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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.

 

 

 

>>>>> 2014 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.

 

Wild Food Weekend

2–4 May 2014  ***This class if full and registrations are no longer being accepted***

(Offered in conjunction with the Maine Primitive Skills School)

Have you wondered what it would be like to feed yourself entirely from wild food?  Have you been interested to take part in the ecology of your landscape?  Have you been curious to see how your body would respond to our ancestral diet?  If you have answered yes to any of these questions, this class was designed with you in mind.  This weekend will be spent gathering, processing, cooking, and eating wild foods (exclusively)—a unique experience few people get to live.  Students will spend time moving over the landscape with intent, developing a real understanding of the season and fitting into the niche that wild humans once occupied.  While it is a weekend about learning, it is as much about doing.  The foods consumed during this class will primarily come from the local, wild landscape of western Maine, and participants will spend time (hands-on) locating and preparing the foods for their meals throughout the weekend.  It will be an omnivorous event, with deer, fish, and possibly other species as important animal foods.  Weather allowing, most cooking will occur over an open fire and our meals will rely on relatively simple (i.e., easily replicated) menus.  Class will begin at 6:00 pm Friday night and run until approximately noon on Sunday.  This weekend-long class will be led by Arthur Haines and is limited to 6 students.  This is an outdoor class, so be prepared for whatever weather occurs (without foraging, we don't eat) and uneven and/or rocky ground.  Bring footwear for uneven ground.  Camping is available on site.  The price of the class is $375.00.  If you are interested in enrolling for this class, please contact Maine Primitive Skills School by calling (207)-623-7298, emailing mpss@gwi.net, or visiting www.primitiveskills.com/survival-course-reg.html.

 

Spring Foraging

17 May 2014  ***This class if full and registrations are no longer being accepted***

(Offered in conjunction with the NOFA-NH Herbal Network)

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 footsteps of Euell Gibbons and see how wonderful it feels to gather our 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, with a focus on greens and shoots.  Seasonal differences will be discussed and preparation techniques for the different plant parts examined.  This class will be offered from noon to 3:00 pm in Lee, NH, at the Misty Meadows Farm and Herbal Center.  The tuition is $40.00 (a 20% discount is offered to NOFA-NH members).  The event will be restricted to 20 participants.  Students should come prepared for the elements and uneven ground.  Email nhhn@nofanh.org or call 603-340-5161 to enroll for this class or visit www.nofanh.org to register online.

 

From Tree to Table:  Gathering and Processing Acorns for Food

18 May 2014  ***This class if full and registrations are no longer being accepted***

(Offered in conjunction with the NOFA-NH Herbal Network)

The fruit of the oak tree has been used as an important staple by aboriginal people across North America. The people of each region had their preferred species and detailed methods of collecting, storing, and processing the acorns for use in different types of dishes. Although rarely eaten today, oak trees still produce large numbers of fruits in many years and represent an under-utilized food source. Given their nutritional profile, low glycemic index value, and ability to be stored for long periods, acorns make a wonderful wild food that can be enjoyed throughout the year. Further, New England is blessed with a number of oak species that produce large acorns. This class will introduce students to methods of preparing them for food (primitive and contemporary methods will be mentioned). Some of the important details concerning acorn collection will also be noted. Discussion will include some life history strategies of the oaks that are relevant to foragers and some important myths found in wild food literature. A freshly made acorn food will be enjoyed at the end of the class.  This class will be offered from noon to 4:00 pm in Lee, NH, at the Misty Meadows Farm and Herbal Center.  The tuition is $40.00 (a 20% discount is offered to NOFA-NH members).  The event will be restricted to 20 participants.  Students should come prepared for the elements and uneven ground. Email nhhn@nofanh.org or call 603-340-5161 to enroll for this class or visit www.nofanh.org to register online.

 

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 mpss@gwi.net, or visiting www.primitiveskills.com/survival-course-reg.html.

 

Tumbledown Mountain Foray

 27 July 2014

(Offered in conjunction with the New England Wild Flower Society)

Tumbledown Mountain is a rugged peak near the village of Weld in western Maine.  Its outline is impressive due to three bald peaks and two south-facing cliffs over 200 meters high.  In addition to its stunning views, Tumbledown Mountain holds a high elevation pond between two of its peaks.  Perhaps the best part of the mountain:  all of this ruggedness is accessible via an approximately two-mile trail that avoids all steep climbing and scrambling.  Participants on this field trip (weather allowing) will be guided through several different ecosystems, including the open peaks that harbor a special subalpine flora and species of conservation concern.  This will not be exclusively a plant identification field trip (though that will be one focus on the day), birding, edible plants and medicinal plants, and geology will all be on the docket for the day.  Tumbledown Mountain is well known as a great birding location and has been a peregrine falcon eyrie in recent years.  It is also one of only a handful of locations to observe Paronychia argyrocoma (silvery whitlow-wort) in the state.  In addition to all of this, it supports many useful plants that are enjoyable to gather and benefit our health.  Join Research Botanist Arthur Haines, who lived two months near the summit of Tumbledown Mountain releasing peregrine falcons, for a naturalist’s and forager’s view of this very special mountain.  As the ground is uneven and mountain weather is fickle, proper footwear and clothing is necessary.  Participants will need to bring their own lunch and water (several wild water sources are available during the course of the day), hand lens for viewing plants, and binoculars (if desired) for birding.  The trip will run from 10:00 am to approximately 4:00 pm and is limited to 14 participants.  The price is 40.00 dollars for non-members and 33.00 dollars for members (of the NEWFS).  If you are interested in enrolling for this class, call 508-877-7630 extension 3303 or email lreed@newenglandwild.org.

