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Are you interested in diving into skill-based naturalist knowledge? Curious about wilderness survival skills? Ever wanted to know how to start a fire with just sticks and are you just as curious about the trees from which the sticks came?


This course touches on a variety of survival and natural history topics, including plant and animal identification, herbal medicine, survival shelters, friction fire, water purification, foraging and edible plants, stone and bone tool making, wildlife tracking, outdoor leadership and safety and more. The course will culminate in a 3-day survival trip, where participants will use all the knowledge and skills they've gained throughout the year.

This is a 10-month class for adults that meets one weekend a month. It is perfect for folks who want to learn more and get their hands dirty, but also have a busy schedule. For the 2023-34 course, 5 classes will be Saturday and Sunday, 9am-4pm. 6 classes will be Saturday-Sunday overnights. 2 classes will be 9am Friday- 5pm Sunday overnights.

See details about this course and 2023-24's monthly schedule below.

NEW! Survival Immersion Short Form
Spring 2024 Only
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Teachers: Tyler Doyle, Chelsea Ernst, guest instructors TBD


Below is an overview of the course. These activities are subject to be shifted around based on weather. 2024-2025 Registration below w/ dates coming soon.

SEPTEMBER 9-10 (Overnight. Friday 8th arrival optional)

Introduction & Survival "Rule of Threes"

Overnight Camping Weekend on East Lake property: Get to know your team for the year through sensory awareness and nature-based activities and games. The skills for the weekend will include basic wilderness survival triage; what is the first thing you should do when you realize you're in a survival situation? Topics will include water purification, shelter, fire, and wild edibles. 

OCTOBER 7-8  (Overnight)

Make survival shelters as a team. Camp overnight on the land, immerse, and play nature games.

Survival Shelter Overnight

(9-4 each day)

Cordage, Carving and Knife Safety, Knots, Friction fire

Learn to make a fire using the bow drill method. Everyone in the class will finish and take home their own bow drill kit and practice getting a coal to blow into flame. We'll also practice useful and practical methods of acquiring food in survival situations, practice making cordage from natural fibers, and get comfortable using a knife for carving, billeting.

(9-4 each day)

Stone and Bone Tool-Making, Spears and Atlatls

One of the oldest skills practiced by people, and so useful. Imagine how you'd go about cutting, slicing, chopping wood, sewing, cooking, hunting, or fishing before metals were commonly used for these purposes. This weekend will be all about making tools: shaping stone into points and shaping bone in order to make awls, hooks, and more. We'll also do some target practice with spears and atlatls.


Join us on a winter survival snow shelter overnight. Learn to stay warm, dry, and fed in one of the coldest times of year. Build a snow shelter as a team, learn winter plant ID, and practice snow tracking.

Winter Survival and The Winter Games!

(9-4 each day)

Learn to build your own bow. We will make two styles of basic, quick survival bows this weekend.

Quick Bow Making

MARCH 2 & 3
(9-4 each Day)

Wildlife Tracking and Trailing

This will be a combined class with our Naturalist Immersion students. We'll focus on wildlife tracking in Central Oregon. This is a survival skill that applies to all aspects of survival: awareness, food, hunting, self knowledge, knowledge of your surroundings, and more.

APRIL 6 & 7
(9-4 each day)

We'll learn about harvesting and preparing plants for edible and medicinal purposes. We'll make some wild food and medicines.

Edible and Medicinal Plants

MAY 4-5

Archery, Hunting, and Bird Language

This weekend will be a fun little mash-up of skills; with focused archery basics one day, and the other day, "sinking in" to the land to listen and to learn about birds, the way they communicate, and what they can tell you about what's happening on the land nearby. We will use all of these skills and practice sensory awareness on the landscape.

May 31 AM-June 1 PM
(Fri-Sun Overnight)

Practice your skills in real time. Join us on a 3-day survival trip, bringing nothing but yourself, your team, the clothes on your back, and your knowledge. This is a Friday AM-Sunday afternoon trip!

