The Vermont Wilderness School is dedicated to restoring our relationships with nature, ourselves, and each other.
We envision a world where every person and every community is able to cultivate a deep connection with the natural world, and their place within it.
We believe this will only be possible alongside the replacement of systems of colonization, oppression, and extraction, with relational networks of equity, justice, and regeneration. We support the return, regeneration, and the revitalization of many ancestral life-ways as a crucial part of this shift.
Through offering direct embodied experience in nature, we aspire to support individuals expanding into their full selves, in thriving relationship with our multi-species environment. We see this work as our particular role in this greater movement of change.
Our programs are based in Abenaki homelands, the Connecticut River Valley bioregion of what is now known as southern Vermont.
Since 1999 we have offered nature-based mentoring programs for people of all ages, in southern Vermont and beyond.
Vermont Wilderness School youth programs provide immersive experiences in the natural world and build confidence, self-sufficiency, and aliveness in each child. Our adult programs train students experientially in nature awareness, wilderness skills, mentoring, and program design.
The opportunity to learn and play in nature is a right, not a privilege. The VWS Scholarship Fund and the VWS Reparations Fund together provide over $55,000 per year so that children, adults, and families can participate in VWS programs. Each year hundreds of community members donate to help us re-fill the these funds.
Our Mentoring Approach
Our mentoring approach is student-centric, curiosity-driven, and relationship-based. We emphasize:
- Deep sensory engagement with the natural world,
- Personal curiosity and passion,
- Embodied practice of earth-based and ancestral skills,
- Attunement to the unique learning journey of each student.
As instructors, we work to embody these principles and create a culture of continual learning and growth for everyone.
We hope you will join us!