We Are Nature Workshops for Adults

“We often forget that WE ARE NATURE.

Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves.”  

~ Andy Goldsworthy



Join skilled and experienced VWP mentors for explorations in the nature of ourselves as part of the natural world and the land of beautiful Vashon Island. Each workshop is designed to introduce you to practices that will awaken your connection with yourself, the Earth, and each other. 


2017-2018 Workshop Schedule 



Weaving Beauty with Beauty – An Introduction to Weaving with Natural Fibers

January 20th, 10am-4pm, $75 | ENROLL

Holding a basket in one’s hands brings a connection to the weaver and the woven. Weaving with your own hands invites you to be still, within the present moment – for complete concentration to the work at hand. Weaving a basket may bring one to a memory of connection with our Ancestors and the precious Earth we dwell.  Baskets crafted for beauty and function span many traditional cultures and date back to the needs of the hunter-gatherers.   Indigenous peoples honored the plants and fibers of the land they lived with, weaving baskets of distinction.

Baskets can be made with many different materials, and often times the materials are selected for the basket’s function.  This class will cover the basics of traditional twinning to weave a small ‘keepsake’ basket of jute and wool.  These materials are selected for the ease in learning the technique, which can then be carried over to other materials that you may find you’d like to try to work with.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • a traditional twining technique
  • to work a small basket from start to finish
  • to change materials and colors
  • to work with a form or shape freestyle

Your Guide:

Linda Moore has been crafting baskets since learning from two teachers at a traditional skills gathering called Saskatoon Circle.  She learned to weave a Cedar bark basket from Tracy Williams of Vancouver, BC in 2014 and a Willow harvest basket from Erin of Oregon in 2015.  These two teachers opened up her curiosity to what she could work with and since has woven baskets of grasses, rush, nettle, wool and jute.  Her favorite fiber to work with is hand-spun wool and she is excited to be able to show you what she has learned of this awesome craft.




Messengers of the Forest – An Introduction to Bird Language 

February 17th, 10am-4pm, $75 | ENROLL

It is said that birds have the power to lift the human spirit. They also provide us with an immediate and intimate way to understand the natural world and our place in it. For millennia, humans paid close attention to these winged ones and learned to interpret their sounds and behaviors for survival. While relying on bird language is no longer a survival tool in our modern world, it is a pathway to thriving: birds still teach us about how to slow down, listen, and raise our awareness.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • The five common voices of bird language
  • Shapes of alarm
  • Bird mapping techniques
  • Powerful sensory awareness practices to slow down
  • Activities to engage your whole body in a natural setting

Your Guide:

Aris Lara is an outdoor educator who is passionate about studying bird language, moving through the forest like an animal, and practicing friction fire. Aris graduated from a 9-month intensive program at Alderleaf Wilderness College in 2014, where he studied wilderness skills and ecology. Since then, he has been sharing his love of nature with youth and adults as a Coyote Mentor. This is his first year on staff at VWP. When not playing and exploring with his students, you may find him barefoot in the forest climbing trees while trying to mimic the calls of the birds, dancing to music in the city, practicing martial art, or making music.  



Original Instructions – An Introduction to Mammal Tracking

March 17th, 10am-4pm, $75 | ENROLL

Tracking teaches what indigenous peoples have called “Our Original Instructions” – what it means to be human and to walk on the Earth in a way that is in harmony with our surroundings and nurtures our relationships with those around us, human and otherwise. ~ Dave Moskowitz, biologist, photographer, outdoor educator, and author  

Nature is full of ongoing stories and if you know how to read them, the stories in the landscape will reveal to you some of nature’s deepest mysteries. In this workshop, you will learn to engage with the ancient art of wildlife tracking. Learning to see the mammals through the tracks and sign they leave as they walk, run, forage, hunt or mark territory enables us to grow closer to their presence on the landscape, and opens a gateway for deep connection to our four-legged friends.

In this workshop, you will learn:

    • who are our mammal neighbors
    • basic foot morphology by family
    • intro to sign tracking
    • the naturalist’s best tools
    • to look for tracks and sign in the field

Your Guide:

Annika Fae was born on a volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and grew up in the lands by the Salish Sea, camping and hiking, exploring and playing in the temperate rainforests of the Cascadia bioregion. She has completed a Tracking Apprenticeship at Raven’s Roots and the Wilderness Awareness School Tracking Intensive, and holds a Level III Track and Sign Certification from the internationally recognized CyberTracker.com. She is also a graduate of the WAS’s Anake Leadership Program, and has been on staff at VWP for the past five years. When not sneaking, hiding, and playing in the forests of Vashon with her students, Annika loves to paint, garden, and make things – from clothes to baskets, and salves to jams.





peace-sign-in-natureThe Way of The Peacemaker, The Protector

April 21st, 10am-4pm, $75

 With our thoughts, our words, and our actions we make our mark on the world, on each other, and in our own body.  What is important to you? What is worth protecting? Through the act of peacemaking, we move with integrity as we tend that which is precious to us. In traditional earth-based societies, the role of the scout was one of protector – the eyes and ears of the village. Today, being a scout means being a protector, a peacemaker, and integrating the many tools of nature connection to live and lead grounded in Earth’s wisdom. Group and solo exploration time in nature, stories, and opportunities for reflection will guide you expand your own inner protector and peacemaker.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • how to awaken your senses to connect with the landscape
  • techniques to move stealthily through the forest without creating a disturbance
  • the basic language expression of the birds and the role they play as your allies
  • practices for cultivating the path of the Peacemaker, Protector while at home

Your Guide:

