What we're about

Welcome all!

Come join us and reconnect to your natural wildness!

With love and compassion, we teach students how to live a life deeply rooted in the natural world.

Holistic Survival School’s (HSS) Mission is to facilitate Nature connection through the teaching of Earth based skills and ancestral knowledge. By facilitating these connections to self, community and nature, HSS strives to change the hearts of people by re-establishing our lost connection with the Natural world.

Here is a video from one of our weekend classes:


Testimonials from past Holistic Survival School participants:

“A great experience with great people! All about getting back in touch with mind, body, soul and the earth!”

“I am a middle aged ‘mom’ that hadn’t been camping in many years–that signed up for a ‘Survival Training Class’…kind of funny. But Luke (and all the others) were so kind and welcoming. Everyone seemed to lay aside their experience and came ready to learn more. I had a wonderful time, learned a lot and yet walked away feeling more at peace than I had felt in a long time. I brought along my 13 year old niece, and she had a wonderful time as well. Nice job guys, we look forward to more."

“An information filled weekend, with generous and thoughtful hosts. I have camped hundreds of times, but I have never experienced the land, the life growing on the land, or myself quite this way before. It was a blessing, and the start of a new way to experience my surroundings and the gifts that grow all around us "

Upcoming events (5+)

Willow Pack Baskets

Holistic Survival School

Throughout thousands of years of nomadic life, people have carried just about everything they need in woven baskets. Just as one might develop a relationship with their hiking pack that they have hiked the Appalachian trail with, a pack basket is one of those beautiful and functional crafts that will carry the stories of all your adventures. In this class we will be using whole willow shoots to weave ourselves a mighty strong basket. We will use several different weaves, learn how to manipulate the shape and quality of a basket, and talk about willow propagation and preparing fresh shoots for weaving. On our last day we will finish our baskets by fashioning ourselves some backpack straps made from rawhide and webbing. By the time we are complete you will not only have a fully functional pack basket, but all the knowledge you need to replicate the process again and again. Weaving willow is one of the most peaceful and meditative crafts that can change your life! Students must sign up online to reserve their spot: https://www.holisticsurvivalschool.com/calendar/2019/9/14/willow-pack-baskets

The Sacred Hunt

Holistic Survival School

For most of human history the relationship of people to prey has been one of the most important aspects of life and culture. In our region, a local and subsistence diet relies heavily on the ability to procure meat for the people--thusly it is one of the most historically ceremonialized and revered elements of society. Over the past decade we have been studying the art of tracking and hunting and have come to our own deep and enlivened relationship to the hunt. It is a process of extensive observation, serious time getting to know one's landscape, and developing an ongoing conversation with both prey and all that share its territory. In this class we will start from the very beginning of the process of pursuing the hunt. We will cover where to hunt, who to hunt, what to hunt them with, local laws and regulations, tracking and sign, site assessment and placement, and offer our personal insights as to how take life in a more intimate, connective and sacred way. Many of us grow up in a culture where death happens far away from our personal lives, thus we have lost our connection and understanding to this inevitable part of life. We will offer some tools and tips for connecting with your own inner predator in a respectful and harmonious way--a way that carries on the sacred conversation of life and death in a beautiful and intentional way. In this two day class we will not take the lives of any animals, as the first step in deciding to hunt anything is to observe. Additionally, we will cover various types of modern and primitive weaponry as well as their corresponding hunting methods. Additionally, we will talk about how to use all parts of the hunted animal so nothing goes to waste. The intention of this class is to set you up with your task list to prepare you for success in getting closer to animals and their landscapes, to see and feel through their senses, to experience the enlivened state of being that is the sacred hunt. Even if you don’t ever intend to hunt this class will get you closer to animals, and our inevitable ultimate ceremony of death. Students must sign up online to save their spot in the class: https://www.holisticsurvivalschool.com/calendar/2019/10/5/the-sacred-hunt Students 12+ are welcome to attend with their own ticket and an accompanying adult with their own ticket.

Make your Own Osage Bow

Holistic Survival School

Bows Bows Bows!! “A bow is just a stick that is 9/10ths broken” Join us for a five day intensive in the art of bow making and traditional archery. How amazing is it that in our human history humans have devised countless brilliant methods of reducing a single piece of wood to such perfect form so as to send an arrow hundreds of feet per second, thousands of times over and over again! It is an opportunity to get to know one stick better than any other piece of wood you have yet to meet, and a gateway into a relationship to trees that goes much deeper than identification. For our bows we will be using Osage orange wood. Know for it’s golden yellow color and amazing characteristics for bow wood, osage is the king of all bow woods in America. At the end of the classes these bows will be both hunt ready as well as a beautiful piece of craftsmanship built specifically for the shooter. In this class we will use a wide variety of tools including draw knives, hatchets and froes, saws, rasps, scrapers, files, and the like in order to reduce our material to bend perfectly throughout each limb of the bow. That being said, you will not only leave the class with a highly functional bow, but you will also gain much experience in tool use, body mechanics, wood craft and variability in wood structure, and everything you need to know to replicate the process from living tree to finished bow. Students must sign up online to save their spot in the class: https://www.holisticsurvivalschool.com/calendar/2018/12/22/build-your-own-osage-bow Students 12+ are welcome to attend with their own ticket and an accompanying adult with their own ticket.

Hide Tanning: Make your own Buckskin

Holistic Survival School

Join Luke McLaughlin in learning the ancient art of making Buckskin from deer hides. In this four day class, students will turn one deer hide into soft, supple and durable buckskin. Students will learn each step of the process with real, hands-on learning. Once the hide is complete, the every participant will keep their finished product (valued around $250). WHAT IS BUCKSKIN? Buckskin is the soft pliable, leather-like material made from the hide of any hoofed animal (goat, deer, cow, etc). The buckskin process involves scraping off layers of hair and skin, adding oils, and adding lots of elbow grease! The finished product is a material that is more durable than leather and can be made into moccasins, clothes, bags, etc. This is the same process that Ancestral people have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years! Students must sign up online to save their spot in the class: https://www.holisticsurvivalschool.com/calendar/2019/5/16/hide-tanning-make-your-own-buckskin-7j2px Students 12+ are welcome to attend with their own ticket and an accompanying adult with their own ticket.

Past events (37)

Free Plant and Woods Walk!

Holistic Survival School

Photos (103)