In collaboration with Women's Wilderness & Natural Wisdom Counseling, we received a small grant from the Open Door Fund to be able to offer a series of half to full-day "skill-shares" for the queer community from Fall 2016 through Spring 2018. These skill-shares are now known as the "Queer Wilderness Project," and are intended as a safe container for LGBTQ2+ folks of any gender to engage in the culture and practice of wilderness-self reliance and earth-based living skills.
These events are for LGBTQIA+, non-binary, and third-gender people ages 16-99+ years old. Registration works by putting down a $10 deposit through our partners at Women's Wilderness to hold your space. You have the option of donating an additional $0-$25 at the end of the class if you feel so moved. We will send an email with location information post-registration, usually at least two weeks before the date of the class. If finances are ever deterring you from registering for any of our offerings, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wildlife tracking series - jan 28, Feb 25 & mar 25, 2018
10 AM - 4 PM, Boulder County, CO. Must register for details.
Wildlife tracking is an ancient human activity where science meets art—where quantitative analysis and deductive logic meets interpretation, imagination, and story-telling. Tracking is about discerning biographies of our non-human (and human!) neighbors by examining details of the landscape. It is about beginning to build relationship with those who might often be around us but who are rarely seen. Wildlife tracking is an essential skill for building situational awareness, entering into the role of hunter or scout in an ethical manner, and many other endeavors such as citizen science, bird-watching, and wildlife photography.
Queer Wilderness Project is excited to announce a winter tracking mini series in 2018, consisting of three day long workshops, each spaced a month apart. We have designed this series with feedback in mind from previous tracking classes, where we learned that participants would be interested in learning this skill and building relationship with non-human neighbors over a series of classes as opposed to trying to pack an overwhelming amount of information into a single day.
Participants are encouraged to sign up for all three, but are also welcome to sign up individually based on availability and accessibility. Because of the nature of this skill and also due to the weather conditions in Colorado, we cannot guarantee a specific focus for each workshop this far in advance. Rather, activities, locations, and areas of focus will be based on seasonal conditions. Most of our time will be spend outside wandering if possible unless winter weather prevents us from doing this safely. Snowshoes will be provided if needed. During the course of the three workshops, we will be sure to cover topics such as clear print identification, animal sign other than prints (such as scat or territorial markings), animal behavior as relevant to tracking, and the art of trailing.
Please, register here.
Intro to bird language - may 6th, 2018
8 AM - 2 PM, Boulder County, CO. Must register for details.
Do you ever wonder what the birds are saying? They are saying a lot more than even their beautiful songs! Birds have incredible powers of observation and evasion, and they use these powers to engage in “recon,” warn others of danger, and at times communicate specific information about threats like nearby aerial or ground predators. Mounting research on bird communication reveals what indigenous peoples have known for a long time—that songbirds are the key species in intricate interspecies communication systems that exist in many different ecosystems and natural communities. We, like many other species, have an ability to tap into this ‘real live twitter feed,’ yet Western science has historically focused on other aspects of orthnithology like taxonomy and species identification, failing to appreciate that birds themselves provide constant live-streams of data about their (our) environments. When we appreciate that birds do this, we can become better (and more respectful) naturalists and allies to our other-than-human kin, and we can also become alerted to the presence of other beings around us like bobcats, weasels, hawks, and owls.
This all may sound intimidating, but actually, getting a handle on bird language is a lot easier than it seems. It’s not about being able to identify every bird you see, it’s more about being able to categorize songbird behaviors and vocalizations into several broad categories, learning who a handful of the most common species in your area are, and using these as keys to help you observe and pattern the songbirds that live in your own backyard. Your backyard, favorite hiking trail, or the nearby park can then be a stepping stone for pushing your naturalist skills further and further. Engaging in relationship with your avian neighbors will reveal you more about your environment than you might have thought possible!
Please, register here.
Scouting, awareness & camouflage - june 23rd, 2018
4 PM - 10 PM, Boulder County, CO. Must register for details.
When people hear “scouting” they often think of Boy or Girl Scouts. We have a more specific definition of scouting—it is the art of blending in to your environment, going unnoticed, and collecting information about your environment. This can be practiced in order to reduce your impact in natural settings which will help you become a better naturalist and become more aware of your non-human kin. It can also be practiced in order to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in times of threat or danger.
It can be difficult to describe really what this class will be like, but some of the concrete skills that we will focus on to anchor this theme will involve various awareness and intuition exercises and games that can help you hone your powers of observation of both your surroundings (which includes other beings) and your internal landscape, ways of moving your body that reduce your energetic and sonic impact on the world around you, how to use the natural world and various materials in order to conceal and camouflage yourself, and more. We will explore these skills through both group games/exercises, partners, and also solo in a safe outdoor setting. Learning these arts together is an embodied experience that puts us intimately in touch with the natural world, creates strong group bonds, and tends to bring out the kid in everyone!
As queer folks, we may have many reasons for already being used to ‘taking a step back’ and assessing our prospective safety, resources, and threats when we enter social and public spaces. This disposition to hyperawareness of our social and political environment can be beautifully leveraged in the arts and sciences of scouting. NOTE: This class ends after dark.
Please, register here.
QTBIPOC Pine needle basketry - Sunday February 4th, 2018
10 AM - 4 PM, Boulder, CO.
This event is for QTBIPOC (queer, trans black, indigenous and people of color). We ask white queers to respect this POC-focused learning space.
In this skillshare, we will focus on the art of weaving. You will be introduced to the coil-method of basketry required for pine needle baskets. We will take advantage of the themes of winter, engaging in an indoor nature-based craft that lends itself well to internal reflection, emotional processing, and crafty camaraderie. Creating containers in these ancestral ways is a powerful experience for anyone, and crafting taps into our creativity and problem-solving capacities, offering both insight and a practical product!
