You are here: Home > Foraging > Learn
See below for upcoming classes, presentations, and seminars that are open to the public. If you would like to arrange for a walk or presentation, including private and small group instruction, please contact Arthur Haines by sending an email to . Alternatively, feel free to call or write using the information supplied on the Contact page. Registration policies for classes offered exclusively through the Delta Institute of Natural History are found here.
>>> Links to other websites offering quality instruction or merchandise (e.g., books, videos, supplies) can be found here.
>>> Videos of Arthur Haines sharing wild plant knowledge can be found here.
>>> Blog articles to build awareness and promote health can be found here.
>>>>> 2013 Classes and Presentations
Traditional Bow Making (private sessions)
April through October 2014
Archery is one of the peak primitive talents that encompasses many skill areas—plant identification, wood working and tillering, fiber arts, adhesives, stone knapping, and wood bending. Additionally, if the bow is used for hunting, tracking, stalking, concealment, and the talents surrounding accurate shooting enter the scene. Though some of the oldest bow artifacts date only to 9000 years ago, projectile points for arrows have been recovered from the African continent dating approximately 64,000 years old. Hunting bows are one of the tools used to acquire animal foods that possibly separated modern humans from Neanderthals (who primarily hunted with close-quarters weapons). Learning to make a bow represents a large step toward self-reliance and builds a historical connection to ancestral lifeways used by our indigenous predecessors. The bow has many features that make it as useful today as it was millennia ago. For example, in suburban areas, bow hunting is one the relatively safe ways to hunt game and is silent (so neighbors are neither alerted to your activities nor annoyed when you target shoot). This self-directed class is for individuals who wish to hand-build a functional tool that can be used for target shooting, hunting, and/or self defense. Students will build a bow that is roughly based on the Meare Heath Bow of England, and will learn necessary tool use and terminology for understanding bow building and shooting, including learning to make the string by hand, weather-proofing, silencers, and other topics of interest to the students. Class duration will be variable and dependent on the student, weather, etc., but will likely take an average of three to four days for most people that are active and reasonably fit. Scheduling will be arranged between the student and instructor and can be consecutive days or split into separate days. Camping is available for those wishing to stay on the premises. All the materials and tools can be provided by the instructor. Students will complete the class with a functional bow that they take back to their homes to learn the potential that traditional bows offer. Price for the class is 495.00 dollars. Sessions are arranged privately (i.e., you will not be joined by additional people unless you scheduled the class with them) and will fill on a first come first serve basis. Arrow making sessions are available as well. Interested persons should contact Arthur Haines by email or any means listed on the Contact page.
Traditional Braintan Buckskin (private sessions)
May through October 2014
Braintan buckskin is the traditional leather of many indigenous cultures, including Native Americans. It has allowed anatomically modern humans to protect themselves from the elements and travel throughout the world. Though buckskin shares many qualities with contemporary leather, such as beauty, function, durability, it is a vastly different product, neither damaging to the environment nor rigid (though it can be made stiff). Buckskin offers a method of creating strong fabric locally. It is completely natural and helps hunters and scavengers better utilize the animals they obtain (proper thankfulness is shown by not wasting valuable portions of the animal). Buckskin has a multitude of uses, from functional clothing that is quiet, blocks scent, and resistant to punctures, to quivers, bags, pouches, and cords. Students will take a raw deer skin and turn it into buckskin, along the way learning the necessary skills and terms for understanding the tanning process. Several options exist for dressing (I recommend brains, but other dressings are available, so don't avoid this critical self-reliance skill for this reason). Class duration will be variable and dependent on the student, weather, etc., but will likely take an average of three days for most people that are active and reasonably fit. Scheduling will be arranged between the student and instructor and can be consecutive days or split into separate days. Camping is available for those wishing to stay on the premises. All the materials and tools can be provided by the instructor. Students will complete the class with a functional buckskin that they take back to their homes to learn the potential that traditional leather has to offer. Price for the class is 450.00 dollars. Sessions are arranged privately (i.e., you will not be joined by additional people unless you scheduled the class with them) and will fill on a first come first serve basis. Interested persons should contact Arthur Haines by email or any means listed on the Contact page.
Late Spring Foraging Along the Androscoggin River
31 May 2014
(Offered in conjunction with the Maine Primitive Skills School)
Follow in the foot-steps of the Anasagunticooks and learn to see and gather the bounty of wild plant foods along the Androscoggin River. Traditional people around the world understand that food does not just represent calories but it supplies also important nutrients and protective compounds. For these people, food is a defining feature of their culture and is incorporated into their collecting tools, containers, songs, and rituals. Important to note is that people who still enjoy their traditional diet are free from many of the chronic ailments that plaque modern societies in every country―cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, diabetes, inflammatory diseases of the digestive and musculoskeletal systems, and autoimmune disorders. Aside from such serious topics, wild plants offer variety in our diet and can provide unique flavors and textures to liven up dishes that may be frequently prepared in our households. Join in the spirit of Euell Gibbons and see how wonderful it feels to gather your own food. This field class will begin with a brief explanation of the protective benefits of wild foods and then delve into identifying and gathering various late spring wild edibles. Seasonal differences will be discussed and preparation techniques for the different plant parts examined. Class will be held from 10:00 am to approximately 3:00 pm in Brunswick, ME (directions will be provided to participants). This single-day class will be led by Arthur Haines and will be limited to 12 students. This is an outdoor class, so be prepared for whatever weather occurs and uneven and/or rocky ground. A bagged lunch will be needed and a hand lens for examining small plant structures (used for identification) may be helpful. The price of the class is $100.00. If you are interested in enrolling for this class, please contact Maine Primitive Skills School by calling (207)-623-7298, emailing email@example.com, or visiting www.primitiveskills.com/survival-course-reg.html.
26–28 September 2014
(Offered in conjunction with the Maine Primitive Skills School)
This hands-on class is designed for those with with an interest in self-sufficiency, human health, and a deeper relationship with plants. Foraging provides many avenues of connection with nature and fosters a greater appreciation of the many things that local landscapes can provide for us. It has become increasingly clear through many independent studies that diets rich in wild foods promote health and defend the body from many of the debilitating ailments that plague modern societies (e.g., obesity, diabetes, arthritis, coronary disease, periodontal disease). Students should expect to spend much of the weekend outside identifying, collecting, and preparing wild plants for food (so be prepared for weather and uneven terrain). Class will focus on gathering plant foods and medicines that are appropriate for the season (nuts, legumes, fall roots and tubers, and wild rice--as available). Throughout the class, simple tools will be used and reference will be made to primitive and contemporary methods of processing plants. As well, wildcrafted medicine and utilitarian plants will be discussed to provide a more holistic understanding of how plants can positively affect our lives. Wild nutrition is both a link to the past and a gateway to a sustainable future. This class will be taught by Arthur Haines and will be offered at the Delta Institute of Natural History in Canton, ME (click here if you need directions). All food will be included and prepared by Chef Frank Giglio (http://frankgiglio.com/). Expect local, wild, and/or organic food offerings from the four food kingdoms prepared in a traditional manner (i.e., a Weston Price-inspired menu). Some locations will be visited off site so please be prepared to carpool short distances from the property. Price is $375.00 and class is limited to 10 students. Class begins at 6:00 pm on Friday and ends at 12:00 pm on Sunday. If you are interested in enrolling for this class, please contact the Maine Primitive Skills School (207-623-7298) or visit www.primitiveskills.com/survival-course-reg.html.