Guest article by Caitlin Jackson
In Austin, we are fortunate to have so many natural spaces to enjoy. We have lakes, rivers, and hiking. But simply being in nature is only one part of forging a deeper connection with it. Many of us have felt the need to acquire survival know-how. But for those of us who spend the majority of our time within city limits, learning these skills can be a daunting task. Where do we begin? Luckily, we have a starting line and it’s located at Earth Native Wilderness School.
Founded in 2011, Earth Native Wilderness School provides education for survival outdoors. The campus is located on 25 acres between the towns of Cedar Creek and Bastrop, only a 20-minute drive from Austin. Classes are available for ages 3-99 (although on their website, it states they wouldn’t turn someone away even if they’re over 99).
Getting Equipped at Earth Native Wilderness School
Whether your goal is fine-tuning your emergency preparedness, improving your homesteading, or simply satisfying your curiosity, learning about the ecosystem our city resides within can add meaning to the time you spend outdoors. The result is a stronger relationship with the parts of nature, not just nature as a whole.
Through Earth Native Wilderness School, you’ll begin to notice the subtle signs of life, and recognize the different species of plants or animals. Even more, you’ll learn self-reliance. In nature, you have more opportunity to introspect without the noise and distractions of modern life.
When tasked with finding safe water to drink, or determining whether a plant is poison or food, you’re required to become an avid problem solver. This practice gives you confidence and emotional resilience that can translate into your everyday life. So while you gain the skills to make it through a real survival situation, you also return to your day-to-day routine with improved well-being.
Earth Native Wilderness School has a number of programs to choose from, for both adults and children. Here are a few of the many choices:
- Wilderness Survival 101: This two-day class goes over survival basics such as making fire, building shelter, trapping game, water collection, navigation, survival kits, and more.
- Survival Bows: Using materials you source yourself, learn how to make and shoot your own bow.
- Fall Edible Plants: Wild plants can be an easy source of nutrition, so long as you know what to look for. With this class, you’ll learn how to find and prepare local edible plants.
- Natural Pottery: Learn how to source local clay for making cookware, storage containers, and bowls.
When you’re ready to take your basic skills to the next level, here are some options:
- Survival Skills Intensive: This course goes deeper than the weekend class. You’ll learn additional skills such as primitive fishing with a spear and line, basic animal processing, primitive cooking techniques, and more.
- Wildlife Tracking Intensive: Learn how to identify the signs of animals and follow their tracks. This intensive course takes you to different locations to witness many varieties of life.
Parents! If you’ve got little adventurers on your hands, here are some Earth Native programs for them:
- Homeschool: For children in alternative education programs, there is a weekly course available. One for ages 5-12, and another for teens aged 12-16. There is also a preschool class that meets 2-3 times a month.
- Monthly: These classes meet one Saturday a month from October to April.
- Weekends: Just like adults, there are a variety of classes for kids on the weekend. These courses teach many of the same skills, but are tailored for the age group.
- Summer Camps: In the summertime, both day camps and overnight camps are offered.
To find out more about Earth Native Wilderness School and their programs, visit its website.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What would you like to learn about surviving outdoors?
Caitlin Jackson has been an Austinite for 17 years. She lives here with her family and is always on the hunt for things they can do together.