Mentors of this program will be Jasmyn Hinton and Pınar Sinopoulos-Lloyd. This workshop is designed so that participants will be able to take home their own finished or almost-finished small pine-needle basket made out of locally and ethically harvested see3 (Ponderosa Pine in Arapaho) needles. Feel free to bring special items that we will teach you how to weave into your basket, like beads, shells, pieces of leather, or whatever your imagination can dream up!
spinning yarn on a drop spindle with guest instructor jasmyn hinton – December 3rd, 2017
10 AM - 4 PM, Boulder, CO.
Spinning Yarn on a Drop Spindle is a class for those new to spinning yarn. In the 6 hour class you will learn about various types of wool, the mechanics of spinning yarn and how to spin! This class will also go over plying and finishing the yarn you’ve spun. Provided in class will be a sample of wool to spin, as well as a top whorl drop spindle to take home with you.
friction fire & Feast - November 11th, 2017
10 AM - 6 PM, Boulder, CO.
There are many methods of making fire without a match, but in this workshop we invite you to explore a particular fire-by-friction technology that is relatively easy to learn. We will provide materials and instruction for the technique of bow-drill, a method of fire making with variations deriving from several parts of the world including Northern Turtle Island (North America), the Balkans, the Near East, and North Africa. We will also offer instruction on useful types of fire-structures and fire-tending. Come explore this vital element with us!
In this workshop we will introduce a new element that goes very well with fire: Food! This workshop will be two hours longer than most of our workshops, which will allow us to slow down around the fire and test out some low-tech cooking skills, which hopefully will result in a shared dinner together. Participants are encouraged to bring their favorite root vegetable, but food will also be provided by the instructors.
self-defense and equine connection with guest instructor crystal middlestadt – December 3rd, 2017
10 AM - 4 PM, Happy Dog Ranch Foundation, Inc. Littleton, CO.
In the fourth skillshare, we will explore the way in which self-defense is embedded in nature as a means of survival. Self-defense extends beyond protection and warding off attacks--it also includes the protective features of healthy relationships and positive connections. After a guest instructor, Crystal Middlestadt, leads us through physical self-defense techniques, you will also get to explore the nature of relationship in a herd of horses. This equine piece will be lead by Jess Dallman, one of the core Queer Nature team who is a wilderness therapist and equine therapy practitioner. We will take advantage of the themes of horse dynamics, engaging in congruent communication and opening to relational contact. Self-defense and equine connection are a powerful experience for anyone, offering both new skills and personal insight!
Intro to Herbalism with guest instructor Michelle Castor of Agua y Sangre – April 22, 2017
10 AM - 2 PM, Boulder, CO.
Blooms, Bears, and Bitters: an introduction to herbal medicine for the gut, the mind, and the transition of seasons.
In this class we will talk about how we can call on & accept support from our herbal allies to help us adjust and flow during the transition from winter to spring. We will begin by briefly introducing herbal medicine as a concept, and then dive into the importance of creating connections with plants, how to speak to them, and how to ask & receive their permission to call in their medicina & magic. We will then discuss in detail a handful of plantitas that are perfect for supporting us in the transition of springtime—when things are starting to bloom, our digestive systems are coming out of hibernation, and our minds + spirits could use some extra love. We will finish the class by making our own springtime remedio—a nourishing herbal vinegar.
Michelle Castor, owner of Agua y Sangre Healing, is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Herbal Educator, and Wellness Promotora. She weaves a passion for healing justice with her background in curanderismo & ancestral magic, western herbal medicina, and massage therapy. Central to her work is compassion and a commitment to providing transformative, empowering, and nurturing care to all people, without judgment. Learn more about her work at www.aguasangrehealing.com, and find her on FB: Agua y Sangre Healing // IG: @aguasangrehealing
Intro to wildlife tracking – february 12, 2017
10 AM - 3 PM, Nederland CO.
In the third skillshare, we will focus on the art of wildlife tracking. You will be introduced to track identification, movement (re)patterning, and signs of wildlife activity. Tracking requires (and elicits) attention and focus, heightening our senses and awareness. We will also demonstrate the art of inner tracking—the awareness of the movement patterns within us, and how they relate to external tracking. Wildlife tracking was an intimate process for our ancestors. In light of the current cultural themes around romance and love, join us in a deep exploration 1of self and Other—who knows, you may just fall in love with the intimate details you discover!
Pine-Needle Basketry & Cordage – January 8th, 2017
In the second skillshare, we will focus on the art of weaving. You will be introduced to the coil-method of basketry required for pine needle baskets, and you will also get to explore the process of making cordage (i.e. rope) from natural materials. We will take advantage of the themes of winter, engaging in an indoor nature-based craft that lends itself well to internal reflection and emotional processing. Creating baskets and cordage in these ancestral ways is a powerful experience for anyone, and crafting taps into our creativity and problem-solving capacities, offering both insight and a practical product!
Firecraft – October 30th, 2016
12 PM - 4 PM, Boulder, CO
Have you wondered how it’s possible to make fire from “rubbing two sticks together?” Though it’s not always quite that simple, most cultures have at some point depended on a type of fire-by-friction technology, often involving two or more pieces of wood. Friction fire making is a fundamental survival skill, but fire is also a rich symbol of hearth and home, and a potent elixir of community. Deepening a relationship with fire by learning how to create it from natural materials can be transformative on many levels.
There are many methods of making fire without a match, but in this workshop we invite you to explore a particular fire-by-friction technology that is relatively easy to learn. We will provide materials and instruction for the technique of bow-drill, and can also get into the more advanced technique of hand-drill if participants are interested. We will also offer instruction on useful types of fire-structures, fire-tending, and using fire as a tool for carving and/or hardening wood. Come explore this vital element with us!