Foundations in Rewilding
September – June || 3 Evenings, 1 Weekend Camp Out per Month
Classroom Located in Portland, OR || Various Campsites around OR and WA
$2500 (Lump Sum or Monthly Payments) || Maximum 16 Students
General Program Description
Foundations in Rewilding is an adult program that runs from September through June. Each month we meet three evenings at a classroom in Portland and go on one weekend-long camping trip. The objective of this program is to give students practical aspects of rewilding they can integrate into their own lives for personal resilience, health, connection, and inspiration to take rewilding further. Students will leave 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. We believe that to truly understand ancestral technology, you have to be able to see things from the perspective of the people who relied on (and in some places still continue to rely on) this technology for subsistence. The tools people leave behind are mere shadows of the minds and communities and needs of those who made (and still make) them. We prioritize the rewilding of the mind and of world view, as a way of setting the stage for the creation of handmade, place-based technology. Our long-term goal is to help create and nurture naturalized, non-invasive cultures made up of inspiring individuals with a deep sense of place, practicing ancestral traditions and skills in a regenerative manner. 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? Are you willing to challenge and dismantle thoughts, beliefs, and even things you believe to be “common sense”? 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.
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) and what we now call “civilization.” 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
$2500 ($500 deposit to reserve your spot, Monthly Payment Plans Available)
Three evenings each month, Thursdays, 7 pm to 8:30 pm
One campout each month, Friday afternoon (Arrive at Camp after 6:30pm) to Sunday afternoon (Depart Camp @ 3pm)
September 5, 12, 19 (Classroom), 20–22 (Campout)
October 3, 10, 17 (Classroom), 18–20 (Campout)
November 7, 14 (Classroom), 15–17 (Campout)
December 5, 12, 19 (Classroom), (NO CAMPOUT)
January 9, 16 (Classroom), 23–26 (Rewilding Conference)
February 6, 13, 20 (Classroom), 21–23 (Campout)
March 5, 12, 19 (Classroom), 20–22 (Campout)
April 2, 9, 16 (Classroom), 17–19 (Campout)
May 7, 14, 21 (Classroom), 22–24 (Campout)
June 4, 11, 18 (Classroom), 19–21 (Campout)
Classroom Space in Portland, OR; 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 of the mind 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 at our campouts, 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 “classroom” and the “campouts.”
The classroom is for theory. For three evenings a month we meet in the classroom to discuss theory, listen to lectures, talk about the required readings, bring up ideas, and listen to one another. In the classroom we synthesize the narratives of rewilding and bring them to the forefront of our conscious mind.
The campouts are for hands-on 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. On the campouts we get to play with and internalize the narratives of rewilding, sinking them deeply into our subconscious.
What we look for in our students:
Is this class a good fit for you? Make no mistake: rewilding is political. This class explores and deconstructs the world view that many of our institutions, economic systems, religions, cultural practices, and deeply held beliefs have been built on. Come prepared to shed or re-mythologize the way you see and participate in the world. Our ideal students are curious people–people looking to have their world rocked–who play well with others. You are relatively “green” when it comes to rewilding skills and are looking to broaden your horizons. You like relational learning: we know there is a lot one can “learn” on youtube these days. You must prefer to learn with and from others in real life. 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 16 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, community organizer, 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.
“The Foundations in Rewilding course helped me gain a deeper understanding of Rewilding on personal, philosophical, and practical levels. With a focus on decolonization of self and society, our readings and discussions were always thought-provoking, and the hands-on skills I learned will stay with me as I continue the tricky balance of living within but also against modern capitalist civilization.” – AM
“The Foundations class was totally worth it. It wasn’t everything I expected and it was a lot of things I didn’t expect, but it helped me to grow in my rewilding journey and connect to the wider rewilding community. I gained both practical skills and a solid theoretical understanding of rewilding. Peter has spent a lifetime rewilding himself with passion and integrity and his willingness to share and teach what he has learned is a gift to anyone who can receive it. He is also open and welcoming to a variety of people and worldviews. His lived experience, integrity, and willingness to be vulnerable make it easy for me to recommend this program to anyone interested in understanding rewilding and living a simpler, wilder, and more connected life.” – JP
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).
Frequent Guest Instructors
Mulysa Melco (she/her) is a landscape designer and horticulturist in Portland. Through Resilience Design, her sustainable landscape design and consultation studio, she facilitates urban and rural site design and ecological restoration projects. These “homesteads and habitats” are multifunctional spaces that aim to foster reconnection between people and ecosystems. She teaches workshops on botany, permaculture, and ecological living skills. Mulysa has a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and a Master of Agriculture in Horticulture degree (focusing on landscape design and garden history) from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. She interned at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in England. In 2014 Mulysa spoke at the National Pesticide Forum about her neighborhood’s campaign to become a pesticide-free zone.
Jesse Ambrose grew up in Pennsylvania and moved to Portland to study Digital Film and Video at the Art Institute. His collaboration with Rewild Portland began in 2010 when he was invited on board as media intern. Working with Rewild introduced Jesse to the world of outdoor education and wilderness survival skills. Since that time he has involved himself in various land-tending projects, and studied social forestry (with topics ranging from prescribed burns to gender, forest systems, timber stand assessment, and transition horticulture) through Hazel’s Siskiyou Permaculture course. In addition to Rewild Portland, Jesse has worked for Village Video and Trackers Northwest. He is a regular staff member at Rewild’s children’s camps and co-teaches hide camp at Echoes in Time.
Tony Deland teaches bow-making, ceramics, and other ancestral skills. He has a Masters in Art Education and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya from 2005 to 2007. While in Kenya he began to learn many ancestral skills in real-world practice and participated in building a mud brick and cob home as well as learning the traditional way of making ceramic cooking pots. Since that experience, Tony has been extremely passionate about traditional and ancestral skills. He has been an instructor at Echoes in Time, Buckeye Gathering in California, and The Sharpening Stone in southern Oregon. He has also taught at Trackers Northwest as their lead instructor for adult and teen programs. His experience as an art teacher helps him to simplify these skills and make them accessible to people who may not have any experience with them. Tony currently teaches visual arts at Jefferson High School in NE Portland.
Registration is now open for 2019-2020. To reserve your spot, register below and select $500 reservation deposit, or pay in full.