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Course Catalog

Teaching Nature Part IV – Outdoor Education Tips & Tricks of the Trade

… Continued from Teaching Nature Part III – Preparing & Leading Classes, Camps, Lessons & Programs

Responsibility: The Ability To Respond

In the fall of 1994 my path lead from employment at Sea Mar Community Health Centers as a Level II Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor with youth specialist credential, to the start of my self-employment career. At the time, I was a jack of all trades, master of none, but I was not yet ready for the perfect job among people like that, which is of course teaching. I had also been doing a lot of volunteer work with homeless . . . → Read More: Teaching Nature Part IV – Outdoor Education Tips & Tricks of the Trade

Teaching Nature Part III – Preparing & Leading Classes, Camps, Lessons & Programs

… Continued from Teaching Nature Part II – Learning Styles & Age Considerations

Let’s Prep This Thing Review what was promised: course description, website, policy manual, emails, private contract proposal. Group similar skills together on a list. Determine the best flow of skills. For instance, to teach animal tracking, you gotta start with general awareness. Draft a guess at your timeline to facilitate efficiency. Be as realistic as possible, and decide which skills are absolutely necessary so you can cut or deprioritize what’s “too much” if time doesn’t allow for more. Remember the FAF Factor (Farting Around Forever) during transitions . . . → Read More: Teaching Nature Part III – Preparing & Leading Classes, Camps, Lessons & Programs

Teaching Nature Part II – Learning Styles & Age Considerations

… Continued from Teaching Nature Part I – Outdoor Education Fundamentals (Prep, Safety & Discipline)

Learning Styles: Teaching To All Individuals

My teaching philosophy was largely re-shaped by experience teaching at the Whatcom Hills Waldorf School during a time when I would have gladly put any child into any classroom with any of the teachers who were there those two years I taught Spanish to all grades. The pedagogy of Waldorf Education really emphasizes teaching to age level. One of my mentors from that era was Janet Jewell who helped extrapolate the following information for use in wilderness educational settings.

. . . → Read More: Teaching Nature Part II – Learning Styles & Age Considerations

Teaching Nature Part I – Outdoor Education Fundamentals (Prep, Safety & Discipline)

Although I love the outdoor skills we teach at Wolf Camp and the Conservation College, the actual skill of teaching is my real specialty. Teaching in the classroom is difficult enough, where walls and rows of tables and chairs help keep students focused. Outdoors, it’s a real trick helping students learn efficiently, and to avoid developing bad habits that can come back to haunt you and them later. – Chris Chisholm

Teaching: It’s All In The Prep

If you want to create excellent classes and other forms of educational programming, outdoors or otherwise, the key is preparation. Prep time . . . → Read More: Teaching Nature Part I – Outdoor Education Fundamentals (Prep, Safety & Discipline)

OJT at the Teaching Nature – Professional Training for Outdoor Educators

My OJT Experience by Ben Kleiber

Teachers training week at Wolf Camp and the Conservation College is full of preparing for classes and rapid-fire teaching full of information. It can be stressful at times but ends up being the most valuable week of the summer.

Working with all ages for a week gives an entirely different sense of how to teach and interact with kids than almost any other experience. Being with the kids for upwards of six hours a day and teaching them entirely new skills also allows all the Wolf Camp instructors to improve their teaching skills . . . → Read More: OJT at the Teaching Nature – Professional Training for Outdoor Educators

How to Pit Cook in the Outdoors

Unsurprisingly, many people have never even heard of pit cooking. Getting our food that close to dirt is enough to make anyone uncomfortable, and with the invention of indoor ovens, pit cooking has become widely ignored in our culture. Lately though, there has been a resurgence of similar outdoor cooking trends, including La Caja China BBQ Box | Cajun Pig Roasts.

While that’s a recent and great beach party innovation, another similar example is one of the few remaining traditions surviving the modernized world: the traditional luau Kahlua pig as shown in the video above. These traditional Hawaiian festivities . . . → Read More: How to Pit Cook in the Outdoors

How to Make an Appalachian Potato Basket

Basketry is a fascinating and ancient traditional craft that dates back to the earliest humans. Our ancestors created and developed the basket as a method for transporting food, water, children, and other materials. I love the history behind basket making — it’s kind of like the invention of the wheel. Our ancestors figured out how to use the natural materials of their environment to create a system for transporting the ‘stuff’ that was essential for their survival.

