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The Advanced Wilderness Skills Program

Group shelter building

Advanced Wilderness Skills
Program Details:

Begins: Sep TBD
Ends: Jun TBD
Location: Campus and field trips
Instructors: Alderleaf staff &
guest teachers

Continue to grow your wilderness skills with advanced training, more practice in the field with experienced instructors, and a focus on the applications of nature skills
. The Advanced Wilderness Skills Program is for individuals who have completed the Wilderness Certification Program (or an equivalent in-depth training) and are seeking to further develop their skills towards careers.

The program focuses on advanced studies and applications of each of our core curriculum areas (survival, tracking, ethnobotany, permaculture, naturalist skills, and outdoor leadership & teaching). Graduates of the Advanced Wilderness Skills Program receive certificates in Advanced Wilderness Skills Education, Wildlife Trailing, and Wilderness First Responder.

Examples of Class Topics Include:

Bushcraft & Primitive Living Skills: Hide-tanning, long-term primitive shelter building, advanced flint-knapping, advanced bow-making, knife forging, advanced traps & snares, survival trek

Advanced Ethnobotany: Wild plant soaps & shampoos, wildcrafting edible and medicinal plants of central Washington & the eastern Cascades, primitive plant dyes and fiber arts, herbal first aid kits

Tracking in Field Science: Skull & bone identification, advanced human tracking, identifying reptile & amphibian tracks & sign, teaching tracking, Cybertracker trailing evaluation, understanding animal behaviors

Applied Naturalist Skills: Mycorestoration & mycoremediation, hands-on habitat enhancement projects, understanding endangered & threatened plant & animal species, wetland ecology, urban restoration

Permaculture: Implementing Sustainable Living Systems: Hands-on natural building projects, multiple public space designs & installations, touring several permaculture farms, urban permaculture

Teaching & Leadership: Expedition planning, wilderness first responder certification, community building skills, outreach strategies, advanced mentoring

The Advanced Wilderness Skills Program at a Glance:

Location: Based out of our campus in Monroe, WA (in the Seattle / Puget Sound Region) with field trips throughout Washington State. (field trips include Blue Mountains Wildlife Tracking Expedition, Survival Trek in the Eastern Cascades, Marine Ecology Field Trip to San Juan Island, Permaculture Sites Road Trip, and more).

Duration: School-year schedule. Meets Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 9:30am - 3:30pm, with several extended trips during 33 weeks of classes between September and June. Next course begins September 6th, 2019.

Faculty & Guests: Alderleaf core staff plus guests. (past guests have included flintknapping expert, Dan Stueber; senior trackers, Brian McConnell & Nate Harvey; permaculture author, Dave Boehnlein; expert hide-tanner, Katie Russell; search & rescue tracker, Rob Speiden; master blacksmith, David Tuthill; expert arborist, Phil Bennett; and ethnobotany author, Heidi Bohan). See staff bios.

Enrollment: Class sizes range from 10 to 20 students.

Tuition: $24,950. Tuition covers all instruction and field trips.

Financial Aid: Financial aid options are available including work-trade scholarships; Paramount or TFC financing; and acceptance of veterans benefits, Americorp grants, & 529 college savings plans (see our FAQ for details). Apply for a work-trade scholarship by submitting a scholarship application with your program registration.

To Register or Apply: Wilderness Certification Program graduates may register directly into the Advanced Wilderness Skills Program with a $100 tuition deposit registration fee. Graduates of equivalent training may apply by writing a two-page letter of intent that describes your experience and goals in the program. Application letters can be emailed to info(at) or sent via postal mail to Alderleaf Wilderness College.

More Information: For questions or to learn more, contact us.

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