rewild maine

207-808-2183

RewildMaine@gmail.com

Mail to:

111 Sheridan Street

Portland, Maine

04101

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it all comes down to observation and empathy

PETER MICHAEL BAUER

Invasive Species Management

The consequences of actions taken by humans throughout history are visible today. Many people are here where their ancestors weren't while many others remain where they were displaced to; solid structures of brick and metal rise from rock pavement where there was once dirt and growth unsmothered, and plants from the world around have followed us from place to place around the globe.

Our culture's approach to the management of invasive species generally involves the liberal application of chemical pesticides and, at the very least, offers plenty of food for thought and fodder for discussion.  Is our unquestioned assumption that chemical solutions are best accurate? Are chemical (and in this case biocidal) solutions to complex problems ultimately effective?

We are passionate about finding holistic solutions to problems that involve as few chemicals as possible. We teach and practice ways to effectively make use of these invasive plant species, to cultivate motivation to remove them.  Finding and teaching more ways to make use of invasive species will help to address ramifications of global colonization; careful land management by humans who in the process of reintegration to the natural world can help regenerate, and rewild, the biosphere.

Free Skills

Our goal is to facilitate collective experimental education; we teach what we know, share when we can, and try to always be learning. We host free workshops every month introducing various small-scale, place-based skills including, but not limited to, foraging, string making and basketry, hand tool use, ancient technologies and nature awareness. Donations and other public funding allows us to offer free events, keep classes as affordable as possible, and provide scholarships to students on a limited as-needed basis.

Classes and Workshops

Cordage and Carabiners

String, twine, and rope are all made according to the same fundamental principles. Humans have been following these principles for thousands of years to make cordage using natural, organic plant materials. We can use natural materials to make beautiful, strong, and very functional string.

 

We’ll learn to identify, harvest, store, process and use materials like cattails, common milkweed, dogbane, stinging nettles, white cedar, basswood bark and also birch and alder twigs for cordage, rope and carabiners. Every participants will make a handmade bracelet, necklace, keychain or carabiner, or two

 

2 hours. $15/each, or $85/groups of 10 or more

Processing Acorns Into Flour

Acorns, or oak nuts, have remained an important and nutritious food source for many animals, including humans, around the world for hundreds of thousands of years. The oak tree has sustained human civilization since its inception in countless ways; acorn flour is today little more than a trendy, niche food product although acorns are still abundant. Why have we in our modern culture nearly forgotten how to harvest, process, honor and eat this incredible gift?

 

Learn to identify, harvest, process, store, and use acorns in the kitchen. Delicious bread and muffins will be available for sampling.

$15/each, or $85/groups of 10 or more

Urban Foraging
Pine Needle Baskets
Mending and Handsewing
Tin Can Rocket Stoves

A rocket stove employs simple concepts to create an efficient wood-burning apparatus. Fuel is burned inside a combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimney. Rocket stove designs are most often used for portable stovesfor cooking but the design is also used to make mass heaters for heating buildings.

 

Learn to make a tin can rocket stove! Using recycled materials to make something useful is resourceful. 

Excellent for camping; not too bulky or heavy - they pack fine into a backpack! We'll use 5 cans and some tin snips to create a lasting product that competes against and may even outstrip your industrial camp stoves.

3 hours. $25/each, or $200/groups of 10

Bundle Bows and Atlatls

A bundle bow employs core principles to create a makeshift projectile weapon using found sticks. Small saplings can be cut and seasoned, while old fiberglass fishing rods or tent poles may also be used. The stronger the sticks, the harder it will be to draw the bow.

Learn to make a bundle bow and arrows! This bow may be impractical for hunting but is fun to make and use, and may be effective in an emergency survival situation. We'll use our bundle bows to practice fundamental principles of archery.

3 hours. $20/each, or $150/groups of 10

Invasive Bittersweet Baskets
Twined Willow Baskets

Willows, also called sallows or osiers, account for over 400 species within the genus Salix. Willows have ancient, global cross-cultural significance; they are strong and respond positively to coppicing and pollarding, two pruning techniques used in land management. Willow bark contains salicin, which has been used by humans for thousands of years to ease pain from stomach pain and headaches. and make for an excellent basket material.

