The Kenya Expedition

The Kenya Expedition


By Marcus Reynerson –

Anake Outdoor School Coordinator, Anake Grad ’06, and Way Leads to Way Instructor


As I sat in the high desert of southern California wrapping up the Anake Outdoor School California expedition in February, I was struck by the beautiful relationship that has developed between two villages over 8 years with our sister organization, Quail Springs Permaculture Farm, north of Santa Barbara. I have seen connection created – and culture build – over time as the way in which our two communities engage deepens. Thankfully, reciprocal connection with people and place is no longer a fringe thing – communities are building it across the continent now. What would happen if more communities connected in this way?

10352292_10153021715448943_7658595653076002777_nLast July, these questions lead Wilderness Awareness School (WAS) from arid lands of California to arid lands across the globe. WAS pursued this cultural exchange in Ingwe’s childhood homeland in the Rift Valley of Kenya. What’s more, WAS saw a long-desired opportunity to support Anake graduates’ work in these efforts by partnering with Kirkland-based Way Leads to Way Expeditions (WL2W). Founded by Brent Coyle (Anake Graduate ’04) and co-staffed by Casey McFarland (Anake ’02) and myself (Anake ’06), WL2W has strong friendship with a community of Maasai people in southern Kenya. Musa Seno, WL2W Kenya coordinator, was born and raised in a small Maasai village called Suswa, located in the Rift Valley, and comes from a long line of traditional leaders. Ingwe was raised outside of Nairobi in and around the Rift Valley where his deep love for the African wilderness and the tribal spirit he encountered there guided Wilderness Awareness School’s vision. With this in mind, the trajectory of this trip was guided by two main intentions: 1) to explore the natural and cultural history of an amazing country and, 2) to build authentic connection to a wonderful community of people.

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Upon driving away from arrivals at Nairobi Airport, our group was immediately welcomed by a small herd of Giraffes in adjacent Nairobi National Park. Amazing and epic wildlife encounters only increased from there as we made our way to Amboseli National Park where we had the fortune to spend some amazing dirt time following the tracks and trails of numerous species: Giraffe, Mongoose, Hyena (Spotted and Striped), Zebra, and Baboon to name a few. The birding was off the hook with ridiculously colored and feathered jewels flitting passed us constantly (so many different Kingfishers! and Bee Eaters!). With Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background we measured the strides of Elephant, we watched Cape Buffalo and Wildebeest roam, and we tracked myriad species of Antelope.

After a potent naturalist introduction to the land, we then we landed in Suswa located in the Great Rift Valley. While this country was nothing short of heaven for the curious naturalist and tracker, both WAS and WL2W place high value on not simply “consuming an experience”, but creating an opportunity to give as well. Students certainly walked away from this trip with new knowledge and insight, but the true gold in this experience was found in cultural exchange and reciprocity. During last summer’s expedition, we started the groundwork for a project aiming to reduce air pollution in Maasai houses, or Inkajijiks. Our hosts have long noticed that cooking fires – a staple of Maasai tradition – along with poor ventilation, contributes to intense indoor air pollution and chronic respiratory ailments. With the Suswa community’s oversight, we are hoping to make stoves available in the future that will reduce pollution while also maintaining the customs and traditions in which the Maasai cook. If the reflections from our hosts and from our students were any indication, this truly was an exchange between two villages. After a day of helping herd livestock, learning how to cook Ugali, learning about edible and medicinal plants, or getting a first hand look at how HIV is affecting the Maasai, I’ll forever remember sitting around a fire in the evenings and trading stories with an amazing group of people that we’ve come to call friends.


Our last evening in Suswa

Our last evening in Suswa

Ending our 16-day trip, there was a feeling that any Anake graduate might recognize. We stood in a circle. Appreciations were shared.  Reflections were spoken. The Elders spoke last. They sent us on our way with blessings for health and safety. We were 10,000 miles away from Duvall, taking part in a simple ritual – one that these Maasai still value as a universal human experience. Upon leaving, the village elder, Joshua Seno – a man whom killed a lion with a spear identical to the one hanging on the Cedar Lodge hearth – spoke to us in Kimaasai with a salutation. His son translated: “Thank you for coming here.  Know that this place is always your home now, and we hope that you return soon. You are family now.” Just like the fires of village we are tending here at home, we are kindling another flame with a village across an ocean.  While WAS will not officially be running the expedition with WL2W this summer, we are excited to support our graduates’ work into the future and see connections that build from this.

