Wilderness Survival Skills

What would you do if you found yourself lost in the desert, the mountains, or any number of beautiful, yet potentially deadly environments? What if you lost some or all of your modern gear, which anyway can be used up or fail altogether? Would you know how to make the things that you need directly from the natural environment?

Do you know how to assess your wilderness survival priorities, such as water, shelter, food, fire, safety, signaling and more?

Unfortunately, with so many unpredictable variables coming their way, many people falter in the face of dire survival circumstances.  Would you know what to do when it counts the most?? Don’t become a statistic when instead you can learn vital, life-saving skills, while having an incredible experience in Nature!

dsc_1219Unlike many survival courses taught today, we focus exclusively on what Nature can provide, not fancy modern survival kits and gadgets. Using only the surfeit of Nature, you’ll learn an empowering variety of time-tested Wilderness Survival Skills, including:

  • Tool-making
  • Fire-by-friction
  • Water-finding
  • Wilderness Safety
  • Thorns, Stingers, & Fangs – Welcome to Arizona!
  • Natural Navigation
  • Wild Edible & Useful Plants
  • Water finding & Safety
  • Survival Shelters
  • Basic Hunting & Trapping
  • Emergency Signaling…. and more!

We invite you to be empowered by knowledge and experience the old adage – “The more you know, the less you need!”.

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Though countless people find themselves in survival situations each year across the U.S. and the globe, few are prepared for such a calamity. If you or your family enjoy time in the great outdoors, then you owe it to yourself to empower your mind with the knowledge and your hands with the skills that may someday save lives.

WILDERNESS SURVIVAL TREK

During this Trek to a pristine and remote wilderness area you will learn a wide variety of life-saving and hands-on Survival Skills. Setting theory aside, you will face real challenges in the field while learning how to identify and apply key Survival priorities. Construct a functional Shelter, forage safely for Wild Edibles, craft effective Tools, find & purify Water, Navigate without a compass, identify Dangerous Plants & Animals, and much more!

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Join Wilderness Survival expert, Naturalist, and Ethnobotanist Vincent Pinto, who will share his knowledge and skills gained from a lifetime of applying survival skills in the field.  The information you gain in Vincent’s courses help to ensure that you will be empowered with vital wilderness survival information and skills during all of your Nature excursions. Whether you’ve taken a Wilderness Survival skills course before or this is your first time, here you will learn to manage your survival priorities in the field, and apply vital skills in the wilderness!

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Various environments and seasons present very different wilderness survival challenges and also opportunities. Time spent in the field in remote wilderness areas will provide you with live scenarios and real situations with which you can test your skills.. Vincent will teach you key wilderness survival skills using only the natural resources that you will find during your wilderness trek.

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Be prepared, empowered by knowledge and skill, and remember: “The more you know, the less you need!”

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WILD EDIBLE PLANTS

Arizona contains an incredible array of delicious and nutritious native plants that helped form the dietary basis for the long progression of cultures preceding our own. Now you too can learn to supplement your existing diet with these tasty treats, as well as safeguard yourself and others from debilitating hunger in an unexpected survival situation. For those who desire, you may wish to solely subsist from wild edible plants for several days, learning the life-saving gifts of these plants firsthand. Alternatively, they can serve as snacks and supplements to your everyday fare. You choose! Best of all, given the wide range of habitats and plant species found in our Sky Islands, your new knowledge is often highly transferable to other parts of the U.S. and even beyond.  For example, Vincent has eaten Panicled Flameflower both at Raven’s Nest Nature Sanctuary in southern Arizona, as well as in the jungles of Bolivia!

