The Cascadia bioregion is abundant and regenerative. We are surrounded by economically valuable resources like working forests, commercial fisheries and navigable waterways. We appreciate the beaches and woodland trails for their aesthetic beauty and serenity. But our natural world begs us to connect differently. Inspired by a recent wild edibles workshop hosted by The Wild Wise School, I offer profiles of four different organizations that, in their own unique ways, help children and adults recognize and appreciate a deeper connection to the natural world.
The Wild Wise School
“The mission of Wild Wise is to build lasting community and connection to the natural world while adventuring and questing in the wilds. We provide dynamic experiences for children and adults to learn valuable life skills, build strength of character and value diversity of culture. Wild Wise is a place to become the hero within, and live the adventure.” wildwiseschool.org Keywords: A School of Outdoor Adventure, character, foraging skills, fire starting.
The Wild Society
“Wild Society is a wilderness education nonprofit based in Western Washington that provides weeklong backcountry hikes, workshops and community events centered around love for the natural world. We work to reconnect human hearts with the everyday wild through adventure, scientific inquiry, storytelling and hands-on skills. By cultivating attitudes of wonder and belonging in the natural world, we are expanding the community of people in all walks of life who advocate for the well-being of our planet.” wildsociety.org Keywords: backcountry hikes, summer camps, belonging, wonder.
Cedar Root Folk School
“In the folk school tradition, we offer ‘hand-to-hand’ instruction to all ages and backgrounds. Youth programs follow the seasons and the cycles of the public school free time. Our classrooms are the natural habitats of the Olympic Peninsula and our programs are designed for children who want to spend time out in nature, playing games, having fun and learning about the natural world. Adult classes also follow the seasons and the traditional skills of rural living. The craftsmen and women that teach here are committed to sustaining traditions with a high value on craftsmanship and inter-generational mentoring. Our classrooms are in the workshops of local artisans and also in our main facility on Marrowstone Island.” cedarrootschool.org Keywords: outdoor school, rural skills, self-reliance, skilled artisans.
Stillwaters Environmental Center
“Stillwaters is an environmental science and education center in the Carpenter
Creek watershed of Kingston on the shores of Puget Sound. Community citizens are joined by interns and graduate students from local universities in conducting field research and in monitoring and preserving the estuary, salt marsh, and the watershed. We use our field preservation and research work as a basis for community education, as well. We believe strongly in the need for community-building and creation of a sense of place for every person, wherever they live. stillwatersenvironmentalcenter.org Keywords: lowland stream ecology, saltwater marsh, citizen science, monitoring.