WL2W Participants checking out a Hippo dust bath

WL2W Participants checking out a Hippo dust bath

Stay connected to the work that Way Leads to Way is doing in Kenya - www.wayleadstoway.com


Registration for the 2015 Kenya Expedition this July is now open!

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More than a Certification

More than a Certification

By: Luke Kantola

It’s been nearly nine months since I finished the Anake Outdoor School program. The dust has continued to settle and my perspective on the experience has broadened a lot. I’ve had some pretty wild encounters with the natural world since finishing the program that I never would have had access to had it not been for my time spent at the Wilderness Awareness School.

Growing up I spent every summer playing in my grandmother’s backyard in Idaho. I had no idea that I could track wolves just by walking out her backdoor until this winter when I trailed a pack of wolves for miles across the snowy hills behind her home. My connection to that place where I have so many cherished childhood memories has amplified greatly since returning with a new lens to view the landscape through. I spent countless hours this winter trailing deer, elk, raccoon and fox. Their stories and the answers to countless mysteries have literally been written on the ground by their tracks and sign my whole life. I just needed to learn how to see it.


It was bird language that originally got me to apply to the Wilderness Awareness School over other programs, and since graduating I’ve been able to seek out predatory animals just by what the birds are saying. I was sitting in the woods early this fall and heard a mob of Stellar’s Jays off in the canopy. They sounded distressed and I decided that their anxiety was enough to get me out of my comfy seat. I followed their cries right to a Barred owl who was actively hunting the squirrels in the maple trees. It was so beautiful to watch the squirrels seemingly play hide-and-seek with this menacing predator, and I never would have seen this dance with death without being tuned in to what the birds were saying!



I think it is fair to say that someone applying to Anake can expect to be able to do things like this upon graduating. Anake teaches primitive skills and the arts of tracking, bird language and plant medicine. This much is true, but this is not all that Anake has to offer. By drawing on the individual strengths of the students, staff and apprentices.


 When next years Anake class arrives for the first day of class next year there will be people from all over the world who have come to the same place for a nine-month journey. The people will have stories, and past experiences. They will have gifts and they will have wounds. They will have enlivening and difficult lessons to teach each other, and Anake knows how to hold that. It will be wild and the unexpected will occur. All the time. It will be painful and difficult. It will be exhilarating and maybe a little boring at times. But the people who show up will be in it together, and they will be expected to hold one another up when times are tough and to allow themselves to be held in turn


I came to Anake to learn about the natural world and I got those experiences. I’ve followed bird alarms to animals I have never seen before. Multiple times. I’ve unraveled mysteries by reading the tracks on the ground. I’ve felt what it is like to make a fire from the land when my friends are cold and we need to boil water. These are amazing experiences and capabilities that can’t be quantified or have a monetary value placed upon them, but I think the threads of Anake that are most alive in me today are the ones that I didn’t even know were waiting for me in Duvall. Those threads came from all over the world and they were people.


My Little Friend With The Little Teeth

My Little Friend With The Little Teeth

by Rachel Shopper

Oh, I really hope it will be there.  Fingers crossed.  I am walking home from class, rounding the edge of the house.  My feet crunch on the gravel driveway, which, dry for most of this past week, is now saturated with winter rain.  My eyes scan the gravel as I hold my breath, hoping to find…a squashed, desiccated rodent body!

Hallelujah!  It’s still there.  It’s been dead for about a week and a half, and today it is a shadow of its former corpse.  Though not totally rotting, its jaw is broken and it has obviously been run over by a car at least once.  I’ve probably stepped on it in the dark.

I grab a stick, squat down, and carefully pry open its jaw.  I dig around until I reveal several small, gleaming white teeth.  “Aha!” I cry out, victorious at last.

What was it, exactly, that led me to this driveway, squatting in the rain, gleefully inspecting a torn-up animal body as though I had just discovered the Rosetta Stone?

