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Making Nettle Cordage

i Sep 1st No Comments by














Admit it:  any plant that has the name “stinging” in it is bound to get a bad rap. But this incredible PNW icon is rich in nutrients, medicine, and fiber, and well worth your time getting to know. Each season brings new ways of connecting with Urtica dioica, and late summer is no exception. Right now is the best time to harvest tall nettle plants that have gone to seed and make nettle cordage. Here’s a step by step guide to making some of nature’s strongest rope. Have fun!


  • Look for tall nettle that has gone to seed.
  • For ethical harvesting, strip the seeds off and drop them. This allows the plant to regenerate.
  • Cut the stems off close to the ground and strip the leaves. Wearing a glove is recommended.
  • Collect the stems in a bundle and dry in a cool, dry place. They should be crisp when you break them.



  • Take one stalk and pound it with a rock against a hard surface. This will soften the outer bark a bit.
  • Use a thumbnail (or knife) to split the stalk down it’s length, peeling it as you go (like opening a book).
  • Using your hands, peel away the woody portion from the softer fibrous portion. Take special care around each joint (node).
  • Rub the strands of fiber vigorously between your hands. The fibers will separate and begin to look fluffy. Continue to pull little woody bits out of the fibers and buffing until the fibers are quite fluffy.


Cordage-Making with “Reverse wrap” Technique

  • Tie two strands of fiber together at the top
  • With your right hand, twist the strand farthest from you in the direction away from you
  • Now fold/pull that fiber over the one closest to you (so they exchange places)
  • Keep tension on the fibers at all times as you wrap down the fiber to produce a nice, even cordage

Welcome new Board Member, Kathryn Payne!

i Jul 13th No Comments by

Kathryn is a child of the early 70’s, left to roam free all day and only asked to return home “when the street lights” turned on. That was life in Pacific Grove, CA –a place where she always found a reason to be outside,  surrounded by quiet forests and the crashing waves of Asilomar Beach. As Kathryn matured into an adult, she realized the imprint she received from her unstructured time in nature continued to support and guide her as and adult. Naturally when she became a mother she wanted her child to receive the same nature connection. That meant moving from Seattle to Vashon Island in 2002 and enrolling her 5–year old daughter in the Wilderness Awareness School’s program on Vashon, which later became the Vashon Wilderness Program. Kathryn has experienced first hand the many benefits of her child attending VWP from age 5–12 and recommends it for all families seeking a nature–connection within a loving community for their child.  Aside from her volunteer position as a Board Member for VWP, Kathryn has taught yoga since 1988,  owns Island Yoga Center, enjoys playing the piano and hanging out on the Island with her husband, daughter and poodle. 

Welcome Linda Moore to our Staff!

i Jul 8th No Comments by

Welcome Linda Moore, VWP’s newest instructor! Some of you may recognize this wild creature… Linda joined VWP in 2013 as an apprentice in our weekly Wind Gatherer program for 4-6 year olds, and for the past two years has been a substitute instructor in the Wind Gather and Woodland Ways programs. This summer she will join the Camp staff and in the Fall begin mentoring 4-6 year olds at our monthly Woodland Ways program.

Linda is passionate about nature, children, growing food, and song. She has been mentoring youth since 1999, and believes that a day with children, steeped in Nature – with story, song, weaving and wandering – is a day well spent! In addition to her training at VWP, she completed the Art of Mentoring week-long course at Wilderness Awareness School in 2015. Linda has also co-taught at Heartstone Pre-school for two years. 

In 2015, Linda completed a Master’s Program with the Center For Sacred Studies – Earth-based Spiritual Traditions. She embodies reverence for all things; deeply honors this beautiful earth, waters, and beauty that this life unfolds; and is committed to stewarding this planet for the next seven generations. She gives great gratitude every day to her Teachers and All her Relations.


Welcome to Our 2017-2018 Season!

i Jun 20th No Comments by


Greetings Nature Lovers!  We turn the wheel once again, leaving a blossoming trail as we enter the fullness of summer. With camps starting next week,  and Fall programs filling now, be sure to grab your spot and let your nature connection journey begin (or deepen) with VWP!






Want to work with us?

We’re hiring! With all of our program expansions, VWP is hiring new instructors and a new Program Director! Read all about the positions here and be in touch!
We love our volunteers! Do you have a special wilderness skill or nature story to share with our programs? Do you have administrative, marketing, or fundraising skills to share? VWP is always appreciative of folks like you who donate their time to our organization. Check out our Volunteer Form and let’s connect!

Thank You!

Last, but never least, a huge thank you to all of our donors this year – together we raised a record $44,000 for VWP’s programs and operations. Your ongoing support and commitment has helped VWP unite people with each other and the planet in deep and meaningful ways. 

With excitement for what lies ahead – we welcome you to our 2017-2018 program season!

In community,

Stacey Hinden

Executive Director, VWP