Jack Mountain Bushcraft Logo Bushcraft And Sustainability Field School
Bushcraft, Guide Training
& Wilderness Expedition School

Established 1999
- Ago Puteus Foris -
winter bushcraft and survival Registered Master Maine Guide

Jack Mountain Bushcraft School

Bushcraft, Guide Training & Wilderness Expedition School

 

 

2015: Our 17th Year And 31st Semester Program

We teach college-accredited, GI Bill approved semester and yearlong immersion programs in bushcraft and wilderness guide training, and lead multi-week canoe and snowshoe expeditions emphasizing traditional travel skills. We also offer folk school programs on building traditional gear and short courses on primitive skills and outdoor living.

In operation full time since 1999, we run programs at our field school in Masardis, Maine, and our folk school in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. We're the original long-term bushcraft immersion program, and still the leader, having run more of them than any other school (30 as of June, 2015). We've led expeditions in Maine, New Hampshire, Quebec, New Brunswick, Alaska and the Florida Everglades (more on our history).

Our instructors are Registered and Master Maine Guides licensed by the state. We help people become more skilled, more knowledgeable, more experienced and more confident by using traditional skills and a few simple tools.

We're the low-tech, high-skill alternative to the large, national wilderness education programs. Whether you're looking to go from city slicker to competent outdoor professional, want to experience a remote expedition, or just want to learn a few new outdoor skills, we've got you covered.

The best way to keep up with what we're doing is to join our email list. You should also check out our blog, where in addition to blog posts you can find our videos, podcast episodes and photos. If you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Tim Smith
Founder, Registered Master Maine Guide


Field school immersion programs for 2015. See all upcoming programs on our Calendar.

The Wilderness Bushcraft Semester

The original field-based wilderness bushcraft semester course focusing on practical, hard skills. Intense instruction and experience in bushcraft, ecology, crafting, guide training and wilderness living. Our flagship course.
Length: 9 Week Intensive
Session 1: 4/19-6/20, 2015
Session 2: 8/23-10/24, 2015
College Credits: 12
GI Bill: Yes
Tuition Financing: Yes
Maximum Size: 15
Tuition: $7100 - Learn More

Boreal Snowshoe Expedition

Winter survival and bushcraft intensive in northern Maine, followed by a traditionally-outfitted snowshoe journey deep into the North Maine Woods. Using toboggans, canvas tents and wood stoves, learn the art of long-term winter bush living.
Length: 2 Week Intensive
When: 2/8-2/21, 2015
College Credits: 5
GI Bill: Yes
Tuition Financing: Yes
Maximum Size: 10
Tuition: $2050 - Learn More

Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester

The classic Maine canoe experience with limited gear. Not just wilderness living skills, this is wilderness living as you cover hundreds of miles of Maine's most remote waterways.
Length: 4 Week Intensive
When: 7/12-8/8, 2015
College Credits: 6
GI Bill: Yes
Tuition Financing: Yes
Maximum Size: 10
Tuition: $3600 - Learn More

Yearlong Wilderness Bushcraft Immersion Program

Combines the three intensives into a deeper learning experience. Live the bush life and learn all the lessons it has to teach. Optional summer internships available.
Length: 15 Weeks
College Credits: 23
GI Bill: Yes
Tuition Financing: Yes
Maximum Size: 10
Tuition: $12,750 - Learn More

For the full range of our courses and trips visit our Program Overview page.


7 Elements Of Jack Mountain Bushcraft Programs

Skill - Journey - Craft - Nature - Culture - Sustainability - Self

Drawing on the philosophies of bushcraft we've developed running field courses for over fifteen years, the traditions of Maine Guides that go back generations, the Cree concept of miyupimaatisiium (translated as "being alive well") and the Scandinavian idea of friluftsliv (translated as "open air life"), the following seven elements comprise the components of our semester and yearlong programs.

1. Skill - Learn by doing. Too much of modern education is theoretical, abstract and sedentary, where the head is engaged but the hands are not. We depart from that norm with a tangible, hands-on approach that emphasizes being an active participant in the natural world and in life. Our 21-point curriculum focuses on necessary skills for the professional outdoors person.

2. Journey - Travel through remote parts of the north woods alongside professional guides, directly experiencing what you're learning. Live in the bush for extended lengths of time where the focus isn't simply how-to, but living with efficiency and grace that come with extensive experience.

3. Craft - Explore the world with your hands. Build useful items from materials gathered on the landscape. Man needs tools to live. Making these necessary items from materials gathered from the landscape bonds you to the land and makes you self-reliant.

4. Nature - Learn the language of the world around you. Study the weather, edible/medicinal plants, fungi, mammals and their tracks, birds, fish, mollusks, insects, amphibians, reptiles, rocks, minerals, soil, water, ice, celestial bodies and ecology.

5. Culture - Culture is the human element, or soft skills, which make or break an expedition. Learn management and leadership skills crucial to the professional guide and outdoor leader, as well as how to instruct effectively.

6. Sustainability - Life is different with minimal infrastructure. Learn the techniques of living a simple, low-tech life with minimal inputs by living them every day. Compost everything that will rot, grow food, reuse and repurpose resources, care for the land and leave it healthier for future generations.

7. Self - Learn your specific needs and boundaries. In a world of generalizations, it's important to know exactly what you need to function well. How much sleep do you need to function? How much water? How much of a bed do you need to make in order to sleep well? This is about intimately knowing yourself and what you need to do to keep your body alive and well. The only way to learn it is to live it.

Read more about our educational philosophy.


What Is Bushcraft?

Bushcraft is the active component of our interaction with the natural world. Both art and science, bushcraft is doing, making, crafting, traveling, building and living in the natural world. It is an inclusive term for doing things outdoors and is comprised of activities such as, but not limited to, primitive skills, modern survival, classic camping, expeditionary skills, prepping, hiking, paddling, crafting and outdoor living, as well as more specialized disciplines such as hunting, fishing and trapping. Bushcraft has no political agenda or worldview, isn't about preparing for the end of the world, and isn't an "ism". It is made up of people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds who share a love for being active outdoors.

Do You Teach Native American Spirituality?

No. We teach and model respect for the land and its inhabitants but we don't do so through new age religion or by misappropriating the spirituality and ceremonies of Native American or First Nation peoples. If you're looking for that type of experience please look elsewhere.


Not Just A Wilderness Survival School

There is much more to living an outdoor life than survival skills. Basic wilderness survival skills refer to the skills and knowledge necessary for making it a week in the forest. This level of knowledge is taught in our programs, but it's just the beginning.

Our curriculum also includes how to live there comfortably, how to make it home, and how to interact with the land in a deep and meaningful way. We created the genre of semester-length bushcraft and guide training programs, and have run more of them than any other school. So if you're just interested in learning just the basics, any school will do. But if you want to learn bushcraft on a deeper, more visceral level, to learn by doing, and to do it in region where moose and bears outnumber people, read through our site and get in touch with us.

There are new bushcraft and wilderness survival schools popping up every month, but be advised that there are no certifications with regard to licensing them. Anyone can simply declare themselves an expert, put up a web site advertising themselves as such, and a new school is born. But while there are hundreds of schools and courses advertised, there are very few full-time professionals.

We've been a full-time school and guide service since 1999. Our experience, curriculum, professionalism and commitment to excellence secure our spot among the top bushcraft and wilderness survival schools in North America.


Featured In:
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What our students say:

"The Wilderness Bushcraft Semester
profoundly changed my life."


Read more...

Life Member - MWGO
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Life Member - MPGA
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