Without a doubt, these first baskets were simple and without frills. However, over time, the tradition of basketry has created a variety . . . → Read More: How to Make an Appalachian Potato Basket

How to make an Herbal Syrup

Syrups are a wonderful way to take herbal medicine. They are satisfyingly sweet, with honey (most common), or other substitutes such as sugar, maple syrup, or vegetable glycerin combined with concentrated herbal extracts. Good for both children and adults, syrups are used to treat a variety of symptoms and ailments such as colds, flu and seasonal allergies. Syrups can also be taken for physical and emotional well-being, such as for strengthening the immune system, relieving tension and stress, mood changes, and much more.

What is a Syrup?

An herbal syrup is a blended, concentrated form of herbal extract and . . . → Read More: How to make an Herbal Syrup

Stinging Nettle Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here at Wolf Camp, we get a lot of questions about Stinging Nettle. It is awesome that so many people are interested in it! It is truly an amazing plant. So, we decided to compile a list of the most frequently asked questions, so that others can learn to use and appreciate Nettle as well.

Stinging Nettle FAQ:

What is the plant in Washington that causes stinging?

It is Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica.

Is there a time of year when Nettles don’t sting?

No, they sting year round. Even the baby nettles can give you a nice welt . . . → Read More: Stinging Nettle Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to Make Pine Needle Tea

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we live in a rich and varied ecosystem. Our temperate rain forests are host to a wide variety of plants, many of which the Native people learned how to use for food, medicine, technology, craft, ceremony, and more.

The forests in our bio-region are dominated by Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar, and Douglas Fir. These beautiful trees have many gifts to offer, and some are even edible. Subspecies of the Pine family (Pinaceae) have edible needles, which are very high in Vitamins C and A. I think it’s kind of funny that . . . → Read More: How to Make Pine Needle Tea

How to Make Stinging Nettle Tea

In my humble (and perhaps a bit plant-biased) opinion, Stinging Nettle is one of the most amazing plants in the Pacific Northwest. Here at Wolf Camp & the Wolf College, we consider Nettle to be one of the top 10 most important survival plants, with a variety of uses such as food, technology (rope, craft, dye), and medicine.

With its sharp, stinging hairs, Nettle may seem like a plant to keep at a distance. However, this is a plant we should always have around! I like the Traditional Medicinals saying, that ‘once you have a friend in Nettle, you . . . → Read More: How to Make Stinging Nettle Tea

How to Make “Kettle Nettle” (Caramelized Stinging Nettle Chips)

I’ve already talked a little bit about my love for Stinging Nettle (with Nettle Shampoo and Nettle Tea), but I’ve been waiting to share one of my most favorite wild edible recipes: Caramelized Stinging Nettle Chips, or what I like to call ‘Kettle Nettle.’

We first made these by accident during one of Wolf Camp’s Herbal day camps — we had just made candied fennel, and were demonstrating how to make Sauteed Nettle. Because we used the same pan as the candied fennel, the leftover sugar caramelized on the nettle and made it crisp up. When we sampled it, . . . → Read More: How to Make “Kettle Nettle” (Caramelized Stinging Nettle Chips)

How to Make an Herbal Tincture (Folk Method)

Tinctures are a favored method of extracting medicinal properties from plants. They are one of the oldest herbal preparations, created and used thousands of years ago, and are still widely used today.

What is a Tincture?

A tincture is a concentrated herbal extract that uses alcohol as the solvent.

To understand what a tincture is, we need to also understand what isn’t a tincture. So, a tincture is an herbal extract that uses alcohol as the menstruum (solvent): if the menstruum isn’t alcohol, then the herbal preparation is not a tincture but an extract. An extract uses water, vinegar, . . . → Read More: How to Make an Herbal Tincture (Folk Method)

How to Make Mullein & Honey Cough Syrup

Mullein is a beautiful large plant that thrives in disturbed areas. Mullein is also full of medicinal and beneficial components like mucilage, flavonoids, iridoids, sterols, and sugars.

