F.O.R.E.S.T. Mentorship PRogram

2019-2020 enrollment full

Friends Outdoors Reviving Earth Skills Together, also known as FOREST, is Whole Earth Nature School’s year-long nature mentorship program. FOREST is a student-driven initiative designed for kids who are dedicated to deepening their nature skills. The goal of FOREST is to build strong self-esteem, deepen student’s nature and survival skills, and nurture their leadership abilities. Our trained mentors will craft custom curriculum integrating student’s interests with existing learning objectives to create a unique experience for every participant. FOREST is designed to be a multi-year growth experience, with the High School program offering new and different experiences and challenges from the Middle School program.

Our new FOREST Academy series is a great way for students to fit epic FOREST skills in to their busy schedules, and registration is open now!

How it Works

Small, Interest-Based Groups

As a team, students and mentors will create clans consisting of one mentor (Whole Earth Instructor) and four to five students. Clans will be created based on student’s interests, abilities and goals. Each student will be working on long-term and short-term projects for themselves and their clan. In the FOREST program, students and mentors will have a close working relationship.

Weekly Meetings

Mentors will schedule weekly meetings with their clan, in person, at Wayne Morse Family Farm. Meetings will be scheduled Monday-Thursday with a small group meeting each day and each student only meeting once per week. These weekly meetings will be an opportunity for students to work on ongoing skills and projects. They will also serve to support community between FOREST students as they connect with their peers.

Monthly Excursions

FOREST students will also meet once per month for a full-day excursion dedicated to learning new skills and furthering existing projects and goals outdoors. These excursions feature a variety of destinations around the Willamette Valley and each trip will have unique activities and lessons planned. Advanced students will also be involved in planning some of these trips.

Overnight Excursions

Three times during the year we’ll turn a full-day excursion into an overnight excursion! Yup, we’ll spend a full weekend camping and exploring together! Trips include a mountain trip to test out your shelter building skills, a winter trip to explore skills in a snow environment, and a survival and tracking excursion in the coastal dune environment. See below for a detailed schedule of planned trips.

The Power of Community

The FOREST program will nurture a true community where each clan member is known and valued for who they are. Our intention is to forge profound connections with peers, mentors, and the earth. We will grow capable, confident leaders who work to expand their skills and push their personal comfort edges. These abilities and experiences will be a strong foundation for growth in all aspects of life. We will build a community focused on the joys and challenges of engaging in authentic relationship with each other and with the land that sustains us. By building strong peer bonds in nature, FOREST students will develop a support network to foster a lifetime of outdoor learning. FOREST is going to be an amazing way to connect with the natural world in your very own community. We hope you join us!

“He absolutely LOVES Whole Earth and talks about it all the time. He really wants to continue to the path to counselor. He is having great adventures and learning so much.”
“Some kids have church groups, others have scouts, and some have sports like a youth club. [My daughter] has her FOREST Friends. This has been such a fantastic experience for her to connect with others, learn skills, but mostly, it is her centering time in a week full of teenage issues. She loves her leader Soma, and really feels connected with the other kids.”
"The FOREST program is awesome because you get to spend time with friends while working on fun skills. You get to know the other FOREST kids and it all becomes one community."
FOREST student

FOREST Middle School

For most students, FOREST Middle School is your entry point into the FOREST Program. Middle School FOREST students will experience strong peer and mentor support as they navigate a challenging time of their lives. Excursions and overnights will provide a well-rounded outdoor skill development experience that focuses on all of our four Learning Pathways. These students are able to begin to explore their skills at a deeper level than they have previously.

FOREST High School

FOREST High School continues the core elements of the FOREST Middle School program providing a peer and mentor supported learning  space while developing core outdoor skills.  FOREST High School also introduces additional leadership elements to the curriculum. When students are ready their mentors will support them in planning and leading excursions for the FOREST Middle School group. 

The Details

Where & When

The FOREST program is a nine-month nature program which will begin the first week of September, and is designed for middle and high school students. There will be a program kick-off meeting for students and parents mid-September at Wayne Morse Family Farm from 1-3pm. Weekly meetings will happen Monday-Friday and we will work together with you to find which day of the week works best for you.

FOREST students will:

  • Attend weekly clan meetings (6-8pm on a weekday)
  • Meet additionally once per month for day-long field trips on the second or third Saturday (see below for locations),
  • Camp overnight every 3 months at different remote locations! (see below for details)


A year of the FOREST Programs is only $177 per month ($1,593.00 for the year). We have worked hard to keep the cost of this mentoring experience low to make it accessible to as many students as possible. Scholarships are available. Scholarship applications received by August 25th will be given priority consideration.


Enrollment is now open for the 2019-2020 school year

2019-2020 Trip Calendar

FOREST Middle School

  • September 14, 2019: Parent Orientation Meeting. Hendricks Park 1-4pm.
  • September 14, 2019: Field Trip: Horse Rock Ridge (First time students only)
  • September 20-22, 2019: Field Trip: Three day overnight to the Oregon Dunes (Departs after school Friday)
  • October 12-13, 2019: Field Trip: Central Oregon Shelter Overnight
  • November 9, 2019: Community Service Project
  • December 21st, 2019 : Solstice Celebration
  • January 11, 2020: Field Trip: Student planned
  • February 8-9, 2020: Field Trip: Snowshoe overnight
  • March 14, 2020: Field Trip: Student planned
  • April 11, 2020: Field Trip: Student planned
  • May 9, 2020: Final Field Trip: Horse Rock Ridge

FOREST High School

  • September 14, 2019: Parent Orientation Meeting. Hendricks Park 1-4pm.
  • September 20-22, 2019: Field Trip: Three day overnight to the Oregon Dunes (Departs after school Friday)
  • October 19, 2019: Field Trip: Fall Harvest
  • November 9, 2019: Community Service Project
  • December 21st, 2019 : Solstice Celebration
  • January 18, 2020: Field Trip: Wet Weather Fire Skills.
  • February 15-16, 2020: Field Trip: Snowshoe Overnight
  • March 21, 2020: Field Trip: Bird Language and Tracking
  • April 18-19, 2020: Field Trip: Coastal Shelter Overnight
  • May 9, 2020: Final Field Trip: Horse Rock Ridge

Meet the Mentors

Our carefully chosen mentors for FOREST are:

  • Veteran staff with years of experience
  • Trained in Wilderness First Aid
  • Practitioners of their specializations outside of Whole Earth
  • Diverse in their teaching practices, for diverse students
  • Passionate about helping young people transition to adulthood

The leaders of our FOREST program are the same instructors who train our new staff. Each mentor has a wide variety of outdoor skills that they practice as well as skills for working with people of all ages and abilities. 

Whether a student is interested in nature writing, fire by friction, leatherwork, fishing, shelter building, whittling, or wildcrafting, we have a mentor with something to teach. They are also unique individuals who can relate to students over the latest radio hits, Dungeons & Dragons, video games, photography, athletics, and more.

Friends Outside Reviving Earth Skills Together