Final Survival Trip

Adult Survival Immersion Course: List

June 7-9
(Fri-Sun Overnight)

Oregon Coast Dunes Trip

This is an optional trip, but encouraged. Join our Naturalist Immersion's final meeting for a 2 night camping trip to the Oregon Dunes to get to know a new ecosystem, go wildlife tracking, and connect with each other one last time as a group. 


Price: $2025

Payment Options:


Note: This course is meant to be taken in full. The Monthly payment option is a payment plan that represents the whole, not a choose-your-month option. You are responsible for paying the full tuition by the end of the course regardless of missed class time.

  • Enroll by paying $2025 up front (Book Below)

  • Enroll with an initial $225 nonrefundable deposit, then pay $180 monthly until the end of the class, $2025 total. You are responsible for paying the full amount ($2025) by the end of the course, regardless of any missed class time throughout the year (Book Below)

  • If enrolling in BOTH the Naturalist and Survival Immersion Courses, please register by clicking that option below. You'll pay a deposit to reserve your spot and an instructor will contact you with further payment options. A %15 total discount is accounted for in this option's cost (Book Below)

We offer tuition discounts for Veterans and Tribal Members. We cannot offer additional subsidies on the dual enrollment option. For info and inquiries on these discounts or need-based subsidy, email 

Adult Survival Immersion Course: Bookings Widget

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See our individual programs' pages for more details! Links above and in the dropdown menus. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions, comments, or ideas! We'd love to hear from you if you're wondering about courses or are curious for more information. Fill out the form or contact the number below and one of our instructors will get back to you ASAP!

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Tuition includes the cost of instruction for all of our teachers, their time, class materials, class prep and planning, access to instructor help and materials outside of class, multiple weekend trip considerations, public land permits for land use and camping, firewood for our camping trips, group camping and cooking gear, skillshares, and business operations that make this course possible.


We will change locations each weekend. Classes will be held on public and private lands in the greater Bend area, including East Lake, Alfalfa Market Rd BLM land, public land west of Sisters, and the Ochocos. Most weekends will be located within a 30-min radius of Bend. Some weekends, we will travel further (eg: Oregon Dunes Wildlife Tracking weekend). All participants will be informed of exact locations and meet-up spots via email weeks before each class.


We will carpool for our classes, using teacher and participant vehicles. We'll coordinate carpooling and rendezvous locations well before each month's class. Students are responsible for their own vehicle expenses.


No prior experience is needed. Instructors craft this course to cater to each group of participants. We are practiced in meeting students where they are at and challenging them appropriately.


The 2022-23 class will enroll 10 students maximum.


No. However, in order to participate in the hunting day in the spring, you will need one. These are issued through ODFW and are relatively inexpensive. When the time comes, we're happy to help you through this process.


Homework is not a requirement for this course, but we will give optional challenges every month to take home. Since this class touches on many topics, we recommend continuing the learning outside the classroom. We believe this is the only way to truly do many of these skills well. Life-long learning in community is one of our strongest values and we encourage students to practice these skills outside of class with other students, roommates, friends, and family!


We recommend being prepared with a 3-season tent for yourself, a 0° or so sleeping bag, a good day pack, and a sleeping pad. Weather-appropriate layers (non-cotton base layers, mid-layers, and waterproof layers) for inclement winter weather and mountain weather are recommended, as well. Also, if you have a favorite fixed-blade knife, you're welcome to bring it as an essential, though we have loaner knives. Other educational gear is provided by Nighthawk. We have some loaner outdoor gear, as well.


No. If you choose this option, you must pay each month and complete the payment plan by the final course date, regardless of whether you choose to miss any of the classes. 

This option is the same price as the full course tuition. However, instead of paying a lump sum up front, students who choose this option pay a portion of the tuition monthly. This option is provided as a way to make the class accessible to those who cannot pay the full cost up front.

You pay for a month even if you miss that class because you are not paying just for that month with each monthly payment. You are paying for the work the instructors put into the full course, their time, prep, location considerations, supplies, materials, planning, instruction for the whole course, access to instructor help and materials outside of class, multiple extended weekend trip considerations, skillshares, and business operations that make this course possible. We appreciate you all and we couldn't do it without you.

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