Exploring among the area’s Deserts, Woodlands, Streams, Forests, and Grasslands, you’ll learn:

  • Plant-finding skills
  • How to accurately identify a wide range of plant species,
  • Harvesting techniques specific to various plants
  • Plant processing methods vital for transforming various species into truly edible fare
  • Time-tested wilderness cooking techniques that transform various plant parts into delicacies
  • To sample and eat a number of fascinating and tasty Wild Edible Plants
  • Wild plant recipes sure to delight your palette
  • How to create delicious wild beverages and teas
  • How to store a plethora of wild plant foods

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Roots, shoots, leaves, flowers, fruits, and even sap take on new life as you ingest and enjoy them. We’ll also look at a hunter-gatherer diet for the area (including seasonality), cover a variety of stone-age cooking techniques, discuss safely using wild edibles, practice sustainable harvesting techniques, and make several plant collecting/processing tools.
Raven’s-Nest Plant List

WILD MEDICINAL PLANTS

Relying strictly upon modern medicines and pills these days, many folks have lost touch with the medicinal plant traditions practiced by their not-so-distant ancestors. Additionally many artificial medicines cause a myriad of adverse side effects, thus further debilitating you. This hands-on, fun, and informative class is your Rx, then, for remedying this deplorable situation!  Using the plethora of environments at our disposal, we’ll delve into a wide variety of natural, plant-based medicines.

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During this fascinating Workshop you’ll learn “hands-on” how to address common ailments including:

  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches
  • Sore muscles
  • Infections
  • Bleeding
  • Abrasions
  • Tooth and gum infections
  • Eye infections
  • Sore throats
  • Colds
  • Skin rashes
  • Sunburn and other burns….and more.

You’ll prepare your own herbal salve and wild teas to take home with you. We’ll also cover herbal poultices, decoctions, infusions, sachets, steams, baths, and tinctures. The knowledge gained in this powerful class can aid you in everyday life, as well as during your time spent in the wild. Learn how Nature truly heals all and about the potent power that plants possess!
Raven’s-Nest Plant List

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NATURAL SHELTERS

Take away our modern buildings, tents, plastic, and other modern contrivances and many would be at a loss as to how to shelter themselves from the elements. Now you can learn first-hand how to construct, live-in, and maintain both ephemeral and semi-permanent stone-age shelters. Using only the abundance of Nature, including grass, earth, rocks, sticks, leaves, bark, reeds, and the like you’ll soon gain insight into what it takes to construct a strong, functional, and durable shelter in the wild!

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Various shelters you will learn to construct include:

  • Lean-to
  • Conical Wickiup
  • Domed Wickiup
  • Coal Bed
  • Scout Pit
  • A-frame
  • Debris Pile
  • Raised Bed
  • Modifies Rock Shelter
  • Shade Ramada….and more!

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You can choose from one or more environments when designing your Natural Shelters class with us: Sonoran Desert, Chihuahuan Desert, Grasslands, Chaparral, Evergreen Woodlands, Pine Forests, Montane Meadows, Recovering Burns, and Spruce-Fir Forests.  All of these unique plant communities present both opportunities and challenges when devising your shelter. Pick the environment(s) where you anticipate spending the most time and we’ll furnish the hands-on knowledge and skills to make you a genuine shelter artisan!

dsc_9396With the knowledge that you’ll gain in the class, you’ll soon be crafting your own wilderness shelters from the Earth’s bounty. A night spent in a natural shelter can be the culmination of your RAVENS-WAY WILD JOURNEYS experience. Perhaps no other skill is quite as satisfying, empowering, and life-saving as the ability to create an effective shelter in a multitude of life-threatening situations!

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STONE-AGE TOOLS

If you were pressed to define humanity from a behavioral perspective, then categorizing us as the great tool users would indeed be a stellar answer. While its true that other species use and even make tools, no other animal remotely concocts the dazzling array of implements that humans lay claim to. In the realm of Wilderness Survival you simply won’t get very far without a good set of tools!  What would you do without your modern knife, saw, compass, water bottle, etc….?

