the butterfly counts not months but moments,
and has time enough
What is REWILDING?
Well, that depends on who you ask. The word has several meanings: sometimes it's used to describe the process of reintroducing native wild species of plants or animals to a particular place, from where they may have previously been eradicated; sometimes rewilding is used to describe the process of humans reconnecting with small-scale, bioregional-specific, place-based, regenerative ways of living on a personal level. The term is being contemporarily defined in an ongoing process. If rewilding is not fully the process of undoing and reversing domestication, then it is at least, fundamentally, a process of reconnecting with uncivilized human life ways. Most basically, ecologically, rewilding is the process of encouraging, allowing or assisting regenerative natural growth patterns on the land.
Regardless, there is fathomless wisdom in our species' wild, expansive, varied history and ancestry, and in the act of trusting the regenerative power of natural ecological systems on planet Earth to sustain thriving life. Modernity, certainly, has made considerable industrial developments in attempts to streamline specific systems; ultimately, evolution's wisdom is evident in the utility of wildness: now, cutting-edge theories like permaculture and biodynamics attempt to steer us back to nature. Rewilding, then, may be understood as the process of making humans or land more wild, and also as an umbrella term covering other other place-based movements.
"Maine" is the name given by European colonists to this land, which has been occupied by human beings for at least twelve thousand years. We live here now. Rewilding is concerned with historical wisdom; we will acknowledge the complex colonial history of this land. Since inequality is a product of anti-wild, domesticated industrialism, rewilding is inherently, partly, a social justice movement; Rewild Maine stands in support of native people, and actively seeks to decolonize methodology. Our goal is for a collective, inclusive, ongoing conversation, which must take responsibility for the historical past of this land in order to accept the present, in order to visualize a healthier and more wild future.
Rewilding must be, in part, a process of reconnecting to each other. All of our programs are designed to enhance community between participants. Our classes and workshops are purposefully informal and egalitarian; few of us are truly experts so our focus is to facilitate collective educational praxis in order to work together, support each other and build community. We believe facilitating place-based craft classes, food-systems and earth-focused workshops, skill-shares, regenerative foraging, and communication may synthesize rewilding to practical action. A bit.
Rewild Maine is an educational 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in what is now known as Portland. This is a feeble attempt to contribute to the work of addressing problems wrought on the natural world and uncivilized people by the leviathan of [European] civilized empire. Do we know the history of the land we occupy!? How can we begin to address and possibly heal the damage caused by colonization? What actions may we take, individually and collectively, to claim responsibility for our own existence, and also for others? Where can we go from here? These are important questions and Rewild Maine is committed to sitting inside of them. We welcome feedback and any contribution anyone may want to share. We all need deep healing; we all can always learn more and we all benefit from further connection to nature.
Zachary Rouda, Director / Instructor
I didn’t grow up in the woods and I do not have a lifetime of experience, but I have chosen my path based on my personal conviction that our shared need to develop a connection to the natural world is paramount to the survival of humanity and, conceivably, the living planet. I value open and honest communication and am comfortable giving and receiving feedback. I am committed to continuous learning, teaching and sharing.
I grew up in Washington, DC, and was enamored by performance arts from a young age. I attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and pursued acting in addition to a semi-successful career as a rapper. Gradually I became disillusioned by life in the city, and was increasingly curious about the history of inequality, exploitation and
environmental degradation. I studied anthropology (and theater) at the University of Vermont, attempted and withdrew from a life in New York City for a second time, and finally came to Maine for an apprenticeship at Koviashuvik Local Living School, during 2013 and 2014.
Time spent learning from Chris and Ashirah at Koviashuvik was profoundly reformative. I discovered in small-scale, place-based living skills a genuine joy that had been absent from me throughout my years onstage and inside academic classrooms. From Ashirah and Chris I learned to live in a more positive place; I began focusing more on what I love and wish to create, rather than what I hated, feared and wished to escape from. I couldn’t go back to New York City, or even back home to Washington. I couldn’t go back to the way I had lived before; I could no longer focus my efforts on the shortsighted egoic world of “show business.” I continued to practice what I learned at Koviashuvik after moving to Portland in 2015.
In 2016, at the behest of my neighbors, and with support and encouragement from my friend, Peter Bauer ( founding director of Rewild Portland) I began leading wild-edible-foraging tours and started teaching basket-making classes. I recruited a board of directors to incorporate Rewild Maine as a 501(c)3 educational non-profit in 2017.
I offer this story for you to learn about me, and also to consider: we do not have to stay where we are put. We may give ourselves the freedom to recreate our lives to meet our needs, to replace ourselves where we want to be, to reconnect with our fundamental nature; to rewild. I look forward to meeting you.
