter, We will build some fires, we will acquire potable water, we will cover some basic trapping, and look into foraging. The average survival situation lasts 72 hours or less. Can you make it? Sunday July 8 10am-4 pm 45.00 Location TBD
Medicinal Plant Identification
Have you ever wished that you avoid chemically based ointments? Would you rather encourage good health in your family than treat illness? Do you want more control over what goes into and onto your body? Modern Medicine certainly has it’s place. When a person is seriously injured or seriously ill they need to go see a doctor, but to promote better health and repair minor illness and injury we only to need learn a few basic plants and techniques. This knowledge will offer you not only a stronger sense of wellness and self sufficiency, it will also connect you to our ancestral knowledge and evolution. In this 2 1/2 hour field based workshop, we will guide you through the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Management Area. We will show you how to identify medicinal plants, and what each one can do for you. We will then offer a short presentation on what to do with these plants. We will discuss making infusions, decoctions, tincture, syrups, and salves. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Bloomington, MN. 35.00
First Ever Weekend Skills Gathering
This is our first ever weekend skills gathering. This will turn into a monthly event, in which you all will be invited out to the beautiful North Winds Wilderness School campus on Fish Lake in Siren, Wi. We will spend Friday night eating and hanging out by the campfire. We will cook a meal over the fire, and tell stories. There might even be music. After a night spend camping out we will spend 6-8 hours on Saturday working on a predetermined skill. These topics could include: Plant ID, Tracking, Canoeing, Coal Burned Bowls and Spoons, Friction Fire, Wood Carving, Bone or Stone Tool Making, Etc. This month we will spend the day on the the topic of utilitarian plant purposes. We will make string and rope, we will weave with cattails, we will make fire by friction, and we may even bust out some birch bark. This first time out we are offering the program at the deeply discounted price of just 55.00 per person. That includes; 2 meals, Camping, Instruction, and Materials. Future programs will be 75-100.00 So please don’t miss out. Join us on the inaugural celebration of what will be a keystone program in our repertoire. See you there NWWS Campus; Siren, WI.
Foraging and Primitive Cooking:
Foraging and hunting for food create the majority of how our ancestors spent their time. Unfortunately many people view primitive cooking as nothing more than throw a piece of meat on the fire and eat it up. In this workshop we will split between foraging. Which will be a 2 hour foraging trek through our local forests Identifying edible plants, then we will head back to camp for 2 hours of primitive cooking. This will include, rock boiling, Rock grilling, Stick Roasting, and more. We promise you leave full and with a whole new idea of how our ancestors ate. This has been a favorite amongst our students in the past.
Our species lives in a wide variety of environments. Whether it’s hot, cold, thorny, or rocky. We have long devised ways to insulate, and protect our feet. Some cultures made sandals, some made turn shoes, or ghillies, and some made moccasins. In this 8 hour workshop we will show you how to make a pattern fitted directly to your own foot. Then we will use that pattern to make a custom fitted pair of moose hide moccasins. You will leave with, your own, plus the knowledge and experience to repeat the process on your own.
The importance of string and rope cannot be over stated. We use it for Shelter building, Sewing, Fire making, Tying a canoe on your car, Fishing, etc. Rope and string take many forms and the production of these items seems to be a pretty important skill. Knowing which plants and what parts of those plants can be turned into cordage is the first step in making it. Once you have acquired the knowledge processing the plants is a pretty simple procedure.
In this workshop we will Show you which plants in Minnesota can be used, we will then have you process Stinging nettle fibers and make your own string. Over the 3 hours of this class you will process 2-3 nettle stalks and make several feet of string.
Plant Based Medicine Making
While modern medicine definitely has a place in our lives, We have a nearly 7,000,000 year history of living happy and healthy lives before modern medicine existed. We did this by having an intimate relationship with the plants that surround and shelter us every day. Knowing which plants can heal and cure us, and how to process them has been an integral part of our collective culture for literally millennia. In this 3 hour work shop we will cover Minnesota based plants for medicinal uses. We will also walk you through the necessary steps to produce a basic healing salve, an immune boosting tincture, and a natural cough syrup. Yo will leave the class with your own home apothecary, as well as the knowledge to make your own in the future.
Make Your Own Saami Style Coffee Bag
The famous Saami style coffee bag is so widely used for a good reason. It is not only very attractive and easy to make, but it is very versatile. I use them for my fire kit, I use them for coffee, I use them for fishing kits, and several other things as well.
In this 3 hour workshop, you will make your own deer hide Saami style Coffee Bag, and you will also bring home a pattern and a list of ingredients to make more on your own. You will learn the basics of leather craft, as well as sewing, and pattern use.