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Stone, bone, antler, wood, sap, and clay are some of the materials you’ll work with in this class as you learn the ancient wisdom of stone-age tool-making. While there are many projects to choose from, you may well make some of the following during your time with us:

  • Stone saw
  • Stone knife
  • Pecked Bowl
  • Burned Bowl
  • Stone-tipped Drill
  • Digging Stick
  • Stone-age Backpack
  • Cactus Brush,
  • Tongs
  • Wedges
  • Plant-based Containers
  • Pottery Bowl
  • Cordage (plant rope)….and more.

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Further, we’ll guide you in learning how to effectively use each of your creations, thus pushing your skill level to new heights.  By the end of the class you’ll have a highly efficient and function set of stone-age tools that will be very useful during your wilderness expeditions!

STONE-AGE KIT

You can choose to do our custom-made, 2-day “Stone-age Tool Kit” class, during which you’ll make a wide range of life-saving implements to take home with you.

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FIRE-BY-FRICTION

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 Of all the tools that humans regularly employ, none is more impactive or defining than fire. No other species that we know of makes fire and employs it for the multitude of purposes that serve humanity. Here we’ll delve into some of the time-tested fire-making traditions of our ancestors from around the globe.
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You may choose to focus on any of the following techniques or to try your hand at all of them:

  • Hand-drill
  • Bow-drill
  • Fire-plow
  • Fire-saw
  • Slow Match (carrying fire)
  • Hearth construction
  • Fire management and banking
  • Fuel selection
  • Fire structures….and more!

These methods collectively span most continents and constitute an incredible storehouse of knowledge. Using the finest materials available in the U.S. and perhaps the world, you’ll learn how to gather your own raw materials and fashion them into a beautiful and efficient fire-making kits. We’ll also use fire as a tool to craft other objects and to provide us many of our needs. Fire can furnish light, warmth, protection, cooking, and a wide range of tools. Perhaps its greatest attribute, however, is as a life-saving friend in times of extreme need.

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THE ART & SCIENCE OF WILDLIFE TRACKING

Wildlife Tracking is likely a pursuit as old as our species itself. Whenever those first human or prehuman eyes set upon an impression in the ground and associated it with a certain species, they embarked upon an ever-evolving story that continues to unfold today. While hunting and safety are still two major reasons to learn tracking, there are numerous other impetuses at least as valid to start you on your tracking adventures.

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 In our opinion, there is no superior method for slowing down your racing mind and peacefully enjoying the natural rhythms of the wild than probing the tracks and signs of wildlife! Further, searching for wildlife while ignoring tracks and signs is akin to only gazing at the covers of books in a library. The language of the land unfolds constantly before us, as countless animals script their own, unique stories into the landscape.  In this engaging and informative class you will:

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  • Learn the basic terminology of Wildlife Tracking in the field
  • Put together an effective tracking kit, employing both modern and ancient tracking tools
  • Practice documenting various wildlife tracks
  • Learn how to identify a wide range of wildlife species by their tracks, scat, and other signs
  • Employ a tracking journal to document your findings
  • Use a variety of clues to learn how to find, identify, follow, and interpret a wide range of animal tracks and signs
  • Track Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, and Invertebrates
  • Learn how to apply tracking for your wilderness survival hunting and trapping

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Wildlife Tracking is a vital skill that lends its knowledge to many other outdoor pursuits, including wildlife photography and a variety of field sciences, such as wildlife conservation. Further, slowly tracking wildlife is often the best way to actually see various species, given the unobtrusive nature of this pursuit. Employing science, the art of interpretation, slide shows, journaling, and various tracking exercises you’ll soon be uncovering the many natural mysteries that lie hidden in the land. You’ll discover new insights into Nature and yourself through the ancient art of Tracking!

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ROPE-MAKING

The natural world is full of various fibers and after taking this class you’ll know just what to do with them. Using your own hands, as well as simple stone-age tools you’ll learn both basic and advanced cordage-making from a variety of wild fiber sources. Along the way we’ll also craft a variety of projects that rely heavily on the rope that we’ve created.