Maybe it began one day a week and a half ago, as I was walking across the driveway.  I noticed the creature, and bent down to inspect it.  It was a tiny rodent about the size of a baby’s foot, with dark grey fur and little white hands with little white claws.  It had a rounded, rather long snout, and a tail that was thinly spiked with more dark grey fur.


I told a friend about it that afternoon.  “I think it’s a mole”, I said.  I opened up a guidebook and found a picture of it.  “Yes, that’s just what it looked like!  I knew it was a mole!”  And then I read the caption underneath the picture, which read, “Shrew Mole”.  The shrew mole looks much like a shrew, except for its mole-like hands.  It lives in the forest and burrows shallow tunnels through leaf debris and forest loam.  Unlike the solitary mole, shrew-moles live in loosely associate groups of up to a dozen.

The first few days of having found the shrew mole, I was careful to step around it, and even found myself saying, why, hello little shrew mole! in my head as I walked past it.  You see, one of the maddening things about studying mammals is that it is rare to actually see them in real life.  This shrew mole was an enormous gift to me in that it allowed me to get a much more real sense of the animal than a guidebook ever can.

After a few days, I began to pretty much ignore my shrew mole friend.  Eventually I didn’t even try to avoid stepping on it, seeing as it was now flattened to the driveway.  Life moves on and our sense of novelty can fade so easily.

And then, today, we studied animal skulls in class.  We got to inspect and handle a large variety of skulls, examining different bones and what the morphology might tell us about how a creature lives its life.  The largest skull we saw was a black bear’s.  If I held it up to my face, sideways like a telephone, it was almost as big as my own head.  The tiniest skull had a brain case that was so thin it was translucent.  There were small spaces for the eyes, and a crooked snout with funny reddish brown-stained teeth.  This was a shrew, and I learned that shrews have venomous saliva, and it is this saliva which stains the teeth.  This is one of the ways a person might distinguish a shrew skull from a mole skull.skuls

So does a shrew-mole have venomous saliva, I wondered?  Fortunately, I had a way to discover the answer first-hand!  It would appear, from the lovely white teeth in my shrew-mole’s jaw, that there is no venom.  This makes sense, as the shrew-mole is classified within the mole family and not the shrew family.

Squatting down in the driveway, poking stick in hand, I think how you might trace the inspiration for this moment back to the day I found the shrew mole, but I believe it began much, much earlier.  And anyway, it doesn’t matter when or from where our passions spring up, but just that we keep them alive, poking into the world and digging around with big goofy grins on our faces.



Moskowitz, David. Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest: Tracking and Identifying Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates. Portland, Or.: Timber, 2010. Print.

CC Image courtesy of hradcanska on Flckr


Shelter AfterGalleries

Looking Back

Looking Back

by David Wolbrecht
The Fall term of Anake has ended. As I draft this, winter solstice just past and the New Year is quickly approaching. There is a dying back of many plants and a slowing of activity on the landscape. It requires more effort to be outside, and it seems there is less to be done. I take cold hikes in solitude, finding the occasional frozen bobcat or coyote track. I nestle in my yurt, savoring the warmth of wool and tea, crafting and reading through the hours of this winter break.



Recognized in many cultures, this time of year seems fit for focus on introspection, of looking inwards towards one’s inner landscape, and I turn and reflect back on the last three months that consist of the first third of my Anake year. Skills and songs, projects and observations, stories and explorations – it is hard for me to sum up my experience thus far. I am changed, and I have grown, but how? Does the cedar recognize the formation of each ring within itself? Or does it take the tempering quench of time to allow it to see it’s own growth?

I remember a conversation I had with a friend of mine back in August. She was curious about my interest in attending this program. Very curious, she asked earnestly, “what’s the point, why learn this?” We’d been talking about friction fires, but I believe her question extends to primitive water purification, survival shelter making, tracking. It’s a fair question, and she genuinely wanted to understand.

rock bacon

rock bacon

I tried to describe this desire in me to connect with nature, with the ancestral human experience, and to be prepared for some sort of emergency scenario. Although true and real for me to some extent, these answers felt hollow to my friend, and to me. Yet I didn’t know how else to speak of this subtle and powerful draw I had to shift my pattern of living and learn some of the skills and practices that Anake covers.

