The Woods

An Experiential Nature Connection and Mentoring Program designed for homeschool kids 6yrs – 16yrs, and their families!

The Woods is an evolving and dynamic expression of gratitude that honors a strong lineage of nature connected communities. We offer our thanks for indigenous cultures worldwide that are deep rooted in and continue to cultivate mentoring models for being in right relationship with people, place, and purpose. Our program is most directly informed and inspired by the art of nature awareness mentoring, “Coyote” teaching, and the 8 Shields model developed by Jon Young (founder of the Wilderness Awareness School and the 8 Shields Institute) and Tom Brown Jr. We offer our gratitude to them, as well as to all who have influenced them along their journey in meaningful ways, seen and unseen. As we integrate forward, we recognize and value the concentric circles of influence that connect us to our ancestors as well as to our future generations.

In The Woods, we engage heart and mind by optimizing the conditions that foster deep nature connection and an expansive sense of interconnectedness. Fire Tending serves as an over-arching metaphor that connects mentoring with hands-on skills, igniting curiosity, creativity, and confidence.

Inviting a spark, tending it, and encouraging its growth, is what fire tenders do. And when we apply those same practices to our relationships – as friends, as mentors, as stewards of the land – we create opportunities of awareness, to see and be seen, to dance within reciprocity. Pausing to reflect and connect invites us to feel the wild within us. The more we look, the more we see. And when we truly see one another, we open our hearts to compassion.

We view nature connection as an emotional-neurological experience that is created by weaving nature education (e.g. ecology, biology), skills-based activities (e.g. fire making, shelter building), and relational awareness (e.g. mentoring, tracking) into a story of the day. Thus, nature connection is a way of Being that enhances emotional intelligence, stimulates neurological pathways, and paves pathways to discover our individual and collective gifts and vision.

Specifically, The Woods cultivates regenerative practices and skills across 8 core focus areas:

Deep Nature Connection

(tap into intuitive ways of being, becoming, and belonging)

Holistic Tracking

(elevate tracking of both internal and external landscapes)

Subsistence Skills

(explore naturalist and nature craft)


(hone the art of questioning, activate all ways of knowing)


(engage your empathy, compassion, love)


(catch stories, weave threads of discovery)

Mindful Presence

(expand sensory awareness, invite quiet mind)


(bring hearts and minds together)

Program Details

The Woods is a 2-day a week program held Monday & Thursday @ 11am – 3pm.

Current Cycle: 2020 Fall (9 weeks);

We will begin Monday, October 5th with the last class held on Thursday, December 10th
* THANKSGIVING BREAK: No classes the week of November 23rd

* We are actively monitoring community spread of COVID-19 (case rate per 100,000 residents) as a key metric to inform program design

* A majority of activities will be designed to maintain 6ft of physical distance (so participants do not need to wear masks)

* All staff are required and will respectfully adhere to the state mandate to wear a mask during each program session

* All participants (youth, siblings 2yrs and older, parents/guardians) are required and will be asked to respectfully adhere to the state mandate to wear a mask when unable to maintain 6ft of distance

* To foster safety and solidarity, we will have a maximum of 30 participants ages 6yr-16yr in the program… we have a few spaces available for kids ages 9yr or older so please reach out if you are interested

Location: Monmouth, OR – as guests on a 97 acre property, we promote an ethic of stewardship

Program Fees:

  • $315 (option to pay in two installments)
  • Family discounts offered:
    • siblings 6yr+ @ 25% discount ($236)
    • siblings 3yr-5r accompanied by an adult @ 50% discount ($158)
  • In addition, we are able to offer a few partial scholarships.

To inquire about space or for more information, please Contact Us

Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.

John Muir

Whole Community

In addition to co-creating an environment that nurtures teaching-learning across varying ages of kids, we warmly welcome and encourage parents to participate with desire to foster a vibrant village and whole community dynamic.