Get to Know UsAbout Our School
Since 2009, we’ve existed to enrich the lives of youth and adults through a connection with nature
On Being on Unceded Land
We recognize and honour that we are on unceded and stolen native land. This includes the territories of the Musqueam, Skxwú7mesh-ulh (pronounced Squamish or Skohomish), Stó:lo and Tsleil-Waututh (pronounced slay-wa-tooth, aka Burrard) nations. By acknowledging this complexity, and acknowledging the privilege we have as settlers on this land, we wish to take steps to stop the further perpetuation of colonization of people and the land. Many of the skills we practice and teach have come from a long line of oral tradition and daily use. We are grateful for the teachers we have had in our lives and for the people who continue to hold the tradition of these skills.
Curiosity-led and student-driven
To support full self-expression in every child, we find the experience of being in nature provides children with the skills, tools, and space they need to develop their natural gifts. Using a passion and curiosity based approach, our teaching is guided by the children. As the mentors get to know them, learning is shaped around these interests, and children are led into deep self-discovery and reverence for nature.
Guided by the 8 Shields Model
The 8 Shields Model represents cycles and patterns found in nature and provides mentors with a sense of direction and orientation for designing and facilitating learning experiences that coincide with the natural learning and development journey, along with natural energy cycles found within a day and within each season.
Nature-based games are a physical, mental, and emotional opportunity to feel loose and playful in our self-expression and nourish our imagination.
Edible & Medicinal Plants
Cultivating plants for tea, food, and medicines creates a connection to the landscape through pattern recognition, intuition, and appreciation.
Mammals & Wildlife Tracking
Tracking animals is a window into wildlife that demands whole-brain intelligence and concentration.
Bird Language & Bird ID
Tuning in with a heightened awareness to the vocalizations of birds offers rich information about life on the landscape.
Noticing elements of nature and their interconnectedness develops our understanding of ecological principles and our role in effecting positive change.
Learning and practicing survival skills help relate to nature and develop connections to place in the oldest, most fundamental way.
Using our hands to make crafts and tools challenges our focus and creates space for creativity.
Songs & Storytelling
Sharing songs and stories is an ancient tradition and form of sharing knowledge that knits a society together.
Coyote Mentoring is a term coined by Jon Young and the Wilderness Awareness School to describe the underlying intention of mentorship in the midst of playing games and telling stories in the forest. We call ourselves mentors because we see who our students are and what captures their interest and curiosity, so they are given the opportunities and experiences to grow more fully into their gifts. We believe that, in time, mentoring uncovers the creativity and power that lies within each individual.