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, 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.
In Wild Deer, we 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.

Over a 6-month period, Wild Deer participants 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 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 also receive a copy of the Kamana Naturalist Training Program (Level 1) book to help them focus their naturalist and awareness training in between our times together.


2019 Program Dates and Times:

Dates Location
Friday, Jan. 25- Sunday, Jan. 27 Baysville in Muskoka
Friday, Feb. 22 – Sunday, Feb. 24 Norval Outdoor School*
Friday, March 15 – Sunday, March 17 Toronto City Parks
Friday, April 12- Sunday, April 14 Toronto City Parks
Friday, May 24 – Sunday, May 26 Norval Outdoor School*
Thursday, June 13 – Sunday, June 16 Norval Outdoor School

*Friday evening: Toronto; Saturday & Sunday: Day trips to Norval Outdoor School

Weekend Times:

On weekends February through May, programs run Fridays 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Saturdays 10:00am – 5:00pm, and Sundays 10:30am – 4:oopm (with breaks for lunch). Times may change slightly.

The first (January) and final (June) weekends are full-weekend excursions. Participants overnight together at the program sites.

Between gatherings, participants are tasked with projects and nature challenges to help them fully integrate the teachings of this experience into their everyday lives.


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


Participants are 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 for 2019 is open NOW until January 18, 2019!

Register for Wild Deer 1 Now!


Have you completed Wild Deer Year 1 and you’re ready for the next step in your earth skills and naturalist journey? Learn more about our Year 2 Wild Deer Program here.