AWE – Amaze, Wonder, Experience

Program Information

  • Adult program
  • One weekend a month, September 2018 – March 2019
  • Saturday & Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm
  • Tuition : $645
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‘AWE’ Wakening: An immersion into the Core Practices of Mentoring and Deep Nature Connection Amaze, Wonder, and Experience

The great trail blazer, naturalist, and writer John Muir once said, “When one tugs at a single thread in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

In this Deep Nature Connection Program, our mentors, Mike Weems and Sarah Hubbard, will carry you through the Core Practices for cultivating your own connection to the earth and to yourself. Beginning with the foundation of gratitude each step becomes a layer of curiosity, accomplishment, and fascination of the invisible threads that exist between all things.

In this program you will be:

  • Amazed by the Natural World in new ways - learn to see more, hear more, and feel more through the development of Awareness Skills such as Sit Spot, Gratitude, Bird Language, Tracking, and much more.
  • Wondered by what you are capable of experiencing both in yourself and in wild places by practicing Practical Skills such as fire making and tending, cordage making, knife skills, knot skills, camping skills, and much more.
  • Exploring the relationship you have with the Earth, with yourself, and within your communities through wandering and hiking over the 600 acres AWE calls home as well as through thoughtful conversation, storytelling, and navigation skills.

The Weekends

September 15 & 16: Nature Connection

We begin this journey of AWE with the deep inhalation of slowing down and opening to the natural world around us. We will crack open the Core Practices beginning with Gratitude – the remembering of thankfulness - and move into awareness – seeing, hearing, and feeling. We will be on the trail looking at the plants, mushrooms, and insects who live alongside us, lives that we often miss as we walk past. We will practice The Art of Questioning – learning to really ask questions, how to look at something closely, and how to use these questions to further guide your natural curiosity. We’re going to play a few games to release your inner child and we’re going to take some time to ourselves to relax, breath, and enjoy a little space as begin to cultivate our sit spot practice. This weekend will also include an introduction to fire skills. We will begin talking about and experimenting with how to successfully build a fire without fail.

October 13 & 14: Life as a Bird

There are very few places that one cannot observe birds. For most, bird songs provide a sense of hope and inspiration. They live some of the most interesting lives, traveling great distances to feed and breed. Birds also play a crucial role in life as we know it on Earth. This weekend we are going to talk about the Lives of our feathered neighbors. We will spend the weekend practicing and learning Identification and Song; looking at and exploring different behaviors from both the perspective of an entire species and an individual. We will examine food sources, nesting and mating behaviors, territorial aggression, and ALARMS. With our hands we will make baskets out of natural materials, or birdhouses out of gourds if the materials are available.

November 10 & 11: Shelters

Like most animals, there are basic needs we require for our survival beginning with Food, Water, and Shelter. For our third weekend together we will be constructing shelters. All shelters contain one basic element: protection. There are countless ways to construct your safe haven from the weather. We will offer a few different methods and you can choose which one feels most exciting to you. This weekend you will work with several different types of hand tools, practice learning to tie useful knots, and learn some basic construction techniques. This weekend will be an overnight. Food for dinner and breakfast as well as coffee will be provided.

November 17 & 18: Fire

A basic need that we as humans have that most other species of animal do not require is Fire. In our fourth weekend, we will spend the night with fire. Your day will be spent in the forest gathering the wood you will burn during the night. You will construct a small and safe fire ring where your night will be spent tending your own flame. At dusk, just after dinner, you will light your solo fires with the goal of keeping them going until the birds awaken the next day. Through this overnight experience, you will master the language of fire, keeping it small enough to easily manage but big enough to keep you warm. You will learn to work with the wind to control the smoke as well as observe which pieces you chose burn best - all while developing your own unique method for tending the fire. This weekend will be an overnight. Food for dinner and breakfast as well as coffee will be provided.

December 8 & 9: Following the Trail

In Georgia, our winters are typically wet and cold, making this a great time to get out on the trail and observe our mammal neighbors. In December, we will go through the basics of tracking mammals while also looking into their lives and behaviors. Through the observation of the trail we will begin to uncover tracks, trails, food sources, and the ways mammals find and use shelter. We will also take a look at the connection of the trail to the tradition of oral storytelling. We will delve into the realm of myths, folktales, and fables. With our hands we will make small leather bound journals.

January 12 & 13: Wandering

To wander is to move in an aimless way. This weekend we will wander to new destinations practicing navigation skills using the sun, a compass, and a map to help us find our way. We will break from the trail traversing the landscape from a new perspective. Our entire weekend will be spent roaming the 600 acres AWE calls home.

February 9 & 10: Role Modeling

If one wants to do well at something they have to practice. Mentoring is no different. Whether you are mentoring Nature Connection or teaching coding skills you have to practice in order to hone your passion so that you can convey it to others. If you want those around you to change, one of the best methods for helping to bring about that change is role-modeling. Thus, Role Modeling is a core practice of Nature Connection and Coyote Mentoring. If we want to experience a world - an earth - where people see relationships and respect them, we have to show them the way. We must forge new paths. This weekend each participant will have a chance to practice mentoring and sharing a passion. Bring a skill, share a hobby… offer a game; tell a story… You get to choose. Your peers are your students. Make it fun and share with us something that excites you.

March 9 & 10: AWE

In our final weekend together we will take our last rambles over the landscape to the different pockets of forest we spent time in while remembering the weekends held there and the lessons they offered. We will share AWE at the coming spring, the abundance of life, and the world of possibility that lies in front of us. And with the final exhale we will close our journey with the gift of the sacred giveaway, making an offering to the land, and looking at where we were and how far we have come.

The Core Practices of Deep Nature Connection are the fundamental building blocks for a lifetime of AWE. Through the simple techniques our Coyote Mentors will share ways in which connection and curiosity are easily built. Through these foundational techniques awareness skills come alive, opening the natural world up in new and exciting ways. You will notice things you have never noticed before, you will find yourself moving slower and seeing more.

Each weekend of AWE will build upon the previous weekend. Expect them to be busy and full. We will be moving, wandering, learning, and exploring. Timelessness will settle in as our eyes open wider and wider to the different depths of seeing that life has to offer.

Each weekend will also include practical tools of mentoring Nature Connection to all kinds of students. Apprenticeships with Wild Intelligence are available if you would like to practice and develop these skills. Mike and Sarah will share their passion for Coyote Mentoring through stories, role modeling, and guidance. Anyone interested in mentoring will also have opportunities to explore ways to incorporate these skills into their lives and the communities they interact with on a daily basis.

Between weekends we will share simple activities for you to practice at home, along with inspirational articles and videos that relate to the Core Practices. During this journey into AWE, both Mike and Sarah are available to you for both questions and support to help make this your experience.

We hope you will join us for this upcoming year.

Program Registration

  • We ask everyone to complete the following application steps. Filling out an application does not guarantee registration in our program. To ensure a place in our program, please apply as soon as possible. Once a program is full, applications will proceed to a waiting list.
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