The Conservation College Blue Skye Farm Internship is an entrepreneurial, sustainable homesteading program informed by the principles of permaculture that trains participants to be energy efficient and self-sufficient living off the land. Our certification with the Washington State Farm Internship Project allows us to fill just 3 positions available in this, our 20th Anniversary Year, with one room (for a couple or single applicant) still available so apply by April 30th.
Our farm internship training positions are available for adults who want to develop skills of energy conservation and self-sufficiency at our home campus on Blue Skye Farm. You will work to learn homesteading, sustainability and “permaculture” skills which include a revolutionary lifestyle of appropriate living that cultivates the home environment in a way that benefits nature as well as humans.
Skills you will develop include • Farm Animal Care & Cultivation • Organic Fruit Orcharding, Herb & Vegetable Gardening • Sustainable Building • Natural Selection Forestry • Budgeting & Profits from Entrepreneurial Cottage Industry • Wild Edible Foraging & Preparation • Paleo Cooking & Food Storage • Medicinal Herb Collection & Preservation and more.
The mission of the internship is to guide you to become a self-sufficient homesteader and an expert on sustainability skills. It is designed for aspiring homesteaders, hobby farmers, permaculturists and budding entrepreneurs want to learn these subjects.
No matter your previous experience, you will be expected to fully participate in every possible training opportunity to push your skills to a higher level of excellence, although your own health will be the priority. We hope that along with your development of a personal medicine wheel of health, guided by permaculture principles, the values of earth skills, and your own self-care and self-motivation, you become a person to whom anyone could turn to in times of need.FAQ – Internship Directors, Dates & Costs
Full Time Tuition with Room & Board: All expenses including tuition, room and board at Blue Skye Farm total $1,950 minus discounts for early work trade and previous experience considered, and you can earn that tuition back with farm sales. Instructor Certification & College Credits may be available for extra fees. There are also other apprenticeship focus options you can choose which vary in required dates and base costs up to $2,950.
2017 Dates: May 7 – September 24 are required full time, and you can extended your stay with complimentary room and board through October. Our certification with the Washington State Farm Internship Project allows us to fill just 3 positions available in this, our 20th Anniversary Year, so apply by April 30th.
FAQ – Farm Internship Benefits & Background
Our apprenticeship programs have run every year since, with the farm internship piloted a couple times over the years until the Washington State Farm Internship Project legislation finally passed in 2015 and we began the program in earnest. More than half our staff have come on board via our apprenticeships and now farm internship, while others enrolled to receive training in advance of starting their own schools or to gain experience for employment elsewhere. Check out our apprenticeship testimonials from novice apprentices, former campers-turned-instructors, and experienced educators who all succeeded in our summer apprenticeships and agree that results far exceeded expectations.
Beyond tuition and insurance, you need not spend another dime all summer, as all additional expenses are covered with work trade. Some might think that not spending any money all summer, and gaining income from farm sales are the bottom line benefits, but the real bottom line is your transformation into an experienced farmer with foundations in small business management. Successful participants also gain eligibility for employment at Wolf Camp and have strong recommendations for employment elsewhere.
FAQ – Work Priorities & Skill Goals
Your goals will expand over the course of the summer, from learning the basics of sustainable farming, to the development of your entrepreneurial skills, to being given teaching opportunities during the summer. Curriculum for the program will include field exercises from the Wolf Journey Earth Conservation Course including Book I: Trail of the Neighborhood Naturalist, Book II: Trail of the Traditional Herbalist and Book VII: Trail of the Sustainable Citizen.
1st Priority: Learn to earn a living by producing, marketing and selling farm produce. The Conservation College will cover expenses like farmer’s market booth fees and city permits for farm stands on the street, so revenues will be split 50/50 on everything you produce and sell from our farm.
2nd Priority: Take care of yourself, while nurturing campers and supporting other staff. It is important that you come into the program as healthy and prepared as possible, for although during the training portion of the program your educational needs are the focus, during the summer camp season, the needs of the children at camp will be the focus, so you will have to learn to remain healthy amongst constant camp activity.