 

Learn to weave a willow basket. We'll employ several different weaving techniques in order to create a beautiful basket for foraging, or use in the kitchen or garden.

 

3 hours. $30/each, $250/group of 10

Classes and workshops may range from single half- or full-day events, recurring weekly or monthly afternoon/evening courses, and regular afterschool programs. Scheduling for regular programming may be specifically tailored to meet the needs of any given school or institution.

 

A sample of available programs is listed below. This is not a comprehensive list of all possible activities; often curriculum is developed spontaneously or may be catered to meet specific needs of a group. With the exception of general nature awareness classes, these programs are usually found to be approachable by people who are at least six years old.

 

The suggested prices are for one-time workshops, per participant, and are negotiable; additonally, a 10% discount is available for schools, churches and other nonprofit groups.  Individual scholarships are available; to inquire please contact us.

 

All required tools and materials are provided.

Natural Awareness

Learn to be outdoors comfortably without causing discomfort to others, including non-humans. We'll discuss the natural cycle of the four directions, learn to read weather patterns, practice orientation with a map and compass, and avoid hazards including ticks and other insects.

 

We'll also delve into deeper awareness as we learn techniques for observation, listen to bird language, practice skills like fox-walking, owl-eyes and deer-ears, and often use blindfolds to emphasize how tactile touch connects us with our surroundings.

2 hours. $16/each, or $105/groups of 10 or more

Shelter Building

What is the most important factor to ensure survival in an emergency wilderness situation? Contrary to popular belief, secure shelter - not food or even water - is the primary priority of the survivalist! A human can live for a few days without water, and up to a few weeks without food, but without proper shelter, one could easily freeze to death or die from exposure overnight.

 

In the winter, when ample snow is present, we'll make a snow shelter. When snow is absent, we'll use sticks, twigs and leaves to build a debris shelter! We'll cover a few possible emergency scenarios and detail priorities.

 

2 hours. $16/each, or $130/groups of 10 or more

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Tracking Animals

As humans, throughout history and long before, studying the behavior of non-human relatives has always been paramount.  Animals are our teachers, our leaders, and often veritably provide for our lives with their own. How can we expect to reciprocate for this gift, and protect our non-human relatives, if we can't understand them and know how they live?

Practice the skills needed to identify, interpret, read and follow tracks and signs left by wild animals.  We'll cover the basics of gaits and strides, familiarize ourselves with local animals, and delve into the ancient art of intuitive tracking.

2 hours. $16/each, or $130/groups of 10 or more

Urban Foraging

Cultivation and maintenance of relationships with wild plants, and with other human and nonhuman creatures, is largely what sustained our ancestors for hundreds of thousands of years before the inception of industrial civilization. Plants offer support, shelter, material, food, and love in countless other ways. The health and survival of the planet is dependent on interconnected relationships.

Learn to identify, regeneratively gather and harvest, and use various wild plants for food, medicine, tools and materials.  We'll follow one of several various routes around town, or one of your choosing. Bring your own basket!

2 hours. $16/each, or $130/groups of 10 or more

Cordage and Carabiners

String, twine, rope and load-bearing locking loops are all made according to the same fundamental principles. Humans have been following these principles for thousands of years to make cordage using natural, organic plant materials. We can use natural materials to make beautiful, strong, and very functional string.

 

We’ll learn to identify, harvest, store, process and use materials like cattails, common milkweed, dogbane, stinging nettles, white cedar, basswood bark and also birch and alder twigs for cordage, rope and carabiners. Every participants will make a handmade bracelet, necklace, keychain or carabiner, or two

 

2 hours. $25/each, or $200/groups of 10 or more

Matchless Firestarting

Early or pre-humans have been controlling fire for as long as 1.7 million years – before humanity evolved, beginning 300,000 years ago. Fire is a result of impact, compression, solar energy or friction. Ancient fire-making methods include the hand drill, bow drill, pump drill, fire plow, fire saw, fire thong, and sparks caught from striking rocks. Bow drills have been used by humans around the world for thousands of years.

 

Learn how to make and practice using a complete bow drill kit using wood and a piece of string. Every participant will make a bow drill kit to take home. 

