The Year Course – Living by Nature is 33 days complete immersion in everything you want to know about life in and with nature! Together with the 2-week expedition abroad, makes 51 days in nature with lessons, skills to learn and discover. Of these, the craft week and the expedition are completely optional. Are you going on our adventure?
You get a full package of courses with really everything, and we mean everything! This way you get to know nature in all seasons and you learn to work with various types of tools. You will learn about fire, tinder, woods, trees. But also leather tanning, food, animal tracks and much more. On top of that, you get a full week in which you will fully delve into all kinds of crafts and native skills. Such as working with bone, antlers, tendon, flint etc. By attending this Year Course – Living by Nature, you and your fellow students form a ‘tribe’. In the evening you can continue working on your projects by the campfire. As a highlight, we organize an expedition abroad in which all the skills and items made come in handy.
Our instructors have years of experience with ‘Living by Nature’. After our Year Course you have so much knowledge and experience that Living by Nature gets into your blood.
- 11 weekends of 3 days
- 1 craft week
- 14 days expedition (abroad)
After this training you have a wealth 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. This allows you to stay in nature for a longer period of time. You are then trained to the point where you are able to teach the basics to others. Just the basics, you say? Yes, we are convinced that in order to teach other people something, your own knowledge and skills must be much higher than the level at which you teach. In this course you will learn much more than the basics.
Many of the topics we are going to cover require more than theory and have done it once. You’d think that after making fire with a bowdrill 10 times, you could explain it the 11th time. But what do you know about the influence of: woods, trees, the materials for the bowdrill? Or about types of tendon and how to make it natural? What do you know about humidity, temperature, wind and air currents? Also think about finding dry wood and the right materials? Then there are all the different postures and techniques you can use. Tinder, where do you find it, and how to prepare them by species? Then you still don’t have a fire. How are you going to get everything ready before you start and how do you build it up? These are all factors that influence the process. Are you prepared for the psychological consequences if it doesn’t work out? This is only the enumeration of the base in bushcraft on one of the many topic.
It takes a lot of training and practice to really master skills. By keeping track of your knowledge and experience and further developing it, you can grow into an instructor. Life in nature requires experience. And you have to put time into that. That can be frustrating, but don’t worry! You’ll get there in the end. We believe in trial and error. Before you can walk, you just go down a few times. But again, “no worries,” surrender to the experience. After this annual living by nature course you can run the proverbial marathon!
Living by Nature is like a book of difficult words. When you learn to understand the words, the story becomes clear.
Imagine you want to learn how to ‘trail’. Follow a deer by looking at his tracks. You can look in a tracking book at what the paw prints look like normally. But what if it deviates from the norm? You can look up how far his prints are from each other when he runs. What if, for example, he just had to dodge a tree? We’ll get to know the animal first. How it moves, what he eats, what he’s afraid of, what area he’s in at home in. If you learn this, you’re going to experience how he lives, how he thinks. Then, when you are ‘trailing’, you can visualize how he would logically walk. After that, you can always open the tracking book. You will find that the book is easier to understand now that you can visualize what is in it. It’s made sense.
Annual living by nature programme: The year around
Are you curious about what the programme entails? A full list of all the things we want to teach you would be way too long. That is why we have taken a selection from our offer. This gives you an image but in reality you learn a lot and much more.
We’ll start with a day of getting to know each other. The students get to know each other and the instructors. We talk about running the camp, of course we also immediately do all kinds of fun things together.