3rd Priority: Develop a working knowledge of the skills. Interns always relate how at the end of the summer, they were amazed at how this “just happened” but on the other hand, with skills like these, it’s all about studying each and every aspect at length.
FAQ – Additional Skills Gained
• Sustainable Farming
• Farm Animal Care & Cultivation
• Organic & Biodynamic Herb & Vegetable Gardening
• Appropriate Energy Technologies
• Sustainable Building
• Natural Selection Forestry (chopping and chainsawing, wood splitting and moving)
• Budgeting & Profits from Entrepreneurial Cottage Industry
• Wild Edible Foraging & Preparation (Herbs, Nuts, Roots, Flowers, Fruits, Insects)
• Primitive Cooking & Food Storage (pit cook, clay oven, ash cakes, smoking, jerkying, pemmican)
• Medicinal Herb Collection & Preservation (drawing from knowledge of area herbalists)
• Hide Tanning (wet and dry scraping, brain and other high-tannin methods, hair on and off)
• Clay Harvesting, Molding & Firing
• Parfleching (carrying cases, drum making, sheaths and quivers with fur and tanned hide)
Secondary Skills Introduced
• Birding & Bird Language (academic and song-to-alarm interpretations)
• Naturalist Sketching & Journaling (using sit spots, drawing instruction, quick journaling strategies)
• Wet Fire Maintenance & Fire by Friction (bow drill, hand drill, fire plow, flint & steel)
• Flintknapping & Primitive Tool Making (from harvested stones, bones, wood)
• Bow & Arrow Making (survival bows, self bows, lumber bows, fletching, lashing, etc.)
• Primitive Fishing (wiering, netting, spearing, bow fishing, hand fishing, hook and line, gorges, bullfrogging)
• Natural Water Purification (seeps, filters, rock boiling, and locating natural springs)
• Bowls & Cordage Making (double and triple reverse wrap using nettle, fireweed, cedar, kelp seaweed)
• Bioregional Ecosystems (old growth temperate rainforest, glaciated alpine meadow, intertidal and estuary, river and lake, wetland and bog, desert and sagebrush steppe, mixed pine and subalpine forest)
• Music and the Arts (flute making, drumming, songwriting, poetry, clay sculpting, natural paints, singing and pianos/guitars on hand)
• Risk Management (assessing sites, planning activities, mitigating hazards)
• Emergency Rescue, Advanced First Aid, CPR (wilderness and water settings)
• Health & Organizational Strategies (western lineal and medicine wheel use for self, lessons, projects)
• Incorporating Permaculture & Starting New Schools (examples of non-profits, partnerships, sole ventures, and communities)
• Political Environmentalism (left and right wing strategies, legislative and artistic strategies)
FAQ – Summer Schedule
Work with us to set your own schedule, starting on May 7th to get settled in. You will need to complete 1 hour of work-trade per day for your room and board. Other work hours will only be tallied so you can see later how sustainable it is, or efficient you are, at making revenue from farm produce. You will also be spending a least an hour per day on your Wolf Journey Earth Conservation Course field exercises. We recommend working Mon-Fri, attending workshops or selling produce at farmers markets on Saturdays, and taking Sundays off in general.
May 13 Workshop: Wilderness Survival including Bow Drill Fire Making
May 20 Workshop: Wild Edible Plant Foraging & Herbal Medicine Making
May 27 Workshop: Edible Seaweeds & Shellfish of the Salish Sea
June 3 Workshop: Subsistence Shore Fishing on Piers, Rivers & Lakes
June 4-25: Farming, streetside farmstand, and market sales. Options of Tuesday Tacoma 6th Ave Farmer’s Market; Wednesday Tacoma Eastside Farmer’s Market; Friday Orting Farmer’s Market. Saturdays Puyallup Farmer’s Market. Sundays Off.
