Traditional Outdoor Skills Workshop


August 5-11, 2012

Join us at Medomak for an adventure in reconnecting to our wild and feral landscapes. This week of outdoor skills and exploration is based on ancestral skills that were not only used in New England but all over the world. Many different topics such as primitive skills, animal tracks and sign, natural navigation, wild food foraging, along with other traditional outdoor skills will be covered so that participants will begin to acquire a well rounded experience and knowledge base. This is a great opportunity for someone looking to learn an array of outdoor skills in a friendly, safe and practical learning environment.

Participants will get hands on experience creating and using the materials traditionally used to keep our ancestors alive, all while learning the importance of an intimate relationship with the local landscape. Natural material collection methods that can be sustainably used today while promoting a healthy local environment will be emphasized.

The retreat is geared toward a broad range of people, if you are not the most outdoorsy person that is okay. All that we ask is that you keep an open mind and have fun!

Participants should be in reasonably good physical condition to fully participate in the retreat. A good portion of our time will be in the field and we will be walking a couple miles a day in some cases. If you have any concerns, please call and speak with us.

Workshop Schedule

outdoor-skills-2.jpg Aug.5th
Check in 2-4 p.m. Tour of Medomak Retreat Center and Medomak Lake waterfront orientation. After dinner we will get to know each other, discuss the contents of the retreat and participant expectations, talk about safety and hazards (natural and modern), respectful and sustainable material harvesting methods and knife safety.

Morning: One of the best ways to get the most out of your time learning in the outdoors is bolstering your awareness of place and yourself. We are going to switch on all of our senses for engaging activities that tap into the instinctual awareness we rarely use in our modern world. We usually tell kids they are learning how to be nature ninjas.

Afternoon: Primitive fire starting, learn to make fire without matches with the bow drill. You will gather all the materials, carve your fire making set and learn how to use it. Making fire with sticks for the first time is something you will never forget.

Morning: Presentation on animal tracks and sign of the eastern United States. This will help everyone become more familiar locating, identifying and interpreting the natural clues we find at Medomak. Everything from muddy Great Blue Heron tracks to identifying wild canines by the smell of their scat!

Afternoon: The wonderful world of wild edibles. We will search the many different landscapes of Medomak for seasonal delicacies. Most of them you will get to taste in the field along with many we will harvest to prepare back at camp. Not many things beat an afternoon foraging!

Morning: Primitive shelters and thermal regulation. A very hands-on morning playing with different designs, from short term emergency shelters to year-round residences. All constructed with natural materials.

Afternoon: The art of natural navigation. Learn to interpret the location of major celestial objects from a human perspective, use seasonal weather queues, create accurate mental maps and learn how the landscape can be shaped by a multitude of natural events. Many different traditional navigation techniques will be presented. We will put our new knowledge to the test anytime we are traveling away from the retreat center. No compass or GPS? No problem!

Morning: Canoe or kayak across the lake to the bog, an area with an active beaver population. Participate in hands-on exploration of the lives of aquatic flora and fauna. Such as edible and useful aquatic plants, bog ecology and animal sign in aquatic environments. *Show up to the waterfront early if you would like some tips and tricks to paddling a canoe.

Afternoon: More foraging for wild edibles, focusing on the berries that are in season, most likely blueberries. We will pick berries and learn how to process them for dry storage without refrigeration, along with many different ways of preparing berries and wild edibles into an array of tasty treats.

Morning: Spend the morning wandering the Medomak property, no destination or agenda. A time for spontaneous teaching and exploration. We will pack a lunch to be cooked over an open fire toward the end of our wander.

Afternoon: Choice of the participants.

outdoor-skills-2.jpgOur Instructor
Peter Bosma teaches a course in traditional outdoor skills at Northern Michigan University. He has worked with numerous professional wilderness and educational organizations and has spent more than a few years exploring the remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the 300 acres that make up Medomak. Peter is down-to-earth, easy-going, friendly, and approachable.

Just because you are out there getting dirty doesn't mean you have to rough it !too much

Hosted at our Retreat Center, Medomak's guests enjoy beautiful pine and oak woods, a sparkling clear lake just down the hill, fields of ripe blueberries, and simple, rustic, yet comfortable cabins complete with full bath. The learning spaces vary from rooms in our historic lodge, to an outdoor amphitheater; from rocking chairs on our porch to seating around an outdoor campfire. Our aim is to make you feel at home. For more information on accommodations and food at Medomak click here

What else is there to do here?
Our location, in the mid-coast region of Maine, offers a host of recreational activities. For more information click here

Where are we located?
Right here