Ted Packard has been sharing his love of nature with hundreds of people through wilderness schools in his native Virginia and locally at Vashon Wilderness Program, Quiet Heart Wilderness School, Field and Forest Outdoor Preschool, Alderleaf Wilderness College (where he graduated from their 9-month Wilderness Certification Program), and the Wilderness Awareness School (where he has also completed the Anake Leadership training). He is passionate about sharing stories, music, art, basket making, primitive skills for foraging and hunting, filmography, games, and most importantly, feeding the passion in others. He holds a masters in teaching, and was a touring musician for several years, building community through vocals and multi-instrumental performances.


plant-spirit-medicinePlant Healing Ways – A Special Mother/Daughter Workshop

May 13th, 10am-4pm, $125 for each Mother/Daughter pair, $30 for each additional daughter

This workshop is best suited for Mothers with daughters ages 7-12.

 Join us on Mother’s Day to nourish, celebrate, and strengthen your Mother-Daughter-Earth connections! In many native traditions, plants are considered to be both our ancestors and our elders. They have offered themselves to us as food, medicine, and as materials since our beginnings. Join us as we engage with plant medicine not only for our bodies, but also for our minds, hearts, and spirit. Gentle wanders on the land, direct engagement with the plants through crafting, peaceful time in nature, reflective journaling, storytelling, and more will help guide our explorations into the deep wisdom, teachings, and nourishment that these “green folk” bring to us as women and girls.

In this workshop you’ll learn:

  • To connect with the nature of native and weedy plants in the landscape and garden herbs
  • How to create connection with the earth and nature of our being through plants
  • To create a beverage and a remedy
  • How to craft with plants
  • To cultivate an ethical, safe, and honoring relationship with plants
  • How to invite new pathways to living more harmoniously with nature and each other

Your Guide:

Jane Valencia has guided young and old into the magic of the natural world and the blessings of timeless cultural wise ways for more than 25 years. She is passionate about helping people to join in the companionable conversation that is the world around us, to get down and dirty getting to know plants and their healing ways, and to take strength from cross-cultural practices and perceptions that nourish healthy community life as pathways to nourishing and enlivening one’s “unique genius.” As an herbalist since 2001, Jane pursues ongoing training and mentorship in sacred plant medicine and traditional Western herbalism. In addition to her work as an instructor at the Vashon Wilderness Program, Jane is a longtime bardic harper and storyteller, author, and Reiki Master-Teacher, and co-directs the Vashon Threshold Choir.


All workshops take place in wild spaces on beautiful Vashon Island, just a short ferry ride from Seattle, Tacoma, and Kitsap. Individual workshop location details will be sent upon registration.

REGISTER  |  For more information, please contact us.


Thanks for a great Fall! New workshops planned for Fall 2018.

Check back with us.

FALL 2017



Finding Your Place in Nature – An Introduction to The Core Routines of Deep Nature Connection 


October 21st, 10am-4pm, $75 | ENROLL


The demands of living in a fast-paced, technology driven world can leave us feeling overwhelmed, ungrounded, and disconnected from a sense of health and wholeness and our innate wisdom. One of the most powerful ways to connect with yourself and the natural world is to slow down, open your heart to appreciation, expand your senses, and listen to the quietest of sounds within and around you. Creating a safe and comfortable place for yourself in nature to visit regularly allows you to develop keen awareness and observation skills, and a presence with all life. You begin to experience patterns and cycles in nature and understand your place in the community of all beings. Through gentle nature-based practices, immersion in wild places, storytelling, journaling, and more, you will relax into the healing and rejuvenating energy of Nature.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • a nature-based mindfulness practice to awaken your deep sensory awareness
  • how to begin (or deepen) a daily gratitude practice
  • how to be comfortable in nature
  • a road map to find the perfect Sit Spot at home

Your Guide:

Rachel Sursely, Instructor. Rachel is known for her warm, gentle and playful approach to mentoring. She trained with the Wilderness Awareness School and is a graduate of their Anake Outdoor School, an intensive nine month training program in nature awareness and survival skills. Nature is a source of peace and solace for Rachel, a place to ground into her most authentic self. It is a place to heal, play, and nurture her relationship with plants and trees. She loves to share with others the sense of aliveness, curiosity, and wonder that nature invites.




Nature Survival Skills for Women


November 18th, 10am-4pm, $75 | ENROLL


Cultivate the feeling of empowerment, connection with the earth, and profound sense of belonging that comes from practicing survival skills. Together, we will learn to identify nature’s gifts and harness their energy for our own health and well-being. We will connect with the trees, the plants, and the elements to create fire, harvest food, build shelters and more. Through skill-building, nature-based reflection, and storytelling, you’ll deepen your understanding of yourself and learn how to live with the natural world, as part of it, rather than seeing the wilderness as just a challenge to survive.  

In this workshop you will learn the arts and skills of:

  • Friction fire-making
  • Fire construction and tending
  • Safe wild edible plant identification and sustainable harvesting
  • Outdoor cooking
  • Waterproof shelter-building
  • Water Purification


Your Guide:

Manon McPeters

Manon McPeters was raised in a rural, off-the-grid cabin, and has spent her life living in relationship with the earth. She has completed multiple survival trips, but feels the most connected incorporating elements of wild living into her everyday life. She is a graduate of the Wilderness Awareness Anake Outdoor School and Leadership programs, is an instructor here at Vashon Wilderness Program, and has worked with people of all ages at WAS, Quiet Heart, and Rite of Passage Journeys. Manon also enjoys sharing her love of yoga – sometimes in nature!