A belted kingfisher screeches across the pond, and I’m brought back to the present. I look over what I’ve learned, done, and made these past few months, and, if I were to answer my friend again, I’d say that I wanted to seek out a bit of humility about how vulnerable contemporary Western humans are when we’re taken out of our industrial systems. I wanted to understand on an experiential level that there is much of our basic survival and day to day living that we take utterly for granted. I flip a switch, and there is light and heat. I open the fridge, and there is unspoilt food. I turn on the faucet, and there is clean water. Before coming to Anake, I didn’t truly respect the ease with which the majority of us live in Western society. Now I have an appreciation for these marvels of the mundane that comes from living the effort involved in replacing them with handmade versions, if only for a day.

Beyond deep gratitude to the complex conveniences of contemporary society, there is still more to my revised answer to my friend. The fact is, I might never build a debris shelter as my only way to stay dry and warm at night. I might never forage for food as my only sustenance. I might never purify my own water by heating rocks in a fire that I built by hand by rubbing sticks together, that are then dropped into a large bowl made of a log of a tree I chopped down with stone tools I made by smashing rocks together that was then slowly burned out to make a container for my water. My hope is that I won’t need to use these skills in a situation in which my life literally depends on it. But simply knowing that I am able to do so, and that I have done so before, provides me with a little deeper of an internal reservoir of resilience, of resolve.I now know, experientially, that I can take care of my most basic needs (at least on a short-term basis).

Shelter Before

Shelter Before

It’s hard to put into words, but this knowing has shifted the way I trust myself. It’s changed the way I face the daily challenges and struggles that life brings. I feel deeper and breath slower. I see more and walk softer. I feel more patient, more caring, more curious. Becoming acquainted with the extent of my own vulnerability has allowed me to be more vulnerable with friends, family, and strangers.

In short, I’ve become more courageously me.

For this, and the kingfisher who brings me back to the present again and again, I am grateful.

Photos by Rachel Tomczek


Tending the wild, tending ourselves

Tending the wild, tending ourselves

by David Wolbrecht

Despite an unseasonal cold snap, I was excited to get my bundled hands dirty. It was land stewardship day, and, not quite knowing what to expect, our Anake class huddled around a roaring fire listening to a poetic story by the school’s land manager, Andy Franjevic. I was eager to get going and sweat, but Andy started his talk by inviting us to slow down to the speed of the land, to imagine the geologic and glacial influences that literally shaped Linne Doran, the name for Wilderness Awareness School’s campus. Not what I was expecting, but… (deep breath)

Eyes closed and envisioning the near-mile of ice that once covered the spot where I sat, I felt my mood and energy shift. With Andy’s invitation, I immediately became more relaxed, more contemplative, more connected, and I sensed a similar shift in the rest of my Anake class. For a subsequent two hours, whose duration simultaneously felt shorter yet fuller than two hours could contain, Andy recounted a portion of the natural and cultural history of the Snoqualmie Valley, Duvall, and Linne Doran. We learned how the native peoples of this land, the Snoqualmie and Skykomish, among others, had actively cared for the land upon which we now stood, had been doing so for countless generations, and, indeed, still do to this day.

During his sharing, Andy demonstrated that he was the holder of the two hundred year vision for the school’s land, a vision that resides only in the dynamic forms of ideas and speech. To look ahead two hundred years with appropriate respect and humility requires a thorough grasp of the previous two hundred, and it was this period of time that Andy emphasized in his story that morning. Sprinkling in anecdotes from historians and anthropologists, Andy shared a sliver of the complex wild-tending that the first peoples had enacted repeatedly during each seasonal rounding. This gave us a glimpse of how humans had lived in productive reciprocity with the land for thousands of years.

I admit, I was enraptured by Andy’s story of this place. I figured it was because I am a Pacific Northwest local and have a keen interest in the cultural and natural history of this place in which I grew up. However, after reflecting on the story with some classmates, it seemed that most were similarly captivated.