Mullein as a Medicine

Medicinally, Mullein is traditionally used for lung and bronchial ailments such as coughs, asthma, congestion, and colds. Additionally, it is thought that Mullein has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. This is a great plant to have on hand during the cold season!

During one of Wolf College’s Herbal overnight camps, the campers had the opportunity to use their new herbal knowledge to treat a lingering wet cough. To make . . . → Read More: How to Make Mullein & Honey Cough Syrup

How to Make Sparkling Elder Herbal Soda (Two Recipes!)

Who doesn’t enjoy a refreshing, sparkling soda?

We’ve noticed that lately, more and more independent artisan sodas are appearing in our local grocery store. Most of them use organic (or even local!) ingredients, cane sugar or stevia, fermented starters, or even herbal extracts. This is awesome! We can join in the artisan/homebrew movement and easily make our own natural herbal sodas at home, using just a homemade herbal syrup, sparkling water, and some ice. At Wolf College’s Herbal camps, we like to teach how to make herbal syrups. Syrups are a favored way to make herbal remedies, since they . . . → Read More: How to Make Sparkling Elder Herbal Soda (Two Recipes!)

How to Make Ox-Eye Daisy Fritters 3 Ways!

Ox-Eye Daisies (also spelled “oxeye” daisy) are an abundant wild edible that thrives in fields, meadows, and other disturbed areas. It is a familiar plant with a sun-yellow central disc and spreading white ray florets, found in backyards, parks, and out in the wild.

Ox-eye daisies are edible: the leaves make a nice (but somewhat bitter) addition to salads, and the flowers can be eaten raw, added to dishes for decoration, pickled like capers, or cooked in a variety of ways.

While we can add the flower heads to a salad, there are, in my opinion, tastier ways to . . . → Read More: How to Make Ox-Eye Daisy Fritters 3 Ways!

How to Make Dandelion Root Coffee

Dandelions thrive in meadows, fields, the side of the road, and in our backyards. The happy sun-colored flowers are a common sight, and are even (unfortunately) considered a weed. Despite the weed classification, dandelions are a prized wild edible — all parts are edible and contain a variety of medicinal benefits.

The root of a dandelion is used as a bitter liver cleanser, a blood purifier, and a digestive stimulant. Drinking a dandelion root decoction can help aid digestion and cleanse our livers, as well as fight inflammation. Long-term use of dandelion root can help clear skin irritation, acne, . . . → Read More: How to Make Dandelion Root Coffee

How to Make Herbal Root Beer

My first taste of ‘real’ root beer was during one of Wolf College’s day camps. I had never had homemade root beer before, only the commercial soda, so this was a real treat. I love fizzy drinks and herbal root beer was unlike anything I had tasted before. It had a complex taste, with the anise, sassafras, and sarsaparilla (what fun words) most prominent, along with spicy ginger and the deeper flavors of dandelion root and cherry bark. It tastes almost nothing like commercial root beer and I’m glad — it has a unique, herbal taste.

Root Beer in . . . → Read More: How to Make Herbal Root Beer

John Kallas’s “Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate” Book Review

Book Review by Hannah

John Kallas’s Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate is one of my favorite wild edible field guides. I like to think of this book as a primer in foraging because it details how to find, harvest, process and eat over 23 different wild plants.

Edible Wild Plants is a comprehensive guide that addresses many of the wild edibles that we can find first and foremost in our backyards. Instead of planting conventional lettuce and other nutrient-poor plants, we can eat the “weeds” — the nutritious wild greens that already grow in our backyards, . . . → Read More: John Kallas’s “Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate” Book Review

How to Make Stinging Nettle Shampoo

Spring and summer mean an abundance of Stinging Nettle. Stinging Nettle grows all over the Pacific Northwest, and this spiny friend can be used for food, medicine, technology (rope, craft, dye), and even for natural beauty products.

→ Click here to read Wolf College’s comprehensive Stinging Nettle guide, including how to find, identify, harvest, eat and cook stinging nettle.

Benefits of Stinging Nettle: A Healthy Scalp and Beautiful Hair

Although Stinging Nettle may seem like a plant you wouldn’t want to touch, it is easy to respectfully harvest and process. It is a staple plant to have on hand . . . → Read More: How to Make Stinging Nettle Shampoo