3 hours. $30/each, or $260/groups of 10

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Japanese Knotweed Flutes

Japanese knotweed is a frustrating invasive; it should generally be eradicated. Finding as many uses for Japanese knotweed makes sense, as it is now abundant and largely unavoidable. Its young shoots are edible, and its roots may be used to fight Lyme disease. Its stalks resemble bamboo but are unfortunately not as strong and useless for building, but they may be fashioned into functional musical instrument!

We'll cover identification, best gathering practices, materials storage and processing, and then use knives, wood-burners, rubber bands and string to make several types of flutes.

2 hours. $20/each, or $130/groups of 10.

Tin Can Rocket Stoves

A rocket stove employs simple concepts to create an efficient wood-burning apparatus. Fuel is burned inside a combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimney. Rocket stove designs are most often used for portable stovesfor cooking but the design is also used to make mass heaters for heating buildings.

 

Learn to make a tin can rocket stove! Using recycled materials to make something useful is resourceful. 

Excellent for camping; not too bulky or heavy - they pack fine into a backpack! We'll use 5 cans and some tin snips to create a lasting product that competes against and may even outstrip your industrial camp stoves.

3 hours. $30/each, or $260/groups of 10

Rockettes #rocketstoves #tincans #tincan
Bundle Bows and Arrows
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A bundle bow employs core principles to create a makeshift projectile weapon using found sticks lashed together. Small saplings can be cut and seasoned, while old fiberglass fishing rods or tent poles may also be used. The stronger the sticks, the harder it will be to draw the bow.

Learn to make a bundle bow and arrows! This bow may not be practical for hunting but is fun to make and use, and would be effective in an emergency survival situation. We'll use our bundle bows to practice the fundamental principles of archery.

3 hours. $30/each, or $260/groups of 10

Invasive Bittersweet Baskets

Oriental, Asian, or round-leaved bittersweet is a creeping vine with inedible berries that is invasive in North America. Frustrating to gardeners and arborists, bittersweet is considered a largely useless bane on wild land. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were good for something? We can use ancient harvesting techniques to tend Asian bittersweet in the wild, simultaneously harvesting material for baskets while managing future growth.

 

Learn to weave a bittersweet basket. We'll employ several different weaving techniques in order to create a beautiful basket for foraging, or use in the kitchen or garden.

 

3 hours. $30/each, $260/group of 10

Pine Needle Baskets

White pine, Maine’s state flower, and Red pine, are ubiquitous throughout the state and provide a vital pool of resources for human and nonhuman Mainers alike. Pine needles are beautiful, and strong! They can be coiled and sewn together to make hats, lovely usable baskets and/or adorably tiny ones.

 

Learn to identify, regeneratively gather and harvest, properly store and process, and weave with pine needles. We'll cover the basics of coiled basketry, which is a global, ancient human skill, and create a wonderful pine-needle basket. Every participant will make a basket to take home.

2 hours. $35/each, or $300/groups of 10

Folded Birch Bark Baskets

Birch bark is a special, very unique material that has been collected consciously by humans for thousands of years. Birch bark is very strong, durable, water-resistant and flexible; it has been traditionally used to make baskets, canisters and even canoes! Birch bark is also very flammable and can be used to start campfires.

 

Learn to identify, regeneratively gather, process, store and weave birch bark. We’ll use hand-gathered spruce roots and brown ash to sew a rim on our folded birch bark baskets (approx. 6x6") 

which will be beautiful.

3 hours. $45/each, or $385/groups of 10

Plaited birch bark basket, rim sewn with
Plaited Birch Bark Baskets

Birch bark is one of the only basket materials that can woven while old, dead and dry! To make plaited birch bark baskets, we use old, dead, dry bark that we find lying on the ground in the forest. It's a great way to make something strong, useful and beautiful from discarded material - no felling required.

Learn the basics of identification, gathering, processing materials, and storage; and create a beautiful horizontally- or diagonally-plaited (pictured) birch bark basket.

