About Wilderness Awareness School

Wilderness Awareness School has given me a new spirit of hope for the earth as well as a deep appreciation for my own gifts and the gifts of those around me. -Beth Hood


Wilderness Awareness School is a national not-for-profit environmental education organization established in 1983 and based in Duvall, Washington. We are dedicated to caring for the earth and our children by fostering understanding and appreciation of nature, community and self.

Our dynamic wilderness education courses combine ancient and modern ecological wisdom, and empower people of all ages to become stewards, mentors and leaders. Over the past two decades, Wilderness Awareness School has grown from a small group of visionary individuals to a leading national organization impacting the course of nature education, and inspiring many schools and individuals across the country and the world to share our teachings and curriculum.

Our mentoring approach honors individuality, encourages self-sufficiency in learning, and awakens a kinship with nature as it trains youth and adults to blend the awareness of a native tracker with the knowledge of a wildlife biologist. Our wilderness education courses draw on traditions from indigenous cultures world-wide, emphasizing nature as teacher, routines to enhance awareness, storytelling, self-motivated learning, and tracking as an interpretive tool.

Wilderness Awareness School’s ongoing intensive mentoring courses for youth and adults as well as our home-study naturalist training courses provide opportunities for ongoing study of the natural world that allow nature education to be a part of daily life, rather than an isolated event.

Our Vision

Our vision is to reach out with our teachings until there’s a related nature awareness school in every region, a mentor in every neighborhood, a naturalist in every family and compassion for each other and the earth in every heart.

Our Core Values

Wilderness Awareness School conducts business and educates students rooted in these core values.

In all our interactions, we strive to begin with thanksgiving, to cultivate peace in ourselves, to appreciate what others share, and to communicate honestly and clearly. When we act through peace and appreciation, we can come together to make decisions with the strength of unity for the good of our communities. In this way, we steward the earth and our children toward peace and well-being of body, mind, and spirit.

Connecting with nature awakens a health and vitality that helps us discover our own gifts and talents. As mentors we cultivate this personal relationship with nature, appreciate and empower discovery of these gifts, and nurture their expression. When we use our gifts in service to community, we are filled with passionate aliveness—a sparkle in the eye that is visible to everyone.

We use “Coyote Mentoring” and “The Eight Shields Model” to engage people in place-based education to deepen their relationship with nature. Our curriculum includes naturalist and survival skills, animal tracking, edible and medicinal plants, and interpreting bird language. Our students are immersed in nature, utilizing all of their senses in all seasons and weather. We maintain a low student to teacher ratio to facilitate individual mentoring. By asking skillful questions, we empower students to find their own answers. Nature Mentoring develops stewards, mentors, and leaders who will foster sustainability for both humanity and the earth.

We nurture an ever-deepening awareness of the vital interdependence of nature, community, and self. With this awareness, we learn to honor and appreciate the richness that a diversity of life experiences, ideas, backgrounds, and gifts bring to the whole community. We encourage genuine relationships, work-life balance, service to community, and living in rhythm with nature.