Wilderness Immersion Course
|When: Apr 06, 2013 from 09:00 am to 01:00 pm|
Offered in 3 separate quarters, each one with 8 meetings from 9am-1pm (4 hours) on Saturdays. NEW PRICE: $395 / quarter. 2013 Spring quarter dates: March 23, 30 | April 6, 20, 27 | May 4, 11, 18 (overnight). 2013 Summer quarter dates: June 1, 8, 22, 29 | July 13, 20, 27 | August 10 (overnight).
"If we feel confident and comfortable in the wilderness we will have a much deeper and more rewarding connection with nature. If we are relaxed and open we can see and hear much more than if we are distracted by anxiety and irritation." - Cader Olive
Spring Quarter begins March 23rd, 2013. New students accepted !
This course is about learning how to feel at home in the wilderness, wherever we are. It will enable you to continue to learn, change and adapt so that you can hear more, see more, and deepen your understanding and connection with nature for the rest of your life.
Whether you want to spot hidden animals, read faint tracks, see the intricate connections in an ecosystem, quit worrying about getting lost or learn to interact with a bear without panic, this unique course can help.
What students say about fall quarter:
"He is a brilliant instructor who has an amazing wealth of knowledge. His teaching skills are excellent. His reading lists are intense and comprehensive. I am looking forward to additional 'wilderness' experiences." - Marilyn Abend
"Loved this course! It got me back out into the wilderness with new eyes for experiencing nature with all of my senses in a new way. Although I had previously spent years outside, this course brought me much closer to the essence of nature which I had never before experienced. The unique nature of this course is exactly what I needed. Thank you." - Ann Mai
Schedule and Registration
Spring 2013: Skills to Live By will build on these insights and changes through practicing
basic wilderness awareness and living skills. Open to new students.
March: 23, 30. April: 6, 20, 27. May: 4, 11, 18 (overnight)
Summer 2013: Ecology & Natural History you will use your new skills and views to
practice living and learning in a variety of ecosystems. Open only to fall and/or spring quarter students.
June: 1, 8, 22, 29. July: 13, 20, 27. August: 10 (overnight)
Locations: Columbia River Gorge
Fee: $395 per quarter (New Price)
Class size: Limited to 14 participants
Register: Contact Steve Engel at 971-222-6119 email@example.com, or register online:
NOTE: Class times are 9am - 1pm. Carpooling is arranged from Gateway Transit Center in N.E. Portland. Travel time to class location is ~ 35 minutes.
Skills to Live By: Spring Quarter 2013
Class 1: Review of First Quarter and Goals for Second
In the first quarter we focused on the limitations and potential of our senses and mind. We will revisit many of those exercises and practices about observation, awareness, and movement in nature. The remainder of the second quarter we'll be applying these skills to learn another set of skills: finding and using wild food, reading tracks and sign, finding your way through the wilderness, and making fire, cordage, shelter, tools, and weapons from available natural materials. Familiarity with these skills can help you feel more comfortable and connected wherever you find yourself in the wilderness.
Class 2: Finding your way in the wilderness
Finding your way begins with knowing what it means psychologically and physically to be lost. There are a variety of basic skills that can help you keep track of where you have been, assess your situation effectively, and find your way to where you want to be.
Class 3: Shelters and cordage
In most environments there is a wealth of natural materials that can be used to make the things we need. Recognizing those materials requires some knowledge of basic ecology. Using them in real life situations requires mindfulness, adaptability, and some basic skills.
Class 4: Finding food wherever you are
Grocery stores and industrial agriculture have led us to forget that we live in a world that produces all we need to live. Delicious, healthy wild food is all around us, from the city to the wildest landscape. Learning to feed yourself from the plantsand animals that live all around us can be rewarding and connecting beyond any recreational experience you have ever had in nature.
Class 5: Fire
The first thing to learn about fire is how to decide if you need togo to the trouble of building one at all. If you do, there are several basic skills involved in collecting materials, selecting and preparing the site for the fire, and starting the fire.
Class 6: Tools and weapons
Many simple tools and weapons can be fashioned quickly and easily from natural materials available in most habitats. Knowing what you really need in any situation is the basic skill to master. Knowledge of rocks, plants, and animals and how to use the gifts they offer will provide you with much of what you really need to survive for the short term in the wild.
