Wild Deer Wilderness Skills Program

Wilderness Survival Skills, Naturalist Training, and Mentoring

Deepening awareness, developing skills, and passing it on…

Join the p.i.n.e project one weekend every month, January through June 2017, for a unique naturalist skills and mentoring training experience.
Gain incredible skills and experiences in the wilderness. Learn tools and methods to inspire profound connection with the natural world.
We will dive into the skills of the modern hunter-gatherer, naturalist, and “coyote mentor” to learn how these create resilience in individuals and communities. This is a great opportunity for teachers, parents, outdoor enthusiasts, urban nature lovers, and anyone interested in deepening their connection with the natural world and learning to work with the land in a mutually beneficial relationship.

Year 1 Program

Over a 6-month period, Wild Deer participants will receive focused mentoring in most of the areas listed below and much more. Please note that the exact curriculum may vary depending on the group’s interest, available resources, and other factors.

  • Wildlife tracking
  • Hazards in nature
  • Edible and medicinal plant harvesting and preparations
  • Tuning your senses and awareness to nature’s baseline
  • Making containers and baskets from natural materials
  • Making basic tools from forest resources
  • Bird language
  • Learning survival skills of the ancient and modern hunter-gatherer
  • Making fire by friction (bow and hand drill) in various weather conditions
  • Tarps, knots, and practical bush craft
  • Wilderness navigation
  • Growing your naturalist skills around trees, birds, plants, etc.
  • Introduction to basic survival, hunting, and trapping skills
  • And much more!

In addition to the skills listed above, participants will also learn more about a very important cultural skill: The Art of Mentoring and passing it on. Sundays are dedicated to naturalist studies, tracking, the art of natural learning, and coyote mentoring. Hear stories from p.i.n.e.’s lineage connecting to people around the world, learn songs and games and their application in mentoring and community building, and dive deep into the 8 Shields mentoring model.

All participants will also receive a copy of the Kamana Naturalist Training Program (Level 1) to help them focus their naturalist and awareness training in between our times together.

2018 Program Dates and Times:

Date Location
January 26 to 28 Baysville in Muskoka
February 23 to 25 Toronto
March 23 to 25 Toronto
April 20 to 22 Toronto
May 25 to 27 Toronto
June 14 to 17 Norval Outdoor School

Weekend Times:

The program will run Fridays 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Saturdays 9:30am – 6:30pm, and Sundays 10:30am – 4:30pm (with breaks for lunch). Times may change slightly.

Plan on having projects to work on between gatherings along with nature challenges to help you fully integrate the teachings of this experience into your everyday life.


Lodging will be provided for January and June weekends, and is included in the overall price.


Participants will be required to bring their own food for all weekends.



A payment plan is available.

Bursaries are an available option through the Best Day Ever Fund.

Registration Now Open



Year 2 Program: Experience Required

Are you ready for the next step in your earth skills and naturalist journey?

The Year 1 Wild Deer Program exposes you to many different wilderness arts, naturalist skills and the 8 shields mentoring approach. Many individuals complete the course feeling very inspired and with a wealth of new knowledge and heightened awareness of the language of nature, yet most realize how much more remains to be learned.

The Year 2 journey narrows the focus by refining and developing proficiency with some of the most important skill sets, especially around the Sacred Four (shelter, water, fire, food) which we all interact with every day of our lives. This program dives deep into our relationship with these basic human needs to help all participants feel prepared to acquire these needs straight from nature.

Learn more about our Year 2 Wild Deer Program here.