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Subsistence Shore Fishing in Western Washington: Lakes, Rivers & Saltwater Piers

This article is based on the Conservation College subsistence fishing curriculum developed by Master Fisherman, Lead Instructor & Wild Chef Charlie Borrowman. Join us at our next fishing workshop, usually scheduled in mid June.

Wolf Camp summer participant with sole caught on high-low rig.

Many people view fishing as a recreational past time, but at the Conservation College, we are a bit more pragmatic. It’s a subsistence activity for us. We train ourselves and others to follow laws and traditions to fish local rivers, foothill lakes, and the Salish Sea. Target animals include trout including steelhead, salmon, bass, surf . . . → Read More: Subsistence Shore Fishing in Western Washington: Lakes, Rivers & Saltwater Piers

Top 5 Wild Edible Mushrooms for Wilderness Survival in the Northwest

Lorraine Olivas-Romey with Hericlum Abietis – Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Guest writer Lorraine Olivas-Romey is treasurer of the Snohomish County Mycological Society through which you can join her and other members on mushroom forays and their incredible October Mushroom Show.

Wild Edible Mushroom Hunting

Foraging for mushrooms has recently become quite popular. Is it due to a “back to nature” movement, consuming food that is naturally grown, or the thrill of finding something totally organic? Whatever it is, be cautious about eating a mushroom without total identification that it is an edible. In fact, “a mushroom chooses its victim”. One . . . → Read More: Top 5 Wild Edible Mushrooms for Wilderness Survival in the Northwest

Nikki van Schyndel “Becoming Wild” Book Review

Book Review by Patrick Wiley

When I received an unexpected email detailing the upcoming release of Nikki van Schyndel’s Becoming Wild, I was ecstatic. I had heard about the book seven years prior, but it had practically become an urban legend. Drawing upon my own experience and occasional lack of follow through, I had long ago concluded that the book was probably just a dream Nikki held that would never come to fruition. As is often the case, Nikki proved me wrong. Nearly a decade after the initial birthing of an idea, Nikki’s book has arrived. The . . . → Read More: Nikki van Schyndel “Becoming Wild” Book Review

Tracking Animals for Fun, Photography and the Hunt

Explorer of Earth by Joanna Colbert and used with permission for the Wolf College

It All Comes Back To Tracking – The Most Critical Outdoor Skill

Explorer of Earth by Joanna Colbert of Wolf College instructor and used with permission.

If you can find it, you don’t have to make it. But what’s more, tracking is exciting as a mystery. You can discover the story of what happened in nature before you got there, so next time you’re on the trail, see if you can spot an animal track. Don’t try to identify it. At least not at first. Jumping to a conclusion about the identity of a track unwise, and it’s . . . → Read More: Tracking Animals for Fun, Photography and the Hunt

Reviews of the Top 10 Professional Wildlife Tracking Books

It’s been a long time coming. The great Haitian-American naturalist John James Audubon hand-painted The Birds of America between 1927-1939 and with it, he set the standard for modern field guides. Now there are several excellent field guides to the birds, but it has only been recently that field guides to plants and other animals have risen to that level of user-friendly excellence. The following is a list of my Top 10 wildlife tracking book compilations, with must-have field guides in bold:

1948 Ellsworth Jaeger: Tracks and Trailcraft by Ellsworth Jaeger, first published in 1948, is the first . . . → Read More: Reviews of the Top 10 Professional Wildlife Tracking Books

Tips for Eating Wild Edible Insects

Young Man at Wolf Camp eating Chocolate Covered Mealworms

All of us have eaten insects, whether we knew it or not. As a kid, I even ate a worm on the playground to impress and gross out my friends. It’s not really a big deal. Unfortunately, adults who spent their whole lives growing up in western culture, now consider the notion of eating insects nothing short of repulsive. The truth of the matter is, insects have be an integral part of the food chain for millions of years, and as the United Nations just reported, we should start eating . . . → Read More: Tips for Eating Wild Edible Insects

Traditional Parfleche & Hide Tanning to Make Buckskin Leather

How to Make Traditional Parfleche & Tan Hides for Buckskin Leather

1. Gut & Skin Hide removing as much fat as possible, but not puncturing hide with knife. In fact, just make your initial cuts and PULL IT off. There is a youtube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WzioyMC4qg that shows HOW TO GUT pretty well, but skip to this youtube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLlU3l7YkTo for HOW TO SKIN a deer. Also look at the related recommended youtube videos that appear alongside these since people are always uploading new and better ones as time goes by. If you can’t work with the . . . → Read More: Traditional Parfleche & Hide Tanning to Make Buckskin Leather

