Friends Outdoors Reviving Earth Skills Together, also known as FOREST, is Whole Earth Nature School’s answer to the need for teens to have a positive community of peers as well as strong, inspiring mentors. FOREST is a student-driven initiative designed for kids who are dedicated to deepening their nature skills. FOREST students work with some of our most veteran staff to deepen their nature and survival skills as well as nurture their leadership abilities.


Our profound, flagship 9-month experience.

  • Weekly meetings in clans of 5 students with a dedicated mentor
  • Customized goals/projects for each group and student
  • Monthly full-day excursions to exciting destinations
  • Overnight trips to test skills and play in nature together

2021-2022 Applications Coming Late Summer

F.O.R.E.S.T. Understory

School-year series that build epic skills.

  • Classes that fit into teens’ busy schedules
  • Focused projects that develop particular skill sets
  • Community connections with other nature-connected teens
  • Cool things to take home and show friends and family

2021-2022 Applications Coming Late Summer

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

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. Learn more about our staff.

Friends Outside Reviving Earth Skills Together