It was with this sense of historically contextualized humility that we transitioned into actively caring for Linne Doran. We split up into our learning groups, and each were led to their group’s site on the land. Throughout the cold and clear day, my group selected specific locations a few serviceberry shrubs, dug their holes, and transplanted them from the school’s plant nursery. Our group was led by one of our apprentices, Brock, who shared that his learning group had tended this same clearing during his time in Anake. And Brock’s learning group, two years prior, was led by an apprentice who had also tended the same clearing. In this way, my group became part of a tradition within the Anake program.

Surrounded by towering big leaf maple, western hemlock, douglas fir, and western red cedar trees, I couldn’t help but feel humbled and honored to be a part of a developing lineage of wild-tending naturalists. Although my part in this land’s care is as of yet quite small, I nonetheless feel gladdened that my hard work will undoubtedly feed the resident deer, perhaps some towhee, and, hopefully, a budding naturalist who, like me, grew up relatively disconnected from the natural world. If, in picking that wild serviceberry, tasting its sweetness, and wondering about the plant that produced it, that human’s relationship to the natural world has even a slight shift towards connectedness, then my work on stewardship day will have served the noble purpose of helping rekindle the awareness of humanity’s intimate reliance upon more-than-human nature.

In reflecting on that day of land tending, in which we helped shape the future experience of human and non-human animals for (hopefully) generations, I’m reminded of one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver. I’ve included an excerpt from her poem, In Blackwater Woods, which I feel captures some of what I learned that day:

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.



To be lost is the first step in being found

Aidless Navigation

We began the day by getting lost. Well…not exactly. We began the day by discovering how lost we could get. Each of us stood alone on the edge of a forest path, looking into the dense and unchanging expanse of Douglas fir trees, sword ferns, and salmonberry bushes. We each walked 100 paces straight into the woods. Then, we turned around and walked straight back to the path.

But not exactly. While some of us did return to the place where we started, many of us did not.

Walking in a straight line, it turns out, is not easy. Most people have a dominant foot, and this causes them to walk in an arc. When it is overcast, as it so often is here, it can throw off your sense of direction. And, in many reforested landscapes, everywhere looks the same.

Eventually, we all found our way back to the path, and then we learned some techniques for aidless navigation; that is, finding your way without a topo map and compass. Navigating by landforms, trailblazing and leaving markers, and using celestial bodies are among the ways you can orient yourself on the landscape. Another method is story lining.

Many indigenous cultures code maps into stories, with notable landforms serving as important events or characters in the story. These “big stories” not only help people navigate the landscape, they also provide a schematic of reality into which people can fit their lives, and so feel a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves. These stories reveal themselves in layers, and give instructions and wisdom on many practical, social, and spiritual aspects of a person’s life.  We broke up into our clans, set with the task of creating a story line on the land, which we would then give to another group to follow.

My clan chose a character and a starting point, and then we walked down the path and observed notable land features. We tried work these features into the plot of the story. As we worked, I felt frustrated and miserable. The story was not big enough. It didn’t ask or answer profound human questions. It didn’t have mythic layers of cause and effect. And everyone had different ideas.

After trying to participate for about twenty minutes, I confessed my frustration to my clan. I told them that the activity was not engaging my creative process and I did not feel connected to the story we had been crafting. And I didn’t know how to fix that. Everyone listened to me and appreciated my honesty. They didn’t try to fix the situation. They allowed me to be frustrated and unsatisfied. And I was grateful.

In twenty minutes, we didn’t create a multi-dimensional mythology upon which to base my life purpose, yearly rituals, map of my landscape, and initiation into different archetypal phases of life. Instead I learned a little more about my relationship with perfection. I learned about how difficult it can be to do creative work in a group. I learned that my clan is willing to support and respect me when our group process isn’t working for me. And I gained a whole bunch of respect for the cultures that wrote big stories, and the time it must have taken them to do so.


*For further reading on story lines, check out Spell of the Sensuous by David Abrams and Stealing Benefacio’s Roses by Martín Prechtel*

We’re a Golden Teddy favorite for kids and families!

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Thank you for voting for us!

ParentMap, the award-winning parenting magazine and website, has surveyed its readers on the best businesses and resources for kids and families in the Puget Sound. We were voted as:

2014 GOLDEN TEDDY AWARD WINNER for nature/environmental camp

for the 4th YEAR IN A ROW!