June 26-30: Daily potpourri and breakfast from 7:00-8:00. Farm chores from 8:00-9:00. Participate in morning classes from 9:30-12:00. Lunches and archery from 12:00-1:00. Participate in afternoon classes from 1:00-3:30. Prep for farm sales from 3:30-5:30. Dinner and clean-up from 5:30-7:00.
July 1: Saturday Puyallup Farmer’s Market.
July 2-7: Farming and sales, or assist at the Teaching Nature: Professional Training for Future Environmental Educators.
July 8-15: Farming, streetside farmstand, and market sales, or assist at the Wilderness Survival Training & Trek.
July 16-21: Farming, streetside farmstand, and market sales, or assist at the Survival Youth Camps.
July 22-30: Farming, streetside farmstand, and market sales.
July 31 – Aug 12: Farming, streetside farmstand, and market sales.
August 13-18: Farming and sales, or assist at the Wild Cooking, Ethnobotany & Herbal Expedition or Traditional Technologies: Classical Crafts of the Ancient Artisan or prep for day camps if choosing to assist with Wild Cooking & Herbology or the Ethnic American Pioneer or Advanced Wilderness Survival.
August 19-26: Farming, streetside farmstand, and market sales.
Aug 27 – Sept 1: Farming and sales, or assist at the Epic Fishing Camp.
September 2: Puyallup Farmer’s Market or Winterize Blue Skye Farm.
September 3: Complimentary entrance to the Washington State Fair.
September 4: Complimentary Trailing & Photographing Animals in Elk Country for graduating apprentices and staff.
September 5-8: Winterize farm and prepare for weekend farm sales.
Sept 9-10: Optional Two Day Animal Tracking, Ethnobotany & Ethnoecollgy Evaluation Workshops for $275 per two-day evaluation.
Sep 11-15: Winterize farm and prepare for weekend farm sales.
Sept 16: Optional complimentary participation in the Sustainable Home & Gardens – Living on an Acre workshop.
Sept 17-21: Winterize farm and prepare for weekend farm sales.
Sept 22-24: Work-trade participation in the Wolf Gathering Fall Equinox Skillshare Rendezvous Celebration.
Sept 25-29: Optional work-trade and farm sales.
September 30: Complimentary participation in the Nisqually Watershed Festival.
Oct 1-6: Optional work-trade and farm sales.
October 7: Complimentary participation in the Salmon Homecoming.
Oct 8-13: Optional work-trade and farm sales.
October 14: Complimentary participation in Harvest & Process Autumn Acorns, Nettles & Rose Hips workshop.
Oct 15-20: Optional work-trade and farm sales.
October 21: Complimentary participation in Top 5 Wild Edible Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest Coast workshop.
Ready to Apply?
Click here for supplemental FAQs received from applicants, and remember, our certification with the Washington State Farm Internship Project allows us to fill just 3 positions available in this, our 20th Anniversary Year, so apply by asap for the best discount and placement opportunities.
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Refund Policy: Standard deposits ($75 for day programs, $175 for overnight programs) are not refundable unless we don’t accept your application. If you cancel for any reason, you may receive a full credit good through the following calendar year on appropriate and available programs listed on our schedule, although an additional deposit may be required to secure your spot in the future program. If a program you sign up for is canceled and not rescheduled at a time you can attend, you may receive a full refund except in case of natural (weather, geologic, etc) disasters, government shutdowns, conflicts or curfews, or other unforeseen emergencies making it impossible for staff and/or attendees to reach or use program locations, in which case all payments made will be held by us without expiration date for your future use in appropriate/available programs of your choice. No refund, nor credit, is given if a participant is asked to leave a program for inappropriateness as determined by our kids, youth and adult agreements for participation.
We’re looking forward to receiving your application, but feel free to call or email us so we can clarify any questions you have. There is so very much to gain and to give in this program, so we’re looking forward to sharing it with you. – Kim & Chris Chisholm