We’re getting closer to the middle of our second Friluftsliv Forest Program in southern Vermont. It’s been a great experience, and we’re already getting signups for next year’s session. This got me thinking about the differences between a long-term residential program like our nine-week guide training and bushcraft semesters at Jack Mountain and the once-a-month yearlong program that the FFP that School Of The Forest offers.
I spend six months of my year running JMB’s two nine-week programs, and it’s a great experience for instructors and students alike. Students get to live with the skills and knowledge they’re learning every day for an extended period of time, and through that gain a deep understanding of those skills, but also get a glimpse into the daily changes in the landscape they’re living on. We spend multiple weeks out on our local river systems in canoes, and that gives students a chance to learn a lot about what it means to live out of a canoe effectively, and having multiple trips means that by the time we finish the semester, students have built systems for canoe camping that work for them. This, paired with our deep dives into ecological studies and skills for living with the land means a deep personal connection to our ecosystem at the field school. It’s an experience that makes the north woods of Maine “home” for many of our students, with some of them even buying property here in Aroostook county and moving up here full time. If you can take the time to participate in the spring or fall semester, it’s truly a life-changing experience.
On the other hand, nine weeks is a long time for people to spend away from home. If you’re not in a position to take two months off and come to the field school, that’s where the FFP comes in. The frilustsliv forest program was designed to allow people who want to learn all the same skills and systems of study we offer on the semester programs, but at a pace that works for them. This means meeting at the SOTF campus in southern Vermont one weekend a month for a year and finishing with two weeks at the JMB field school in northern Maine. The FFP is also structured to allow students to do their ecology studies at home using the framework we provide. This means that even if you live somewhere other than Vermont or Maine, you’ll still be building a greater understanding of the specific flora and fauna right in your backyard while building transferable outdoor living skills like axe work, crafting, and more. Our hope is that through offering a program like this, we open up the opportunity to learn about traditional outdoor living skills, and deep ecology to a wider range of people than we have in the past.
So if you’re interested in either of these different variations on our immersion programs, sign up soon as our space is limited and filling up fast. If you have questions about the programs at Jack Mountain Bushcraft School, or School Of The Forest, you can contact us here