Workshop in the Wild

Workshop in the Wild

By living in the big city, one has the advantage of having all of society’s urban amenities just steps from your front door. But every so often, it is wonderful to escape into the countryside, where fresh air, clean lakes, and peace and quiet replace the concrete jungle of cars, crowds and hustle. Some urban dwellers are lucky to be able to get out to the countryside on a regular basis. For others, with busy work schedules and regular family and social obligations, finding the time and means to get out of the city is much more difficult. This is especially true if one is balancing work and studying at the same time.

But what if there were a way to take advantage of the wilderness as part of an education? Nature is not only a wonderful environment to learn in, due to its tranquility and absence of distractions. It is also a great learning tool in itself. There are numerous valuable skills to learn in the countryside, covering everything from learning to identify which plants and trees are edible or medicinal, to learning overall survival skills living in the wilderness.

Now, it is safe to assume that the average person, or even the student of nature, does not actually require wilderness survival skills barring some grand urban catastrophe. Nevertheless, continuing education programs that offer non-credit workshops in the wilderness can be practical for everyday living, not to mention loads of fun. Most importantly, the experience gained from a real wilderness course is one hundred per cent irreplaceable, meaning these things cannot be taught in traditional classrooms, nor can they be learned in books.

Here are some activities one can have in a wilderness workshop:

A� Building shelter: learning the proper set-up of tenting gear, or even creating shelter from natural materials

A� Long-distance hiking and trekking: learn about appropriate packing, nourishment, and weather protection for extended journeys on foot, as well as navigation with or without a compass

A� Plant and Tree identification: learn to distinguish edible plants from harmful and poisonous ones, and learn to use plant life for first aid purposes

A� Fishing: learn techniques for proper fishing for recreation or consumption, how to properly prepare fish for eating, as well as conservation rules for preserving water wildlife

A� Animal Safety: what to do in case confronted with aggressive or dangerous animals, such as bears or wolves

A� Fire-making: effective techniques for safe and controlled fires, what to do in case of accidental fire spread

A� Water-Procurement: how to locate water, as well as treat and filter it if necessary

Activities such as these can give a whole new meaning to the concept of distance education. You will certainly be far from the traditional school setting, but that just means that the great outdoors is your expansive classroom to explore.