Frequently Asked Questions

We are often asked if a child or teen needs some level of foundational experience to join a camp. We take all levels of skill and experience in the natural world, whether they love to camp or have been stuck to the TV. So, no experience is necessary. There is good reason for this – the natural world is how we learn to learn. So, kids take to it quickly and are frankly far better prepared than any adult to get started down the path of outdoor and naturalist education. We are amazed, every day, at how ready they are to learn these skills and how quickly their curiosity and creativity leads them to advancement and new levels of personal discovery.
Yes. We have year long programming, all seasons, in all environments. One of the keys of being a naturalist is learning to relate to your environment in all seasons. We instill this philosophy in our youth outdoor education programs.

In the winter we have a distinctively heavier after school program schedule plus day camps during the week and school holidays. We still focus on the same skills and core routines as we do in the warm seasons. There is great benefit to learning about plants and trees in their winter phases, starting a fire in inclement weather, or how to build warm shelter in the wintertime.

Yes, teenagers may be considered on a case-to-case basis. We ask that any teenage participant be comfortable and capable in working in an adult atmosphere.
Initially, make sure they have water, some snacks, and proper gear for multiple weather conditions. Generally we are very active so if you want to bring a heavy rubber boot we also ask you pack a lighter more athletic shoe as well.

If your child shows sustained interest in wilderness skills or naturalist studies, that list can expand. Get them a good knife. Educate yourself about gear, about what a good base layer and shell is, so they are comfortable in all weather conditions, and teach them how to care for that specialized clothing and equipment. Investment in guidebooks – which we can help train your child how to use – is also advised for the inspired student.

White Pine Wilderness Academy is an aboriginal technologies school at it’s core. Children will learn about the philosophies, traditions and craft from a variety of ancient cultures. We see the skills of wilderness survival as completely intertwined with the peoples who developed these technologies and arts. We will tell stories from a specific culture that connects a lesson to a skill they are learning, and play games that help develop the awareness, physical strength and attention skills needed to be a naturalist and practitioner of the survival arts. Adults who have an interest in primitive skills are encouraged to incorporate the same activities into their practice. Please contact us if you have more questions!
This is a great question. Our first answer is – we love it when parents take an adult class to get a taste of what it takes to execute these seemingly “easy” survival milestones!

In one class, they will get introduced to the skill and start down the long road of understanding the principles and history of primitive technologies such as fire by friction.

In the fire by friction example, there are instances, albeit rare, where someone gets something like fire by friction on the first go. More typically, these are actually very difficult skills to master, as the tools have to be harvested properly, made properly, and then the coordination and timing be absolutely perfect in order to pull it off. From there, consistency in making fire using a wide array of harvested materials and in all types of weather is the sign of a true master of the art. As an example, we consider fire by friction such a difficult art to master that a repeated display of competency with multiple materials in multiple weather scenarios is considered a serious milestone for the most dedicated students. We have an entire Quest series centered around that particular skill.

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