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The 2023 Living by Nature year-long course is 33 days of complete immersion in everything you want to know about living in and with nature! Together with the 2-week expedition abroad, that makes 51 days in nature with teaching, learning skills and discovery. Of these, the craft week and the expedition are completely optional. Are you going to join our adventure?
You will get a full package of courses with everything, absolutely everything! You will get to know nature in all seasons and learn to work with different kinds of tools. You will learn about fire, tinder, types of wood, trees. But also leather tanning, food, animal tracks and much more. On top of that, you will get extra days in which you will learn all kinds of crafts and native skills. Like working with bone, antler, tendon, flint etc. Because of the set-up of this Living by Nature year-long course, you will form a 'tribe' with your fellow course members. In the evening, you can continue working on your projects around the campfire. As a climax, we organise an expedition abroad where all the skills and items you have made will come in handy.
Our instructors have years of experience with 'Living by Nature'. After our year-long training you will have so much knowledge and experience that Living by Nature will be in your blood.
After this training you will have a mountain of knowledge and experience about 'Living by Nature'. This is the method we use. It is a combination of bushcraft, survival, primitive techniques and our own philosophy. With this you will be able to stay in nature for a longer period of time. You will be so well trained that you will be able to teach others the basics. Only the basics, you say? Yes, we are convinced that in order to teach others, your own knowledge and skills must be much higher than the level at which you teach. In this training you are taught much more than the basics.
Many of the subjects we will be covering require more than theory and experience. You would think that after making fire with a firebow ten times, you would be able to explain it the eleventh time. But what do you know about the influence of: wood types, trees, the materials for the firebow. Or about types of tendon and how to make them naturally? What do you know about humidity, temperature, wind and air currents? Also how to find dry wood and the right materials? Then all the different postures and techniques you can use? Tinder, where to find it, how to prepare each kind? Then you still don't have a fire. How will you prepare everything before you start and how will you build it? These are all factors that influence the process. Are you prepared for the psychological consequences if you fail? This is just the rundown on the basics in bushcraft.
It takes a lot of training and practice to really master the skills. By keeping your knowledge and experience up to date and developing them further you can grow to become an instructor. After all, life in nature requires experience. And you need to invest time in it. It can be frustrating, but don't worry! Practice makes perfect. We believe in trial and error. Before you can walk, you will go down a few times. But again, 'no worries', surrender to the experience. After this year-long course Living by Nature you will be able to run the proverbial marathon!
Living by Nature is like a book of difficult words. If you learn to understand the words then the story becomes clear.
Imagine that you want to learn how to 'trail'. To follow a roe deer by looking at its tracks. You can look in a tracking book to see what the paw prints normally look like. But what if it deviates from the norm? You can look up how far apart his prints are when he runs. What if he just had to avoid a tree, for example? We first get to know the animal. How it moves, what it eats, what it is afraid of, what area it is at home in. When you learn this, you will experience how it lives, how it thinks. Then, when you are 'trailing', you can visualise how he would logically walk. After that you can always open the tracking book. You will notice that the book is easier to understand now that you can visualise what it says. It has become logical.
Are you curious about what the training is all about? A complete list of all the things we want to teach you would be far too long. That is why we have taken a sample of what we have to offer. This will give you an idea, but in reality you will learn much, much more.
We start with a day of getting to know each other. The participants get to know each other and the instructors. We talk about running the camp, and of course we immediately start doing all kinds of fun things together.
During the first 2 weekends of training, we lay the foundation. Some of the components are: tool maintenance, tool safety (think knife, axe, saw), cutting exercises, fire and the fire pit, the fire bow theory and practice, tinder and where to find it, wood and where to find it, hikes where we learn about species and materials, game and nature observation, building shelters, making beds, skinning and boning, making jerky, what can you do with sinews, bones, skins, nails, what are handy knots and how do I make them, how do we find and filter water, and how do I apply natural first aid,...
The following weekends we go deeper into the subjects of the basics and treat more advanced subjects. Some examples: walks where you learn to look at a forest in a 'bushcraft way', how animals live, observing animals, making your own pencil needle. How do resin, fatwood and birch bark work and how do I find them? Making pinesticks and tar, learning to make ropes in many different ways and with different materials, working with bone and antlers, collecting and working with wood and roots. But also making bark containers and processing willow, trapping (the theory), making traps and traps, ...
Edible nature, medicines and more
We continue with 3 days about food, medicine and how to preserve them. After the usual breakfast on a natural fire, we go for walks and learn to recognise edible plants. We will see how to get fat from nature, how to brine, treat clay and make and bake pots.
There will also be a 3-day workshop on wool, felting, travel baskets and pots. We will learn how to work with wool, how to card, how felting works and how to make a blanket. That weekend we will also learn more about rawhide and how to use it. We will also continue making pots, the theory, making them ourselves and baking them.
The craft of cutting flint, or working flint. We will learn different techniques, like pressure flaking and percussion flaking, and we will treat different tools and stones, like basalt, obsidian and flint. We discuss theory of different periods, and then we make our own tools. We will make arrowheads, scrapers and knives!
These days we are going to focus on animals. Maybe we will be able to go and see the deer rutting. This means getting up early, going into the woods and observing animals. We are going to make you more aware of the animals and the world around you. We will cover tracking: looking at animal tracks, learning the differences between them, how to read a trail and learning about the animal you are tracking.
We will be tanning buckskin and fish skins. This weekend you will learn the theory about skins and how to make them ready for use. Of course we are also going to do it, everyone is going to make their own buckskin and fish skin.
These days are completely focused on completing everything you need for the 2-week expedition. Fishing will also be discussed: making a natural fishing line, further processing bone and antler in order to make hooks and spearpoints and we will discuss traps. There is plenty of opportunity for repetition and practice.
During the concluding weekend, you will show what you have mastered. You could see these days as an exam and as a conclusion of the learning phase. After that, many students go on to prepare their expedition supplies.
At the end of the programme, we all go abroad together for a fortnight to put everything we have learned into practice. We will take stuff that we made ourselves and live 'like our ancestors'. In our self-made clothes, with our travel baskets on our backs, drinking from gourds and with our self-built flint knives, we will spend two weeks getting all our primary necessities of life from nature. More about the expedition will be covered in the training.
The expedition will take place in September, after the completion of the Living by Nature year-long course. This gives everyone time to finish their supplies.
Especially for parents with children we have the parent-child year training. If you still want to follow the regular training, then a child is welcome to join you occasionally. The minimum age is 7 years. This is always in consultation with the head instructor. For children who structurally join the training every weekend we charge € 1.500,- per child.
We ask you as much as possible to find a home for your dog. For dogs too, this is only possible in consultation, there cannot be too many in one group and they must be absolutely obedient.
We ask you not to bring alcohol to the courses.
If you have to miss a moment, you can join another group. Also, our grounds are open to all participants (in consultation) for further practice. And if we are busy there too, we can of course advise and help you further.
The price includes the legal VAT, the meals during the course days and the materials during the Living by Nature year-long course.
It is possible to pay in instalments, we have the option to pay in 1 x, in 4 instalments or in 10 instalments.
Down payments are non-refundable. With a deposit your place is definitely yours.