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Hand-made rope often implicates itself in a surprising array of other skills. Want to tie your shelter together, carry food and water, hunt with a bow, make a fire-by-friction, or craft a basket? Rope may help provide an effective solution to these and many other survival challenges.While in the wilderness you may sometimes feel “fit to be tied”, but here you’ll realize that you always need to be “tied to be fit”!dsc_4021

ETHNOBOTANY

Ethnobotany – the study of how people use plants – is a vital foundation for becoming a well-rounded Naturalist and to thrive in the wilderness.  After all, for the vast majority of human history the ability to find, identify, and use wild plant species for a plethora of purposes has been a hallmark of our species.  Native plants still conceal a bewildering array of uses that can markedly enhance your everyday well-being and are well worth getting to know.  There is no better place in all of North America to learn about these beautiful and utilitarian plants than in our fabulous Sky Islands of southeastern Arizona.  Here over 2,000 plant species are available to learn from and to use.

Vital Ethnobotany knowledge can prove life-saving during a wilderness expedition or an emergency in the wild. You will be empowered with knowledge that will allow you to see plants in the wild as a reliable resource.

Wandering Deserts, Grasslands, Woodlands, Streams, and Forests we’ll locate, identify, and use a wide variety of Plants for:

  • Food
  • Medicine
  • Shelter
  • Tools
  • Navigation
  • Art
  • Music
  • Dyes
  • Fire-by-friction
  • Survival Signals
  • Hygiene
  • Adhesives…..more!

dsc_9337_2Cacti, trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, mosses, and lichens all possess a profusion of uses that will benefit you in countless everyday and survival situations. Several plant-based crafts can serve as a reminder of your newfound incredible wealth of plant wisdom. Seasonally, you may also enjoy delving into the wild cuisine that our delicious native plants have to offer.

Many people who take pleasure in seeing wildlife also enjoy this class, as going slowly and investigating plants is often conducive to close encounters with our spectacular native animal species!
RAVEN’S NEST NATURE SANCTUARY PLANT LIST 
VISIT OUR RAVENS-WAY BLOG

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STONE-AGE HUNTING & TRAPPING

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During this class we will hearken back to a time when we sought the lives of our animal relations for our daily sustenance. We will approach each tool and hunting weapon with an attitude of reverence and respect, seeking to honor the hunt.  You’ll discover how to effectively and respectfully harvest animal foods via:

  • Hands
  • Sticks and Rocks
  • Traps
  • Snares
  • Bow & Arrow
  • Scavenging

Eating meat gains new meaning when you harvest directly from Nature. You will also learn the art of transforming your quarry into a plethora of useful items. See how hides, bones, antlers, hooves, and sinew gain new life in a variety of stone-age projects. Primitive fishing trips can also be arranged.

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FLINT-KNAPPING

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 One of the most vital and basic of Stone-Age and Survival Skills is to be able to transform rocks into useful and beautiful tools. Starting with gathering, we’ll create a variety of stone tools and implements using skills and ingenuity passed down through the ages. Rock saws, knives, scrapers, spoke-shaves, wedges, drills, etchers, arrowheads, and spear-points are some of the projects that we will make via this ancient art.

 Your Flint-knapping class will include:
  • Lithic or rock sourcing
  • Historical perspectives
  • Percussion flaking
  • Pressure flaking
  • Stone tool use to create other tools
  • Safety precautions and considerations
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TRANSITIONING TO THE WILD  – PRIMITIVE LIVING I

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This custom-made Private Program is a beginner’s introduction to the fundamental stone-age skills that form the foundation for all others. We run this course with the support of a modern nature center and campground at RAVEN’S NEST.

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During this Primitive Living I course you will learn how to:

  • Make Rope from plant materials
  • Build an efficient fire lit with a hand-drill kit
  • Find and identify Wild Edible Plants
  • Use Tracks and Signs for identifying wildlife
  • Find Safe Drinking Water
  • Use natural materials for Wilderness Hygiene
  • Hunt with your hands/rocks/sticks
  • Employ one style of Primitive Trap
  • Build a Basic/One-person Shelter
  • Make the following tools: Stone Bowl, Rock Knife, Rock Saw, Mineral Paint Kit, a Woven Mat, Digging Stick, and more!