In the first 2 weekends of the training we lay the foundation. A number of components are: tool maintenance, tool safety (think knife, axe, saw), cutting exercises, fire and the fire pit, the firebow theory and practice, tinderes and where to find them, wood and where to find it, walks in which we get to know species and materials, wildlife and nature observation, shelters building, making beds, skinning and boning, making jerky, what can you do with tendons, bones, skins, nails , what are useful knots and how do I make them, how do we find and filter water, and do I apply natural first aid,…
The following weekends we will go deeper into the topics of the basics and discuss more advanced topics. Some examples: walks where you learn to look at a forest in a ‘bushcraft way’, how to live animals, observe animals, make your own penitent needle. How do resin, fatwood and birch bark work and how do I find them? Pinesticks and tar making, learning to make ropes in many ways and with different materials, working bone and antlers, collecting and processing wood and roots. But also making bark containers and processing willow, trapping (the theory), falling and making barrels, …
Edible nature, medicine and more
We continue with 3 days about food, medicine and how to store them. After the usual breakfast on a natural fire, we go for walks and learn to recognize edible plants. We see how we obtain fat from nature, how we brine, treat clay and we make and bake pots.
Storage, transport and applications
There will also be a 3 day on wool, felts, travel baskets and pots. We learn how to work with wool, how to card, how the felting works and you can make a blanket. We will also learn more about rawhide and its use that weekend. We also continue to make pots, the theory, make it ourselves and bake it.
Flint & Applications
The craft of cracking flint, or working flint. We learn different techniques, such as pressure flakes and percussion flakes, and cover various tools and stones, such as basalt, obsidian and flint. We deal with theory of all kinds of different periods, and then make our own tools. We’re going to make arrowheads, scrapers and knives!
Animals, behavior, tracking
These days we’re going to focus on animals. Maybe we’ll manage to look at the deer bronze. This means getting up early, into the woods and observing animals. We’re going to make you more aware of the animals and the world around you. We cover tracking: looking at animal tracks, learning to read the differences between animal tracks, how to read a trail and learn about the animal you are following.
We’re going to tan buckskin and fish skins. This weekend you will learn the theory about skins and how to make them ready for use. Of course we’re going to do it, everyone’s going to make their own buckskin and fish skin.
Of course, we must also be able to get skins and meat. You’re going to make your own bow and arrows. What types of arches are there? What types of wood do you use? Which arrows for what purpose, etc.
This week is fully focused on completing everything you need for the 2-week expedition. Fishing is also discussed: making a natural fishing line, learning to further process bone and antlers and then turning them into hooks and spearheads and we treat traps and other fish traps. There is room for repetition and practice.
During the closing weekend you will show what you master. These days you could see as an exam and completion of the learning phase. After that, many students continue to prepare their expedition supplies.
Finally, we go abroad for two weeks together to actually use everything we have learned. We then take things that we made ourselves and start living ‘like our ancestors’. In our homemade clothes, with our travel baskets on our backs, drinking from gourds and with self-beaten flint knife, we are going to take all our primary necessities of life out of nature for two weeks. More about the expedition will be discussed in the programme.
The expedition will take place in September, after completing the annual living by nature course. This will give everyone time to finish their supplies.
Especially for parents with children we have the parent-child yearly training. If you still want to follow the regular education, a child is allowed to come occasionally. Of these, the minimum age is 5 years. This is always in consultation with the chief instructor. For children who structurally join the programme every weekend, we charge € 1500.
We ask you to find as much shelter for your dog as possible. Also for dogs, this can only be done in consultation, that there can not be too many in 1 group and they must be absolutely obedient.
We ask you not to bring alcohol to the courses.
Missed a weekend
If you have to miss a moment, you can join another group. Our field is also open to all participants (in consultation) for further practice. And if we are busy, we can of course advise you and help you further.
The price includes the statutory VAT, the meals during the course days and the materials during the annual living by nature course.
Not included: extra material for home, for example extra skins for tanning or other types of materials.
Travel costs to and from the expedition
It is possible to pay in instalments, we have the possibility to pay in 1 x, in 4 installments or in 10 installments.
We will ask you to make a deposit around November to reserve your participant spot. If you’re not sure yet, don’t pay for this one. Deposits are not returned. With a deposit, your place is definitely yours.
We are happy to talk to you about the questions you have. Or come and have a look to taste the atmosphere.