3 hours. $40/each, or $340/groups of 10

Twined Willow Baskets

Willows, also called sallows or osiers, account for over 400 species within the genus Salix. Willows have ancient, global cross-cultural significance; they are strong and respond positively to coppicing and pollarding, two pruning techniques used in land management. Willow bark contains salicin, which has been used by humans for thousands of years to ease pain from stomach pain and headaches. and make for an excellent basket material.

 

Learn to weave a willow basket. We'll employ several different weaving techniques in order to create a beautiful basket for foraging, or use in the kitchen or garden.

 

3 hours. $35/each, $300/group of 10

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Mending and Handsewing

Hand sewing, darning and mending are age-old, keystone human skills. Patches can be made to be beautiful as well as functional. Needles and thread can always be made from naturally-harvested organic material, while sewing comprehension with industrial supplies remains invaluable in the modern world.

 

Learn the vital art of sewing and mending. We'll study cross-hatch hole-mending, then employ a few simple stitches to create a functional cloth pouch. Bring your holy garments!

3 hours. $20/each, or $170/groups of 10

Coal-burned Spoon Carving

This is a fun thing to learn how to do! No special knives required: we can use a glowing coal from the campfire to burn the hole for the bowl. A simple, safe introduction to the wide world of wood carving. Coal-burned spoons can look great when you finish them and send them.

 

Learn basic knife safety, overview of knife sharpening techniques, different fundamental carving skills, and how to use a burning coal from the fire to make the spoon bowl.

3 hours. $25/each, or $150/groups of 10 

Happy spoons.jpg
Making Sauerkraut and Kimchi

Lactic acid fermentation is a metabolic process in which glucose and other sugars are converted into living cellular energy. It is an anaerobic fermentation that has been employed for thousands of years around the world. Fermented foods are an excellent source of vitamins and may promote a healthy gut biome.

Learn how to make sauerkraut and kimchi! We'll use knives and other kitchen tools to cut up the vegetables, and follow a few time-tested and honed recipes to craft some delicious and healthy food.

2 hours. $35/student, or $215/groups of 10

Rawhide Deerskin Frame Drums

Music is important! A frame drum is an ancient musical instrument, made by humans worldwide and throughout history, which consists of a frame, often made of wood, and a piece of rawhide skin stretched across. Each drum has a unique sound and character based on the life of the deer whose skin will make the drum. Frame drums can be played by hand or with a drumstick.

Learn to make a rawhide deerskin frame drum! We'll cover fleshing and scraping, trimming, cleaning, cutting and measuring, lacing up, and future care and storage. Parts of this class may be a bit smelly and messy. Wear work clothes! $95/student, or $800/groups of 10

Buckskin Wallets and Pouches

Buckskin, traditionally, was a term used to describe hair- and grain-free handmade leather or suede. "Buck" refers to the process of using lye or wood-ash to loosen the animal's fur and hair; buckskin does not necessarily have to be made using the hide of a male deer. Humans have been using animal skins to create versatile fabric for hundreds of thousands of years.

Study a basic overview of the intensive process required to turn animal skins into leather, and learn techniques required to sew with buckskin. We'll use brain-tanned deerskin buckskins to craft wallets, pouches or change purses. 

3 hours. $55/each, or $470/groups of 10

Processing Acorns Into Flour

Acorns, or oak nuts, have remained an important and nutritious food source for many animals, including humans, around the world for hundreds of thousands of years. The oak tree has sustained human civilization since its inception in countless ways; acorn flour is today little more than a trendy, niche food product although acorns are still abundant. Why have we in our modern culture nearly forgotten how to harvest, process, honor and eat this incredible gift?

 

Learn to identify, harvest, process, store, and use acorns in the kitchen. Delicious bread and muffins will be available for sampling.

2 hours. $35/each, or $300/groups of 10

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Home Winemaking

Acorns, or oak nuts, have remained an important and nutritious food source for many animals, including humans, around the world for hundreds of thousands of years. The oak tree has sustained human civilization since its inception in countless ways; acorn flour is today little more than a trendy, niche food product although acorns are still abundant. Why have we in our modern culture nearly forgotten how to harvest, process, honor and eat this incredible gift?

 

Learn to identify, harvest, process, store, and use acorns in the kitchen. Delicious bread and muffins will be available for sampling.

2 hours. $35/each, or $300/groups of 10