We were also a finalist for Best Overnight Camp for the second year in a row!

We still have some weeks with space in these award winning camps!

Click here for more information.

Thanks to everyone for your votes and your continued support!

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Walking Confidently

Walking Confidently

Drew Duckworth

What a journey the past nine months has been! It seems to have flown by, yet it is wild to look back and think about all that was packed into the year. As I pack up my car to return to the East Coast, I look forward to the reflection time I will have with the long hours on the road. So much has happened, is happening, and (I trust) will happen because of the experiences I had at the Anake Outdoor School and I am grateful for the lessons, challenges, and opportunities provided through the experience as well.

I have already been asked many times, “What did you get from the program?” I find myself struggling to simplify my response into an answer any unassuming questioner might be able to grasp. With how diverse the course was I found it impossible to specialize and develop expert skills in every core area. It did, however, open many doors and provide glimpses into them along with advice on how to navigate the path that unfolded beyond my beginners’ nearsightedness. Even with my lack of expertise in most areas, I still recognize the immense growth I have accumulated in all areas of our studies. So how can I sum all that up in an understandable answer?

The truth is I gained so much from the course, both tangible and intangible. I learned many new primitive and survival skills, practiced communication and leadership techniques, engaged in a supportive community, witnessed growth in myself and others, experienced rites of passage, and so much more. With all that I am walking away with, I would have to say the most fulfilling, and also the easiest way to sum it all up and easily answer that loaded question, is the strong sense of belonging I now have.

Of all the plants, trees, mammals, birds, and landscapes I interacted with these past nine months, the one specie I came to know and understand most deeply was myself. No matter what landscape I may be in, what animals are around me, or how the pace of life is moving, I will always be the one constant, and being able to have awareness of that I will be able to ground myself in any familiar or unfamiliar environment.

With all the doors that are now open, I am in the process of reviewing which ones I really am interested in stepping through. Is it tracking or bird language I really want to immerse myself in? What Core Routines were the most powerful for me and how do I incorporate them into my life moving forward? There are many questions and the answers are unfolding at different speeds.

As I stay aware of the questions, answers, and uncertainties I have, I know I can rely on the sense of belonging I have come to recognize in myself as I move forward. Anake gave me the experience and tools to develop this understanding and with it I am able to walk confidently into whatever the next steps may bring.



Torin’s Story

Dear Friend of Wilderness Awareness School,

Recently I came across a story that stopped me in my tracks – a story that would not have been possible without the support of compassionate donors.

At the age of seven, Torin was diagnosed with a high grade malignant brain tumor. The treatment he received at Seattle Children’s Hospital saved his life, but also took a toll. When he finished radiation and chemotherapy he was unable to walk independently and struggled with chronic fatigue. Throughout the rest of the spring and into the summer, one of the goals he worked toward was to be able to attend Wilderness Awareness camp as he had in the past.

He was beautifully accommodated by the staff, volunteers and other children. When the walking proved to be too much and the kids voiced that they did not want their group to split up, the staff suggested a wagon for Torin which the group decorated with leaves and branches.


After months of hospital walls, Torin was surrounded by trees.  The beeping of vital sign monitors was replaced by birds.

Not only was Torin included, he received a generous scholarship which helped with a budget stretched thin by the months of my being unable to work as I cared for him.

Torin continues to look forward to Wilderness Awareness Camp every summer. Each year he walks farther, participates more in the games, and makes new friends through team building exercises that help each child see themselves as members of a strong and vital community.  

I’m no different than parents of kids who have not had a medicalized childhood.  We see the value in getting them away from technology screens and confined spaces and into the natural world. Wilderness Awareness School makes that goal so much easier to attain.

—       Lisa Petke, mother of Torin

I am touched on many different levels by this story – the healing power of nature; how nature is a great equalizer that encourages inclusiveness and acceptance of diversity; how nature is the perfect context for mentoring and learning; how Torin would not have been able to have this experience without the support of compassionate donors.

Time in nature is not only greatly beneficial for kids like Torin, but for ALL kids.