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Primitive Living I provides a perfect introduction to wilderness survival skills for people of all ages and backgrounds.  No prior experience is necessary, just a willingness to learn and basic physical fitness.  At the conclusion of the course you’ll have learned a coherent set of vital skills and take home many useful survival tools.

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INTO THE WILDS – PRIMITIVE LIVING II

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 Our intermediate stone-age skills course allows you to take your knowledge to a new level.  You must have prior wilderness survival training, such as our “Transitioning to the Wild – Primitive Living I” course or its equivalent.  This course will take your primitive survival skills to new levels, while truly preparing you to face whatever Nature throws your way.

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Some of the skills we’ll cover include:

  • Advanced Rope-Making
  • Fire-Plow and Bow-Drill Fire-Making
  • Collecting and Processing Wild Foods (we’ll have one or more Wild meals)
  • In-depth Tracks and Signs
  • Wild Medicinal Plants
  • Small-Game Hunting Bows/Arrows
  • 2 more types of Animal Traps
  • One type of Snare
  • Multi-Person Shelters (incl. with fire)
  • Woven Baskets
  • Hide-Tanning

Additionally, you’ll spend a night in a shelter of your own making, cook wild food by a fire created without matches, and attempt to trap/catch wild meat to consume. Time and time again we have witness how this course sets the stage for those that are interested in becoming fully competent in a wilderness survival situation, providing everyone with even more skills and viable options upon which you can rely during an unexpected wilderness survival situation and in times of need.

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A HUNTER-GATHERER’S LIFE – PRIMITIVE LIVING III

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In some ways this is the ultimate RAVENS- WAY Survival and Stone-age class! Here we apply the skills that we learned in “Transitioning to the Wild” and “Into the Wilds” (prerequisites for this class) in a true wilderness setting. We begin with several days of crafting whatever tools we’ll need for our expedition. In addition to the skills covered in previous classes, we’ll also create a stone-age backpack to carry our vital gear.

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We will then embark on an expedition of several days to a week or more into some of the wildest country in North America. During our time in the wilderness we will endeavor to work as a Hunter-Gatherer team, cooperating to meet all of our basic needs and beyond. If you’ve never experienced the thrill of living in harmony with the Earth, then what are you waiting for?!

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Join us at RAVENS-WAY WILD JOURNEYS for a very unique experience as a group or solo. Safely push your Wilderness Survival skills to the limit in this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

OUR STONE-AGE VILLAGE AT RAVEN’S NEST NATURE SANCTUARY

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One of your best assets for learning and applying wilderness survival skills is our unique Stone-age Village.  Set in the wilds of Raven’s Nest Nature Sanctuary, here you’ll find a broad range of primitive shelters, tools and other features that collectively will help you to learn a broad range of skills.  Some features of this quasi hunter-gatherer encampment are:

  • Several Conical Wickiups
  • Domed Wickiup
  • Lean-to shelters
  • Shade Ramada
  • A-frame shelter
  • Arroyo shelter
  • Flint-knapping area
  • Fire-making area
  • Hide-tanning area
  • Food-processing area
  • Hunting and Trapping area
  • Mineral Paint area

We designed and built the village hoping to inspire you about the wealth of knowledge and skills inherent in the life style of our ancestors. To remind everyone how the communities that inhabit these lands before technology and gadgets thrived by using only the natural resources around them and supporting and relying on each others skills and strengths. A constant reminder to all the groups that participate in our unique Curriculum that via teamwork and collaboration, everything is possible, as “it takes a village”! We welcome you to a very inspirational land to learn and apply a broad range of Wilderness Survival Skills.  Leave your gadgets behind… put yourself in the mindset of those that thrived before us….and join us for a transformative Wilderness Survival workshop at Ravens-Way Wild Journeys  and experience the boundless possibilities that lie ahead!