At Wild Earth, children & adults head into the woods and off the trails where they’re meeting plants and animals, learning wilderness skills, creating natural crafts, and building deep connections with friends and inspiring mentors.
Wild Earth’s vision is for every person from every walk of life to have the opportunity to explore, play, and learn in nature and while building strong connections to themselves, each other and the Earth.
Wild Earth Cultivates Character:
- Gratitude & Humility
- Awareness & Empathy
- Honesty & Integrity
- Quiet Mind & Self Control
- Curiosity, Passion & Purpose
- Optimism & Vitality
- Confidence, Courage & Agency
- Service & Leadership
- Grit & Resilience
- Sense of Belonging
Wild Earth’s programs are designed to remember and return to our natural human blueprint to form strong connections to self, each other and the Earth. We offer unique, empowering outdoor experiences that help us each grow physically, emotionally and socially. Likewise, at a time when our planet requires diligent and proactive care, Wild Earth’s programs foster gratitude, respect, and a renewed commitment to taking care of the Earth.
Since our founding in 2004, Wild Earth has engaged thousands of people in the Hudson Valley region (NY) in empowering nature immersion programs with inspiring mentors.
Our Mission: Wild Earth leads transformative nature immersion experiences that cultivate character, confidence, passion and perseverance in New York’s youth.
About Us: Located along the Shawangunk Ridge in New York’s Hudson Valley, Wild Earth is a not-for-profit that runs nature-based programs for children, teens, families and adults.
About Our Programs: Wild Earth programs draw on a broad spectrum of teachings ranging from native technologies to the natural sciences. Our programs offer adventure and fun, skills and crafts, awareness games, and story and song, facilitated by multi-generational mentors. They foster individual and group awareness and a deeper connection to the Earth.
Core Practices in Wild Earth Programs
All Wild Earth programs seek to offer experiences that strengthen nature awareness and knowledge of place in a joyful and inspiring way.
Outlined below are common themes to help guide the curricular flow and to help support the intuitive structure of all Wild Earth programs. Much of the distillation below is inspired by Jon Young and can be found in greater detail in his recently published book, Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature. All program coordinators, instructors, board members and volunteers are encouraged to incorporate these focal points into their endeavors. May these core practices help guide us all as we bring together our unique talents, experiences and perspectives into one community basket.
- Growing our connection to and knowledge of nature’s ways through practicing core routines:
- Sit Spot
- Story of the Day
- Expanding our Senses
- Questioning and Tracking
- Animal Forms
- Exploring Field Guides
- Survival Living
- Mind’s eye Imagining
- Listening for Bird Language
- Inspiring enthusiasm for learning in creative and invisible ways by:
- Utilizing the abundance of child passions as teaching tools.
- Playing games, dancing, acting/performing – having fun!
- Imitation and role modeling.
- The art of questioning (instead of answering).
- Storytelling that awakens imagination.
- Music Making.
- Exploring and understanding nature:
- Hazards: A call to be alert and use common sense.
- Motivating Species: Things to Catch, Eat, Climb and Tend.
- Mammals (like us): and other hard-to-see, yet totally trackable critters.
- Plants: Nature’s grocery store and medicine cabinet.
- Ecological Indicators: How it all works together.
- Heritage Species: Wisdom of the ancestors.
- Trees: Tools of human survival.
- Birds: Messengers of the wilderness.
- Orienting and guiding our days, weeks, curriculum and events according to the natural cycle of life and the eight directions:
- East: Morning, Beginnings, Birth, Spring, Welcome, Excitement & Inspiration.
- Southeast: Mid-morning, Movement and Growth, Orientation & Motivation.
- South: Mid-day, Summer, Adolescence, Hard Work, Focus & Perspiration.
- Southwest: Siesta, Late Summer, Transition to Adulthood, Relaxation & Internalization.
- West: Sunset, Autumn, Adulthood, Gathering, Community, Harvest & Celebration.
- Northwest: Twilight, Late Autumn, Letting Go, Reflection & Release.
- North: Mid-night, Winter, Elderhood, Culmination, Distillation & Integration.
- Northeast: Pre-dawn, Coming Spring Thaw, Death & Conception, End & Beginning.
- Positive role modeling and the opportunity for mentoring:
- Meeting others where they are on their journey.
- Nurturing curiosity, passion and purpose.
- Gifting enthusiasm and teaching with passion.
- Practicing openness to all perspectives, cultures and spiritual backgrounds.
- Acknowledging and honoring elder wisdom.
- Listening with a beginner’s mind.
- Invisibly teaching, abstaining from testing and judgment.
- Striving to practice patience, understanding and perseverance.
- Building reverence and stewardship for the earth:
- Caretaking the earth and all its inhabitants.
- Inspiring a love of nature.
- Considering actions as they affect future generations.
- Leaving the land better than we found it.
- Recognizing, respecting and honoring life’s natural rhythms.
- Renewing and strengthening community through:
- Honoring diversity and uniqueness of each individual.
- Giving thanks and reclaiming a culture of gratitude.
- Practicing Peace Principles – Good Message, Peace, Unity.
- Respecting yourself, others and the environment.
- Acknowledging interdependence of all life and recognizing our roles.
- Co-creating through cooperation and collaboration.
Foundational Values of Wild Earth
With gratitude for all that nurtures and supports us, Wild Earth’s board of directors, program and administrative staff, and volunteers continually strive to be in peace with the environment and in harmony with all human beings. Wild Earth recognizes that all life is an interconnected web, and so, it is for our greatest good that we take great care of ourselves, each other, the Earth and all its inhabitants. With this in mind, we strive to uphold the following age-honored values as foundational to all that we are and all that we do at Wild Earth:
- Gratitude, Respect and Reverence: for ourselves and our bodies, for our peers and community, for the environment and its inhabitants.
- Earth Stewardship: All entities of the Earth are essential to life, and everything dwelling on and within Mother Earth is mysteriously, wondrously interconnected. Our livelihood is inseparable from it, and so, to sustain ourselves, we must steward our home.
- Positive Role Modeling: Aware that our actions ripple out and have known and unforeseen effects, we strive to role model our values and aspirations at all times as to affect positively those we are guiding, our peers, our elders, and the vibration of the planet.
- Wellness: Acknowledging that continually seeking a nourishing lifestyle on a personal, communal and organizational level will promote a positive standard of health and vitality essential to the well-being of all.
- Self-care: first and foremost, to promote an atmosphere of personal wellness. If we cannot take care of ourselves, then we cannot be available to serve others in a genuine manner.
- Community: promoting love, care, and open communication in our relationships with employers, program coordinators, staff, peers, parents, and campers.
- Health of the Wild Earth Organization: All decisions, ultimately, must be made with the good of the whole organization at heart.