Danjo Paluska, Board Member / Instructor
Danjo (Daniel Joseph) Paluska is an artist and educator whose work spans the technological spectrum.
I travel to work on computerized kinetic sculptures with Hypersonic Design and Plebian Design. At home in Union Maine I experiment with small buildings, mud ovens, and various village-scale technologies. I am happy to sing songs and swim in the ocean whenever possible. I have BS, MS, ABD and IBS from MIT and have also studied homesteading and natural building at Stone Soup Institute, Koviashuvik Local Living School, and Fox Maple Natural Building School. I am currently working on a cooperative homestead project with the Farming Artists in Blue Hill.
Every morning when I wake up, I try to remember to say to myself, “I am thankful, I have a life and that is amazing. How can I devote my energy of the day to something positive?” I like to think of myself as a supporting actor, or a member of a life support team. All of my actions, all of my transactions, they support other life.
What kind of life am I supporting? What am I keeping alive? Am I strong enough to be the change I want to see? I’ve been thinking a lot more about plants lately. Fruit trees are something else. I go up to a
fruit tree and I find a tasty piece of food in a convenient biodegradable package. I enjoy this
tasty treat for free and then toss the wrapper and possibly a core on the ground. Or maybe
the seeds pass through me or another animal. There’s a chance some of those seeds might
end up in the ground again. Take some care, find the write spot, have some pay chance,
and… lookie here! Another fruit tree making more treats! Holy moley!!! That is some high
tech wizardy. Clearly I have a lot to learn. I am thankful for that.
Terra Fletcher, Board Member / Volunteer
I grew up in rural New Hampshire and have been excited about wilderness survival skills since age 10. I’ve been an educator of art and science for over 6 and am currently the Exhibits and Visitor Services Associate at the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine.
I completed a falconry apprenticeship, including rehabilitation work with raptors, under Master Falconer Martin Connolly. Now, I am a volunteer transporter for the Center for Wildlife. I moved to Portland in 2016.
I'm passionate about rewilding because it, as a process, helps to
forge a connection with nature that all of us should have. It's empowering to learn and practice these skills, and it fosters a sort of appreciation for even the smallest pieces of wildlife that exist around us. Is that super corny?
Ansel Knight, Volunteer / Instructor
I like the woods, a lot. High school kinda makes it hard to get out there sometimes, but that’s just the system trying to stunt my emotional growth or something, right?
I enjoy all manners of ancestral knowledge skills though my specialties are wood craft and fire making. I also volunteer at White Pine Programs, which is a kids nature immersion school in Cape Neddick. I’m passionate about Rewild Maine because humans need to connect to nature to be healthier, and for me to share that with people is awesome.
Non-discrimination/Anti-racism and decolonization statement
Imperative to rewilding is the acknowledgement of the history of Western, industrialized, "civilized" culture as one of violent, global colonialism. The culture that is shared by all global colonists is called industrial civilization. Industrial civilizations, as opposed to small-scale, place-based tribes, clans, bands, groups, villages, and settlements, are and have always historically been exploitative and destructive; as civilizations spread from their provenance across the planet, wildness, biodiversity, ecological health, and the healthy of humanity are always reduced, and traditional ecological knowledge and regenerative ways of being have historically been all but ignored. The culture that is shared by all global colonists is called civilization, and rewilding is an intrinsic part of the process of its dismantlement.
Historically, all civilizations have employed various psychological compartmentalizations to dehumanize its subjects, victims, and slaves. Dehumanization on the basis of race, sexuality, sex and gender is a tactic historically shared by all colonists across the world. Most recently, veritably, white supremacy has shaped and sustained the growth of the conjoined civilizations that currently dominate the world, while historically, racial supremacist ideologies have also been employed in the absence of any concept of whiteness.
Racism itself is not the problem with the world any more than sexism is the problem; racism, sexism, and all other forms of dehumanizing discrimination against individuals are necessary tactics that must be employed by [inherently exploitative] industrial civilizations in order to function. Rewilding is, most greatly, the process of undoing the damage done by industrial civilizations and supporting the growth and reemergence of regenerative, place-based ways of interacting with the land, and each other.
Therefore, of course, but very clearly, Rewild Maine does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.
For what it's worth, Rewild Maine is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Rewilding is inherently anti-colonial, and in fact must take responsibility for the affects of colonization. Rewild Maine stands in opposition of all racism and discrimination; we are aware, true tolerance praxis must require intolerance of intolerance. We always welcome further discussion and action concerning the process of decolonization.
Tuition from classes and workshops goes to support our organization, which exists to provide accessible education of small-scale place-based living skills for everyone. A portion of our proceeds are donated to other local organizations that advocate for First Nations peoples, land access and rewilding.