September – June || 3 Evenings, 1 Weekend Camp Out per Month Rewild Portland Classroom (NW) || Various Campsites around OR and WA $2000 (Lump Sum or Monthly Payments) || Maximum 12 Students
General Program Description
Foundations in Rewilding is an adult program that runs from September through June. Each month we meet three evenings at the Rewild Portland classroom in Northwest Portland and go on one weekend-long camping trip. The objective of this program is to create rewilding ambassadors: people with a deep understanding of the underpinnings of rewilding who can bring the concepts to a wider audience, who know how to communicate the principles well, and who can contribute to the rewilding movement on a grander level. The long-term goal is to help create and nurture naturalized, non-invasive cultures of inspiring individuals with a deep sense of place, practicing ancestral traditions and skills. People rooted into a place.
Do you want to deepen your connection to nature? Do you want to learn skills that will connect you to your ancestral past and make you more resilient? Do you want to learn the human role in ecology and try your hand at it? Do you yearn to reclaim your humanity, and reclaim your ecological role, with a group of like-minded people? If you answered “Yes!” to all of these questions, this program is for you.
Facing a litany of challenges, from declining physical and mental health to collapsing ecosystems, we are captives of a culture that no longer serves us as humans or as animals of a larger community of life. In order to break free, we must learn alternative stories and reclaim our humanity. Our Foundations in Rewilding program humbly attempts to take the next step in the rewilding renaissance: creating cultural ambassadors of rewilding.
Rewilding is a movement to return people, places, and our other-than-human neighbors to a more wild, or “self-willed,” existence. This means becoming place-based people once more, deeply embedded into the land and serving a purpose beyond ourselves. This generally translates to living a lifestyle similar in function to the way all human ancestors lived before the agricultural revolution (and more recently, industrialization and globalization). However, the world is not the same place it was thousands of years ago when all humans lived as hunter-gatherers. A culture of occupation prevents us from abandoning civilization entirely. It would be a mistake to pretend as though industrial civilization doesn’t affect all of us. We live in both worlds. We are not pretending, not re-enacting the past. Where others see hypocrisy, we see a bridge to the future. This program offers a way of deepening your relationship as a bridge builder helping us live in the contradiction.
You will come out of this program with…
• More hands-on experience in ancestral living skills
• An understanding of contemporary anthropology and prehistory in the context of rewilding
• A greater understanding of the bigger picture of rewilding and how to find your place in it
• Methodologies for improving your health and well-being
• A greater knowledge and sense of place
$2000 (Monthly Payment Plans Available)
Three evenings each month, Tuesdays, 7 pm to 8:30 pm (some evenings run long)
One campout each month, Friday afternoon (4 pm) to Sunday afternoon (5 pm)
September 4, 11, 18 (Classroom), 21–23 (Campout)
October 2, 9, 16 (Classroom), 12–14 (Campout)
November 6, 13, 20 (Classroom), 16–18 (Campout)
December 4, 11, 18 (Classroom), 14–16 (Campout)
January 8, 15, 22 (Classroom), 18–20 (Campout)
February 5, 12, 19 (Classroom), 15–17 (Campout)
March 5, 12, 19 (Classroom), 15–17 (Campout)
April 2, 9, 16 (Classroom), 19–21 (Campout)
May 7, 14, 21 (Classroom), 10–12 (Campout)
June 4, 11, 18 (Classroom), 14–16 (Campout)
Rewild studio and classroom in NW Portland; various campsites in Oregon and Washington.
Must be 18+ years old. Must provide own transportation, food, and camping gear.
Our curriculum is broken down into five parts: lectures, readings and media, discussions, hands-on skills training, and naturalist studies. Through these five elements we will explore contemporary ideas in the humanities—anthropology, prehistory, archaeology, mythology, and history—and how they relate to, and create, the narrative of rewilding. There are basic assumptions about humans and the natural world that our culture has made people believe are supported by fact. One of the greatest parts of this program is looking through data and bias, pulling apart fact from fiction, and landing somewhere in the middle. From dispelling what we have come to believe about the nature of humans and our history, to dismantling the most deeply held notions about life and meaning, we will cover it all.
Lectures focus on specific ideas and skills for the auditorily inclined, bringing together and summing up parts of the reading as well as introducing new ideas and concepts.
Readings and Media
Each week students will be given essays, articles, studies, interviews, and more to inspire thought and discussion.
Group discussions allow us to share our thoughts, ideas, and questions and help us connect with one another to build a deeper group cohesion.
Through hands-on skills, you will begin to internalize many of the concepts and increase your ability to connect with the natural world on a physical level. You will work on things like basic knife carving skills, fire by friction, stone tools, bone tools, basket weaving, and more.
Through study of naturalist skills, you will learn to identify plants and understand how to better relate to them as a human animal through cooking and eating them and through making them into useful crafts. Using sensory exploration in combination with this knowledge leads to a deeper sense of place and connection.
This curriculum is woven through two forms, the “lab” and the “field.”
The lab is for theory. For three evenings a month we meet in the lab to discuss theory, listen to lectures, talk about the required readings, bring up ideas, and listen to one another. In the lab we synthesize the narratives of rewilding and bring them to the forefront of our conscious mind.
The field is for practice. Once a month we camp in the forest, away from the lights, sounds, and smells of the city. Here is where we get our literal dirt time: using our hands to create tools from the natural world, and engaging all of our senses to connect with other-than-human life forms. In the field we get to play with and internalize the narratives of rewilding, sinking them deeply into our subconscious.
What we look for in our students:
Our ideal students are curious people who play well with others. They are relatively “green” when it comes to rewilding skills and are looking to broaden their horizons. This program is for people who already know themselves and want to “level up” their skills and understanding. Rewilding is rooted in anti-oppression. We welcome diversity and encourage all types of folks to register for this program. Reach out to us if this program feels inaccessible to you. We accept a maximum number of 12 students.
This program exists to supplement individuals in their quest to enhance their pre-existing social networks of family and friends. When you graduate, you return to the world and communities that you came from. We think of our program as an incubator for people to become seeds for a larger culture of rewilding. In one sense, this program may not bolster your resume: you will not learn skills that will make you a productive member of civilization. Although this training applies to many occupations (archaeologist, anthropologist, craftsperson, artist, biologist, landscape designer, food producer, teacher, etc.), it is not meant to be a financial investment in the future of civilization. This is training for a world that does not exist, but one that we want to exist. What will you do after the program? How will you use the skills you have learned? That is up to you to decide.
Peter Michael Bauer is our executive director and lead instructor for the Foundations in Rewilding program. A fourth-generation Portlander, his first merit badge in the Boy Scouts was basketry. From there he went on to receive his Eagle Scout rank. He has followed a path of non-traditional education. From the age of 16 he has traveled the country attending programs such as Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School, Wilderness Awareness School in Washington State, Rabbitstick Rendezvous, Echoes in Time, Wintercount, Lynx Vilden’s Stone Age immersion program, and the Columbia Basin Basketry Guild (where he has served on the Board of Directors). He has been an environmental educator for many organizations in Portland, including Cascadia Wild, Friends of Tryon Creek, and the Audubon Society. Prior to becoming the full-time executive director of Rewild Portland, he worked in the film industry as a production coordinator. In his spare time he weaves baskets, practices the banjo, and translates Chinookan myths into Chinuk Wawa at the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Portland office. He is the founder of rewild.com and author of Rewild or Die (under the moniker Urban Scout).
This program is maxed out. Sign up on our wait list and you will be notified if a spot opens during the year, or when registration is open for the 2019-2020 year next summer.