Traditional Big Game Bow & Arrow Making Instructions

A. Harvest the Wood Quickie Bow: Start with a relatively straight section of sapling or branch that is as free as possible from knots and side branches, and without any twist. You want this straight section to be 1-2 meters long and about 3-6 centimeters in diameter. Remember to cut carefully so not to create cracks or splits in the wood.* Big Game Bow: In the pacific northwest, find healthy stand of Pacific Yew, Vine Maple or Sitka Spruce. Harvest with a gardener’s eye. Here’s a good “moderate bow” video especially Material Selection & Preparation, with great overview starting . . . → Read More: Traditional Big Game Bow & Arrow Making Instructions

Making Clam Chowder with French Herbs

French Onion Soup and Salad by Wilderness Chef Charlie Borrowman

Clam chowder is a New England specialty and perfect for a foggy day down by the shore. Being the prestigious dish that it is, it must be complicated, right? Not necessarily so. With a few tips and tricks, anyone can make a delicious chowder! First we’ll start by preparing the clams. Fresh cooked clams will give our chowder a classic feel that you just cant get out of a can.

New England Clam Chowder – Primary Ingredients

Wolf College co-coordinator Kim Chisholm on a successful Clam Dig

3 Lbs Fresh manilla or little-neck clams, cleaned and checked to make . . . → Read More: Making Clam Chowder with French Herbs

Eating From The Seashore: Seaweeds & Shellfish of the Salish Sea

Chris-Chisholm-holding-edible-bullwhip-kelp

Group of day campers doing the seaweed challenge on Lummi Island.

A day on the seashore is fun, but a if you know some basic information about seaweeds and shellfish, then a day is never enough. In fact, you could live on the beach and never see everything that’s going on. “Edge” areas are always the places where the greatest number of species cross paths, and there is no greater edge than the seashore.

Seashores have been the ultimate place for me to teach classes. After 25 years of researching and teaching nature, and living near the beach, I . . . → Read More: Eating From The Seashore: Seaweeds & Shellfish of the Salish Sea

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wisconsin Wolf?

Detail of Wolf Artwork in Justice by Joanna Colbert

Article written by Dr. Thomas P. Chisholm, Col., USA, Ret.

Identifying tracks of wild animals is easiest in new snow when the temperature is moderate on a sunny day. March is often the best month when the snow is deep and the weather is warmer. Tracking on skis is pleasant but snowshoes are best when the brush is thick under the trees and the balsams are dense. Both are good exercise, burn calories rapidly and the thrill of identifying a bobcat or a fox is an adventure.

Finding the large prints of an elusive wolf that end with at the . . . → Read More: Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wisconsin Wolf?

Top 10 List of Natural Navigation, Lostproofing & Orienteering Tips, Tricks & Advice

Hiker Reading Old School Map - Artowrk by Joanna Powell Colbert

Wolf College Top 10 Lostproofing Skills Plan your route and risk manage it (empower all to say “stop, is it worth the risk, and if so, let’s make a mitigation plan) Every person needs to bring the 10 essentials. See https://www.mountaineers.org/learn/how-to/the-ten-essentials Always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Then go there! If you do this, then you know someone (lots of someones) will come looking for you. Whenever you change your plans, stop and go back to number one. Never separate from your party unless there is a paramount reason and all parties go back . . . → Read More: Top 10 List of Natural Navigation, Lostproofing & Orienteering Tips, Tricks & Advice

The Most Important Plant – Cattails! Video of Finding, Harvesting, Transplanting & Cooking Cattails

Wolf College founder and co-owner Chris Chisholm finds red-wing blackbirds in cattail pond, harvests cattail rhizomes, transplants the cattail into the Wolf College bioswale rain garden, and cooks cattails for carbohydrate loading. . . . → Read More: The Most Important Plant – Cattails! Video of Finding, Harvesting, Transplanting & Cooking Cattails

Top 10 Most Important Wild Edible Food Plants

First Plants to Learn

No plant is more important than any other, just like no person’s life should be more important than anyone else’s. But all of us who publish books about plants make choices as to which plants to highlight, and which to leave out during the editing process. My choice of plants is a practical one, and I should have named this article the “Plants Which Have the Most Critical Ethnobotanical Uses in North America ” if it weren’t such a cumbersome statement.

Deciding which plants to study first is also critical for those of . . . → Read More: Top 10 Most Important Wild Edible Food Plants

First Monthly Outdoor Skills Newsletter publishes March 4th, 2013

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– Where to find current hot wildlife spots and more – Previews of program ideas and upcoming skills videos – Mini skills newsletter workshops from our workshop hand-outs – Special program discount offers for things like helping us design a newsletter cover:)