Classes are back on, but the long-term intensives are cancelled for 2020/2021— check the "Upcoming Classes" schedule below to see what's happening! All classes currently meet outdoors, with appropriate safety precautions. Please bring a mask for all classes, including tracking club.
We are designed to be in reciprocal relationship with our wild surroundings. There are myriad other beings around us — the otter in her bank den, the yellow warbler perched in the alders, the sensitive fern clumped below — living their inter-related lives, all tuned in to each other and to the whole. We are the only ones who have stepped outside that circle. In order to return to reciprocity, we need to cultivate relationship with our non-human neighbors.
Fox Paw Tracking Club
Every first Saturday of the month we'll meet at the Stranahan Town Forest and explore the tracks, sign, plants/trees, and habitat our North Woods home has to offer. I'll provide some loose structure and instruction — bring a mask, your field guides, questions, weather-appropriate gear and snacks. Beginners very welcome! Aimed at teens and adults.
We start at 9 a.m. and end around noon. There is no cost for tracking club. Be in touch with any questions.
Stranahan town forest (parking lot off Hollister Hill Road), Marshfield.
Easy directions available from Google Maps.
Nature & Spirit with Fearn Lickfield —Fall Session
Our first Nature & Spirit series was such a success, we're running it again!
Join me for a four-part series celebrating fall, co-taught with Fearn Lickfield of the Green Mountain Druid Order. As birds migrate, animals hibernate, and plants send their energies underground to await the spring, we'll take a deep look at our Central VT landscape and find ways to connect to this stark and beautiful season. We'll spend time learning about, observing, beholding, and just being with our surroundings. Possible topics include:
– Basic energetic and phytochemical actions of medicinal herbs on our landscape
– Bird migration: routes, routines, and possibilities
– Fall's role in a healthy and balanced psycho-emotional human ecology
– After the blossom is gone: flower essences and field botany
– The yin and yang of seeing and beholding, or how to look with your eyes and your heart at the same time
Class will be held in a different outdoor location each week, no more than a 30 minute drive from Montpelier. Specific locations will be announced soon. Tuition is $100-$180 sliding scale, and the true cost is $160. Registration is open at the Druid Order's website, and enrollment is limited, so sign up now to reserve your spot.
We meet on four consecutive Thursdays from 9am-noon. Dates: Oct 22nd, Oct 29th, Nov 5th, Nov 12th. In case of serious weather (heavy rain, high winds, blizzard, etc), we will postpone and add a week, meeting on Nov 19th.
Winter Wildlife Tracking Institute at the North Branch Nature Center
This winter, up your snow tracking game! Trackers of all levels will take home a ton of new skills in this 3-month course, hosted by the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier. We'll meet one Saturday a month from January to March, with optional homework, mentoring, and online contact hours between sessions. We'll cover North Woods ecology, clear track ID, animal gaits and track patterns, comparative anatomy of mammals, and much, much more! Our days will be mostly field time, with some safe, socially-distanced classroom time mixed in to drill down on the more technical concepts.
Saturday, January 16th (rain date Sunday, January 17th)
Saturday, February 20th (rain date Sunday, February 21st)
Saturday, March 20th (rain date Sunday, March 21st)
$235, scholarships available
Register at the North Branch website. Limited to 16 students.
This eight-month intensive will give you the tools to connect with our landscape on all scales, from broad-scale biome down to the silky hairs on the back of a new leaf.
"We asked Jonathan to design a nature walk as part of our staff retreat in Burke, VT. Our group was fascinated to learn about everything from how glaciers shaped the mountains to how farmers affected the landscape, with up close looks at trees, birds, and spring flowers. Jonathan knows so much, and his enthusiasm for nature is infectious!"
Noemi Giszpenc, Cooperative Development Institute, Northhampton MA
“I have had the pleasure of an ongoing nature mentorship with Jonathan. On our walks he teaches from his expansive and intricate knowledge of Nature with skill and enthusiasm. I always come away feeling more aware, connected and inspired to know more!”
Fearn Lickfield, Worcester VT
“I really enjoyed the tracking workshop with Jonathan. As we studied tracks and shouted out guesses, he didn't always tell us whether we were right or wrong — the hallmark of a good teacher. Instead, he guided us through piecing out the "why" and "how" of what the animal might have been up to. We were invited to use our senses to engage in a relationship with nature. Humans are prone to feeling like visitors in the natural world, but during this workshop I felt that I was a part of it.”
Jacqueline Huttenmoser, ECO Americorps member
“Jonathan really impressed upon us the importance of quieting ourselves and avoiding tunnel
vision from focusing too narrowly on one observation. We had to use all our senses to find the clues that
might have revealed the secrets of the wildlife we were tracking. Ultimately, Jonathan taught us how to
really look, and not just with our eyes, but all our senses.”
Americorps VISTA workshop participant