August 23, 2013

Animal Tracks Field Guide Project Update

Here's a few photographic highlights from the final research expedition for the reptile & amphibian animal tracks field guide project that is now in its last few months before completion:

August 16, 2013

Urban Foraging Article

Urban Foraging: Eating Your Weeds


The practice of urban foraging can help benefit you and your family during times of emergency. The truth is many of the weeds we might battle in our gardens and in our lawns are plants that are edible and nutritious...(Read more here).

August 15, 2013

Cordage Making Skills

Cordage: Making Natural Rope

Making cordage is a fundamental survival skill that should not be overlooked.  Such natural rope or string can be used for many things including bow-and-drill friction fires, as a snare or fishing line, as lashing in shelter construction, repairing or creating clothing...Read More:

August 14, 2013

New Video - Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

We just finished putting together this video on Plants That Repel Mosquitoes. It supplements our existing article on the topic:

Interested in edible, medicinal, and utilitarian uses of wild plants? Check out our Wild Edible & Medicinal Plants Courses

August 12, 2013

August 9, 2013

Primitive Fishing Techniques

How to Catch a Fish in a Survival Situation

Primitive fishing techniques are very useful skills for acquiring food in the wilderness. In some areas fish are a great survival food – if you know how to catch them. Learn three methods... Read more:

August 5, 2013

Permaculture Design Course - Summer 2013

For the last two weeks Alderleaf Wilderness College ran a Permaculture Design Course.  This jam-packed, intensive course is a great way to learn some serious skills in permaculture design and sustainable living.  Students experienced a great deal in those two weeks, and earned internationally-recognized Permaculture Design Certificates upon completion.

Here just a few photographic highlights of the hands-on projects they worked on during that time.

Instructor Steve and several students work together mixing mud and straw to make cob.

Students then apply this mixture to the cob oven to help repair and complete the domed exterior.

The dome continues to grow, layer by layer.

Then, as it nears completion it is sculpted into a work of art.

On another beautiful northwest summer day, students work in the garden amending and improving the gardens.

Using rotting woody materials, sticks and other natural debris students also created Hugelkultur beds in the gardens (raised garden beds with buried woody debris).  The more steeply domed beds allow for more variable growing conditions, and utilize the nutrients and decomposition of wood and fungi to help improve the soil over time.

When used properly, manure in a garden is biological gold.  Its a great addition to beds or to compost, and can be a real nutritional boost to many plants.

Instructor Steve describes how to process compost when its ready.  Here students use a screen to sift out rocks and other large debris from the finished product.

Here one of the students uses a shaving horse during another project.  In this case, it is making replacement tool handles.

Here are examples of two completed handles.  One for a rake and the other for a shovel.  Such relatively simple skills of self-reliance are deeply satisfying to learn and to practice.

Here are two of the wild residents of the Alderleaf land also enjoying the bounties of summer.

With the Permaculture Design Course completed, students are awarded their certifications.  What an amazing two weeks of intensive learning!

Thank you to instructors Steve and Marisha, and to all of the students who joined us for the course!  

We are excited to see you take this powerful knowledge out into the world and use it to better this planet!  

The next opportunity to complete a Permaculture Design Certificate with Alderleaf Wilderness College is with our Wilderness Certification Program which begins September 10th, 2013. There's still time to apply. Learn more.

August 2, 2013

Mountaineers Visit Alderleaf Wilderness College

We had a blast teaching wilderness skills to kids from the Seattle Mountaineers.  They arrived by bus and spent a day in the woods with Alderleaf Wilderness College instructors learning wilderness survival skills that included making shelter, wildlife tracking, making fire, and wilderness navigation.

Here are some photo highlights:

Instructor Gabe demonstrates the skills of how to make and work with fire.  He made the fire with a bow drill kit and here he is using a set of primitive fire tongs to move burning wood.

A young student practices scraping red cedar bark to make a fluffy tinder bundle for starting a fire.  Making a large and very dry tinder bundle is an essential skill for effective fire starting in the wet Pacific Northwest.

Here is a group of young Mountaineer students posing next to the debris hut survival shelter that they built.

This young group of Mountaineers explores the creek at Alderleaf and learns about wildlife tracks and sign.  On a warm day, the creek is generally just a great place to be and explore!

Thank you Mountaineers!

We look forward to seeing you again!

Most of Alderleaf's weekend courses are open to families and we are holding one more week of Summer Nature Camp for youth in August. We are also available for custom courses like this special class with the Seattle Mountaineers. To learn more about all of these opportunities, visit our Courses Page.