F.O.R.E.S.T. Mentorship PRogram
Friends Outdoors Reviving Earth Skills Together, also known as FOREST, is Whole Earth Nature School’s newest 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 programs for second and third year students now available.
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.
Mentors will schedule weekly meetings with their clan, in person, at Wayne Morse Family Farm. Meetings will be scheduled Monday-Friday 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.
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.
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! Fall features a mountain trip to test out your shelter building skills. The winter trip will be exploring skills in a snow environment. During spring we will be discovering survival and tracking in the coastal dune environment.
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!
Students who have completed the first year FOREST program are eligible to enroll in the second year program. Second year students will participate in all meetings and field trips, along with first year students. During these trips, second year students will serve as role models for first year students while developing their own skills at a deeper level. Each second year student will be required to choose an area of focus from our four Learning Pathways. Mentors will support and guide second year students in working toward their level two and three achievements in the path of their choosing.
Third Year Students
Third year students will continue to participate in regular meetings and field trips. However, third year students will also be responsible for helping to plan several of the all-day excursions for the year. Our mentors will support students in planning for curriculum, logistics, safety, and equipment needs for our trips. The third year students will then work in peer teams to lead excursions under the supervision of our staff mentors.
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.
Trip Calendar 2018-2019
- September 15, 2018: First FOREST Meeting (and parent orientation). Hendricks Park 1-4pm.
- September 22, 2018: Field Trip: Horse Rock Ridge
- October 13-14 OR 20-21, 2018: Field Trip: Central Oregon Shelter Overnight
- November 10 OR 17, 2018: Field Trip: Student planned
- December 22nd, 2018 (evening): Solstice Celebration
- January 12 OR 19. 2019: Field Trip: Student planned
- February 9-10 OR 16-17, 2019: Field Trip: Snowshoe overnight
- March 9 OR 16, 2019: Field Trip: Student planned
- April 12-14: Field Trip: Three day overnight to the Oregon Dunes (Departs after school Friday)
- May 11, 2019: Final Field Trip: Horse Rock Ridge
Enrollment begins in June of the calendar year the program begins.
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.