Below is our schedule of classes. Each day introduces practical outdoors skills as well as cultural tools for self-development and community building. Because best nature connection practices respond to the special opportunities presented by weather, wildlife and other conditions of the day, this schedule is subject to adjustment.
September 15, 2018 - Nature Connection Day We welcome you to life in camp through a ceremony of beginning. We'll practice Core Routines of Nature Connection, and address barriers to spending time outdoors, opening the door to a deeper engagement with the natural world. Everyone will join in Fire Tending as we orient to our place and our group. There will be an opportunity to try out a Bow Drill. We'll likely also enjoy some Wild Edibles together.
October 20, 2018 - Playing Outside Climbing trees, playing in water, hide and seek, exploration, acting out stories, camouflage, treasure hunts...Though we're no longer children, we can all still activate our Child Passions! We'll venture out into the wild spaces to activate our senses in a playful manner, and return to camp to make basic camp tools through the art of Wood Carving. We'll also Prepare Acorns and investigate any mushrooms that are available.
November 10, 2018 - Mentorship for Nature Connected Community It's time to take a closer look at the practice of Mentorship, the most ancient form of education. We'll look at ways of offering mentorship to others, and of engaging others to act as anchors for you. Wood Carving will be available again. Interested folks can work on their own Bow Drill Kit. We'll also collect wild clay to save for pottery adventures in the winter workshop, and do some Hide Work.
December 15, 2018 - Living a Nature Connected Life Our focus, this month, is on Connection Modeling. What is connection, and how does it operate in our lives? We introduce the 8 Shields vision of connection as it flows in nature, in human lives, and in communities, and begin to consider how we can embody qualities such as the quiet mind, happiness, vitality, mentorship, empathy and respect for nature, living in our gifts, being fully alive, and love and forgiveness. We'll also do some Leatherwork.
January 2019 There will be no regular class this month. Oak Tree Mentors are encouraged to participate in the Renewal of Creative Path series, which meets Thursday evenings from 6-8:30 pm on January 17, 24 and 31 and February 7.
February 9, 2019 - The Art of Storytelling While the clouds white out the sky, and the snow covers the ground, we'll dive deep into Storytelling, both as a daily practice for building mentorship, and as a performance art. We'll journey out into nature with all our senses open, and bring back our experiences to share with each other. Participants will also be encouraged to join in the Story Feast, later in the month. Our skills opportunities this month will be the art of Tracking, as well as Maple Sugaring (if nature is ready for it!). We'll also work with our wild-gathered clay to make Pottery that can be fired in April.
March 16, 2019 - Designing for Peace This month we'll take a look at Designing for Peace. The work of peacemaking is at the heart of successful communities. We'll orient to this work as presented by the 8 Shields Institute, and consider other frameworks, as well, for building a peaceful culture. During skills practice time, we'll go deeper into the craft of hide preparation.
April 20, 2019 - Leadership in Nature Connected Communities We're closing in on wrapping the bundle. This month we consider Leadership for Nature Connected Communities. Friendship groups, families, classrooms, residential communities – to thrive together, we need to engage our outdoor environment. We’ll look at the concept of place-based education, and consider the natural environment as an outdoor classroom and teaching ally. We'll discuss leadership for people of different ages and interests, including pace-setting for children's classes, and facilitation for adult groups. We'll also learn Basket Weaving.
May 18, 2019 - Bird Language What couldn't we do on this day? Nature offers so many opportunities when Spring is in full swing! This month we'll take up Bird Language, a universal indicator of the current events and mood of a place. Bird language calls us into the quiet mind, and guides us into a deeper relationship with the land around us. Our practical skills will include a deeper dive into Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants. We'll also discuss the upcoming Rites of Passage.
June 8, 2019 - Rites of Passage What have you learned this year? What has drawn your focus? How have you grown? Our culture offers us various Rites of Passage, some structured and some simply lived. We'll work together to shed light on the essence of these inflection points in human lives, and consider what moments we most need to celebrate, and how. Our work will be to design an experience to honor the growth of each person present. Those who have practiced skills learned in the Oak Tree Mentorship Program may showcase their abilities for classmates and friends. We'll deploy our skills as storytellers to bring it all together, and enjoy a Wild Edibles Feast to celebrate our time together.
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