Soap Stone Bead Carving
There is significant evidence to support the idea that when humans started decorating themselves, was around the same time that spoken language, and sense of self came into our lives. Archaeological evidence from Blombos cave puts this around 90,000 years ago. In this workshop we will discuss the history of human decoration, and we will work with soapstone, and both stone age and modern tools to create our own beads and pendants.
The Art of The Dead-fall
The deadfall is a primitive, simple, and very effective trap. They are primarily used fro very small game, such as Squirrels, Chipmunks, and mice, or birds. There is some anecdotal evidence that they can be used for larger game, but I have never seen any real proof that it works. I like Deadfalls fro several reasons. They are very versatile, they test your skills with a knife, and with geometry, and they actually work.
In this class we will make a paiute deadfall, which is one of the most common and most sensitive triggers, we will also construct an arapuca bird trap, which is a deadfall with a promontory point trigger that is used for catching birds.
Join us for this Hands on workshop and learn the art of the deadfall.
Edible Plant Identification Walk
If you have ever wanted to learn more about foraging, or make your jump into harvesting wild foods for yourself this could be exactly what you’ve been looking for. Since the dawn of humanity Harvesting wild plants for food has been 1 of the corner stones of the human diet.
During this “Plant Walk” we will discuss in depth several easily identifiable wild plants. We will discuss Identification factors, Edibility, Medicinal uses and Utilitarian purposes. These walks are always fun, plus, what a cool reason to get out into the woods with some like minded people for a few hours.
Stalking and natural Camouflage
Moving silently in a natural environment. Blending in with your background. There are so many reasons to move silently in the bush. Learning to move with the wind, stepping between sticks and blades of grass. These are the ways that you get closer to wildlife. You become a part of the background. When you are a part of the baseline animals will stop noticing you, and you can get closer than ever. Whether this is for hunting, photography, or just to be a part of it all. In this 1 day workshop we will get dirty, we will crawl and stalk, and hide. We will work with clay and mud to create a natural camouflage that will far surpass anything that you can buy in the store. You will learn walking postures that are in alignment with nature, You will learn how to blend with the background using natural horizon lines, and shadows. You will also learn how to see what might be hidden by reversing the ideas of hiding. This class is very fun, very hands on, and very in the dirt. See you there.
Humans have a long and complicated history with fire. At first it was a frightening and destructive force that we did not understand. Then we figured out that if we could acquire it, we could use it for heat, cooking, and fire hardening tools. Somehow, somewhere, somebody figured out that they could create fire by using a fairly complicated tool kit and technique. In this class we will cover the bowdrill and the hand drill. We will work on tinder bundle and fire lay construction, and you will make a fire with a bow drill and a hand drill.
Bow Making Weekend
The earliest people were scavengers. They ate dead animals, Bugs, and small lizards. Then we acquired the thrusting spear, and we could corner large game and spear them, but it was very dangerous. Eventually we developed the throwing spear, this allowed us to take large game from a safer distance, but it took large groups of people. Eventually we developed the atl atl. This seemed like a miracle, and for some groups was the pinnacle of performance. Some aboriginal groups in Australia still use it today. This allowed us to take very large game from quite a distance, but the amount of movement that is required to use it, still held huge disadvantages. Then Sometime around 1,000,000 years ago, the ow and arrow was developed. It seems like it started in east Africa, but it is very hard to prove, as wood does not do well under ground for long periods of time. This new weapon opened a whole new world ofe possibilities. We could hunt alone, and from great distances. A single hunter could kill an elk, or a buffalo without much fear of injury. This technological advancement remains one of the greatest of all time. Still today the bow and arrow is a miracle of engineering. In this 3 day workshop we will work through wood selection, roughing out a stave or blank, and finishing a functional self bow. By the end of this weekend you will have a fully functional bow and arrows that you have made by had, from scratch. You will also have the confidence to repeat the process on your own.
Hands on Foraging
This class is a step up from our plant walk. We will cover fewer plants, but we will cover them much more in depth. We will discuss: edibility, Medicinal uses, and Utilitarian uses. We will harvest and process plants to be used for these purposes. By the end of this workshop you will be confident in the identification and processing of 6-10 plants that grow wild in Minnesota. We will be in the field rain or shine. Please dress for the weather and plan to get dirty.
Introduction to Wilderness First Aid
In an emergency, or just when you cut your finger, knowing what to do can make a huge impact. Even a small amount of first aid training can be the difference between life an death. Know how to stop bleeding, splint a fracture, complete an assessment. In this class we will cover: Long bone and joint splinting, Pressure dressing, and tourniquet application, Complete assessment of a conscious, and an unconscious patient, how to make an impromptu stretcher, Airway maintenance, and more. This class will not result in any licencing, but it will give you what you need to help an injured person, or even save a life. As an EMT, and an Emergency Room Technician this is a topic that I am fairly passionate about. Everyone needs this knowledge.
Private Mentoring available. Contact us for details.