Class 7: Reading tracks, sign, and trails
Everything that moves on the Earth leaves a story. If we have awareness, healthy senses, and some knowledge of what we're observing we can learn a great deal about the life that is happening in an area without ever seeing the animals.
Class 8: Putting it all together
We will spend a day and a night in a wilderness setting, practicing all the skills and knowledge we have learned in the course. Knowing a skill and using it under real conditions are two very different things.
Fall 2012 (completed)
Fall 2012: Enhancing Your Baseline Skills & Awareness
Fall classes explored the fundamental nuts and bolts of our senses, attitudes, and reaction patterns.
Class 1: Seeing Your Mind at Work
How can we learn to see clearly what is happening in our mind right now? This awareness is key to you finding more effective, satisfying ways to live and experience the world.
Class 2: How You See is What You See
Our commonsense understanding of our senses gets us through the day but is far from complete or accurate. More detailed, objective understanding of how our brain and senses work allows us to explore new, unexpected ways to use them. Examining the senses of other species helps us not only imagine their world, but clearly see that the world as we know it is just one version.
Class 3: A New Vision of Vision
For better or worse, vision is our dominant sense. What are the ramifications of this for us? How can we use our knowledge about it to connect more deeply with nature?
Class 4: Ways We Know the World
We speak of the “five senses”, but we really have many more. How can we become more aware of these so we can practice using them skillfully? Does our modern way of life affect how we use our senses?
Class 5: Movement, Body-language and Blending-in
What you’re doing affects what you perceive. We design our man-made world so we don’t have to care how we move (sidewalks, floors, roads, no predators or prey). How would the world present itself if we blended attentively with our surroundings?
Class 6: Living Our New Skills
Seeing and practicing these new skills in isolation or controlled settings is totally different than using them all together, spontaneously, naturally, and skillfully in real life. In an extended, challenging immersion in nature we can find out how well we have integrated these skills and how available they are to us.
Class 7: Playing with New SkillsPlayful sharing is a powerful medicine and tool that is sadly neglected in our culture. You learned most of what you know about being a human being when you played as a child. Today, we’ll play some games where you can use all you’ve learned with your whole body and mind in a wild setting to move even deeper into your connected, aware self.
Class 8: How are we doing and why?
This class will be an opportunity to share experiences and insights from what we’ve done so far, talk about where we’d like to go from here, and discuss what may be hindering further progress. People who feel at home in nature have learned that negative feelings such as pain, irritation, boredom, and anxiety are graded warning signals that can be used skillfully if accepted and understood. How can we go beyond our self-imposed limitations to even deeper levels of connection and awareness in nature?
A word from the instructor, Cader Olive, to prospective students:
I have traveled along many paths to reach the point of teaching this course in Wilderness Immersion. To give you a better idea of what those words mean to me, and thereby a clearer picture of what kinds of experiences this class offers, here is a bit about me.
Long ago I earned a Ph.D. in ecology. Academic work gave me a solid foundation in understanding the complex interactions between organisms and environment that result in the amazing ecosystems we see around us. I learned how to ask productive questions, how to test them rigorously and how to learn from my observations.
But it is from my wilderness experiences that I came to realize the true nature of my connection to the world. From my youthful days through adulthood I wandered, backpacked, hunted, fished and conducted formal research as well as engaged in deeply personal nature study. Ten years ago I packed it all in and lived with just what I could gather from the land around me in Northern Wisconsin.
Gradually, during this homesteading experience, I became familiar with the land, water, plants, and animals around me in a way I never had before. Relying on them for food, heat, and materials led me to know their locations, cycles, and connections as intimately as I knew my own home and family. When I left, I realized that this landscape was not just a place to me, it was a friend and a home. The plants and animals were no longer just interesting species, they were individuals and neighbors, trying to make a life just like I was.
I will offer in this class what I have found to be the essential steps that can lead one to a deep awareness, understanding, and connection with nature. I will offer a variety of approaches to meet the needs of different backgrounds and personalities and carefully demonstrate how students can use the skills and knowledge to change their own experience of nature. I can offer you what I have in experience, skills, and references but the work of honest and diligent practice will be up to you, the student.