by True North Parenting Magazine June 2008

You’ve seen the TV shows where a person is dropped into a forbidding environment and faces the task of survival, right? If you’ve seen those shows or read a news story about anyone lost and confronted with the wild, you have most likely asked yourself the question – “What would I do?” Well, for many people the lack of those survival skills may present a hurdle in their enjoyment and connection with nature, not to mention real potential difficulties if the scenario is actually at hand. These reasons alone are enough to motivate some of the uninformed to change their situation and gain the skills necessary to endure nature’s torment through survival classes.


Anyone who’s attended such training can attest that, while valuable and informative, they can be far from vacations. If you’ve had the pleasure of dining on grubs in the ambiance of drill sergeant style sermons warning that your life is very much at risk, you might think twice about subjecting your children to that treatment. And therein lies the dilemma, because the people who stand to gain the most from that very training are our kids. Beside the literal abilities that come with survival skills, the level of confidence and respect for the natural world multiply when submersed in primitive courses.

So, how do we give kids these important lessons and keep it light and fun? Take them with you in your outward adventures and hone your skills together through family friendly educational programs.

Enter Coyote Trails School of Nature

Coyote Trails is based in Bend with year round camps for kids, teens, parents, and grandparents. This unique approach to outdoor education separates areas of study into 5 fields or “trails” beginning with the Fox Trail where students are introduced to living in nature by making primitive shelters, creating fire by friction, and learning how to seek out nutrients and clean water. Subsequent trails progressively lead students from practical to philosophical studies and applications.

As students progress through the trails a sense of the curriculum’s message develops, which is an individual’s relationship with nature. That relationship can help in many ways. From the wilderness to the concrete jungle, our connection to the environment and our primitive history can compel us to conduct our lives with more deliberate action and reflective thought for the decisions that face us. With such important benefits and rewarding experiences it’s no wonder that programs like these have seen dramatic increases in popularity over the last decade.

Class space is limited so plan your attendance well in advance.