 

Wildcrafting Herbal Medicine

1–3 August 2014

(Offered in conjunction with the Maine Primitive Skills School)

Coping with and recovering from illness, injury, and debility has always been part of being human.  And for these complaints, plants have served as the major source of medicine.  This class will examine the use of wild plants, fungi, and lichens for healing sickness and injury and supporting the body. Students will learn a suite of species that grow in New England that can be used for many common ailments, such as colds, infections, gastrointestinal upset, headaches, dermatitis, insomnia, etc.  The species discussed on this day will mainly be those that have modern study corroborating indigenous use.  Methods of collecting will be discussed, as well as directions for making various types of medicine (e.g., infusions, decoctions, poultices, tinctures, double extractions).  A double extraction of a wild-collected mushroom (such as chaga, hemlock reishi, or turkeytail) will be prepared during this class and students will leave with this medicine that can be used for bolstering immune system function, as a powerful antioxidant, killing viral pathogens, and fighting cancer.  Throughout the day, stories and examples will be shared demonstrating how plant-based medicines have preserved life and influenced aboriginal and contemporary people.  Healing with plants provides people and families with another avenue of self-sufficiency and furthers connection to the landscape.  The class will be taught by Arthur Haines (who personally uses plants, fungi, and lichens for all medicinal needs).  Class will be offered at the Delta Institute of Natural History in Canton, ME (click here if you need directions) and run from 6:00 pm Friday to approximately 12:00 pm Sunday.  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 may be visited off site so please be prepared to carpool short distances from the property.  Bring footwear for uneven ground, and proper clothing for whatever the weather may be on that day.  Camping is available on site.  Price is $375.00 and class is limited to 10 students.  If you are interested in enrolling for this class, please contact Maine Primitive Skills School by calling (207)-623-7298, emailing mpss@gwi.net, or visiting www.primitiveskills.com/survival-course-reg.html.

 

Edible and Medicinal Plants of Marthas Vineyard

20 September 2014

(Offered in conjunction with the Polly Hill Arboretum)

Come learn to see and gather wild plant foods and medicines in the early fall season.  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.  They also provide us with many effective medicines that can be conscientiously gathered free of charge from the areas around our homes.  Participants will spend time on the Polly Hill Arboretum grounds learning to identify and sample various wild food and medicine plants.  Come prepared for the elements, as this class will be spent outside.  This class will be offered from noon to 1:00 to 3:00 pm at Polly Hill Arboretum, West Tisbury, MA (Marthas Vineyard).  The tuition is $25.00 ($15.00 for Polly Hill Arboretum members).  People interested in registering for this class should contact Karin Stanley via phone (508-693-9426) or email:  karin@pollyhillarboretum.org.

 

From Tree to Table:  Gathering and Processing Acorns for Food

21 September 2014

(Offered in conjunction with the Polly Hill Arboretum)

The fruit of the oak tree has been used as an important staple by aboriginal people across North America. The people of each region had their preferred species and detailed methods of collecting, storing, and processing the acorns for use in different types of dishes. Although rarely eaten today, oak trees still produce large numbers of fruits in many years and represent an under-utilized food source. Given their nutritional profile, low glycemic index value, and ability to be stored for long periods, acorns make a wonderful wild food that can be enjoyed throughout the year. Further, New England is blessed with a number of oak species that produce large acorns. This class will introduce students to methods of preparing them for food (primitive and contemporary methods will be mentioned). Some of the important details concerning acorn collection will also be noted. Discussion will include some life history strategies of the oaks that are relevant to foragers and some important myths found in wild food literature. A freshly made acorn food will be enjoyed at the end of the class.  This class will be offered from noon to 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm at Polly Hill Arboretum, West Tisbury, MA (Marthas Vineyard).  The tuition is $45.00 ($35.00 for Polly Hill Arboretum members).  People interested in registering for this class should contact Karin Stanley via phone (508-693-9426) or email:  karin@pollyhillarboretum.org.

 

Fall Foraging

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.  Bring footwear for uneven ground, and proper clothing for whatever the weather may be on that day.  Camping is available on site.  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.