Ingwe, our co-founder, had a dream that kids of all ages would have the opportunity to develop a strong connection to the natural world. In his honor, the proceeds of our spring Get Outside campaign will go to the Ingwe Memorial Scholarship Fund.

For our spring Get Outside Campaign, we are excited to offer

two ways to Grow your Gift!


Portrait---at-Ellen's_webGlendora Trescher, a spry 95-year-old, has been a loyal and passionate supporter of the school’s mission for over 12 years. She wants to inspire NEWpeople to discover the joy of giving to such a wonderful vision.

Glendora is offering a matching gift of up to $10,000 for all NEW donors!

Every dollar you give will be matched by Glendora!


TSF_GiveBig_logo_DATE_BLKA second way to grow your gift is to join us on May 6th for giveBIG, The Seattle Foundation’s one-day event where all gifts will be stretched matched.

Please mark your calendars for May 6th!

Last year we gave over $75,000 in scholarships. Please join Glendora for a matching gift or join us on May 6th for giveBIG and help make Ingwe’s dream come to life.

With Gratitude,

Warren Moon
Executive Director
Wilderness Awareness School



Eastside Walkabout

Eastside Walkabout

 By: Drew Duckworth

            The reality of our end of the year survival trip seems to sink in a little more with each day we get closer to it. At the beginning of the year it was easy to put off and justify any worry with noting how much preparation, practice, and skill development I would have throughout the school year. Now, as we head over to the East side of the Cascades for a class field trip with just over a month left before the survival trip it is hard to put the worry aside and is a great time to push my edges and see how I respond in a mock survival situation.

With former Anake Instructor, Lindsay Huettman, joining us our class split into passion-based learning groups for the week. About a third of the class, myself included, joined Lindsay who was leading an overnight mock survival walkabout on the land. Our plan was to go light, focus on specific edges each of us decided to push, eat off the land, practice our survival skills, and hike a loop through the canyon and back to base camp.

Before we set out with our light loads on our backs and harvesting bag around our shoulders, we circled up to set our intentions for the walkabout. Common themes of survival trip prep, eating off the land, pushing edges of minimal food and enduring the cold without shelter echoed throughout the group. Along with these themes, each individual seemed to have an even deeper, personal reason for choosing this activity for their weekly immersion. My intention, knowing I will be leaving the WAS community after graduation in June, was to mark this week and commit to a full and deep immersion in the Anake program and culture in my remaining one and a half months.

As we started out up canyon, Lindsay’s knowledge of the wild edibles shined through and we all began filling our harvesting bags with nettle leaves, grass stalks, mustard leaves, salmon berry flowers, and much more. A real treat came at our first water filling break when a few members of our group found the stream filled with crayfish. Efficient in their harvesting they collected fourteen, enough for each member of our group to enjoy one at our mealtime. As our stomachs shrank, our pace slowed and we eased into our campsite along the creek just as the clouds above began to threaten rain.

After a short rest it was back to work, this time setting up our bedding site and shelter for the night. We opted for debris beds and set off collecting endless amounts of debris that never seemed to amount to enough for thorough protection from the conduction of the ground and possible condensation from above. After another short rest we split up for the last of our foraging for our dinner stew.

Half of us went up to harvest bitter roots while the other half stayed back around camp for nearby nettles and a protein surprise. As we hiked up, we flushed a turkey from her nest and reveled in what a wonderful, uplifting spirit a turkey would bring to a group in a survival situation. After an ethically challenging conversation we left the seven eggs and turkey behind and continued on our search of roots. Upon returning back, we learned the other group had an encounter with another wild animal, a gopher snake. It was a nice surprise to return to a protein packed addition to our stew for the evening.

As we sat around the fire cooking our day’s harvest we had an opportunity to reflect on the day. I was surprised with how survival does not need to be a miserable experience to get through. Rather, I experienced a joyful day with (mostly) high spirits.  It was incredibly satisfying and empowering to walk through the landscape and know what plants are edible and to take it a step further and actually eat those plants. After expressing our gratefulness for the plants that would sustain us through the night and for the hike back to camp the next day we enjoyed our stew as we passed the pot around. Enjoying my first meal from the land I relaxed as the hot liquid warmed my body and soul and my worries of survival week slowly drifted off.