[permaculture] greenschooling

Stephen Figgins stephen at plainscraft.com
Thu Jun 14 09:58:32 EDT 2007

Sounds great, Jenny!

I have some experience with a school that teaches something similar  
to what I think you have in mind, the Wilderness Awareness School in  
Duvall, Washington.  To get a better understanding of that school I  
spent a couple of years up near Duvall.  I participated in local  
events they held and volunteered to help at they summer day camps  
working with kids the same age as yours.   I was very impressed.

They have developed something like greenschooling techniques already,  
based on the techniques used by tribal people around the world to  
develop awareness in their children and to pattern their minds on the  
natural world.  They teach these techniques in their Art of Mentoring  
program and they employ them in a community school that primarily  
serves homeschooling families in the Seattle area.  They have also  
been working on adapting their techniques for use by school  
teachers.  They teach some special mentoring courses aimed at  
educators and are developing a book aimed at more traditional teachers.

They have a correspondence course that you can take to develop  
wilderness awareness skills.  It incorporates as many of these  
techniques  as they can without a direct mentoring relationship. This  
is called the Kamana program.  That program is more appropriate for  
older kids and adults.  It requires a good deal of self discipline  
too.  A couple of people at the school have been adapting the Kamana  
program for a younger crowd and have some simple books that work  
great to introduce the concept to children as young as yours.  My  
kids (8 and 11) really like them.   Since they are self published  
with lots of color illustrations they are a bit on the expensive side  
but I do recommend them.

There is some wilderness awareness school/permaculture crossover on  
the west coast where some instructors work with both.  I believe this  
is a wonderful way to work with the outer zones and to bring that  
awareness and understanding back into the inner zones.

If you have more questions about the school I would be happy to  
answer them though I'm mostly just a student and a fan of the  
school.  The school started in New Jersey and they still have a lot  
of students and former instructors on the east coast so you should be  
able to get a quick leg up in establishing a greenschool there.    
Here are some online resources to help you begin your exploration:

The Wilderness Awareness School:

A sister school in southern Maine:

An online forum for students of WAS:

If you have an interest in herbalism and wildcrafting you might also  
check out the resources one of their former instructors has put  
together - a simple kit for getting started making salves and  
tinctures and a chutes and ladders type game that builds an  
understanding of native plants with medicinal uses.


Best of luck in your endeavors.  I hope to hear more about your  
development of greenschooling!

- Stephen
   from the Kansas Area Watershed

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