Nature Studies & Outdoor Skills



Fairy Lore: Stories, Poems & Houses

Margo Mullein

Let the everyday slip away on this imaginative walk along the River Trail with Margo. Drawing from Celtic lore, she will weave a tale about Fairies, while connecting the dots between the Faerie folk of Ireland and the Adirondacks. During the walk we will each create a house out of natural objects for the Fairies of the River Trail forest. At the end of the trail, we'll sit around the fire for some Fairy bread and Enchanted tea. Here, Margo will share her experiences on the Fairy Tree Trail of Ardgillan Castle in Co. Dublin, Ireland, the story of the Cottingley Fairies of England, and a poem or two of Jeanne Robert Foster.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $45
         Non-members: $55
  • Course Length: 1 Half Day

Make a permanent Fairy House for your own garden or home at Don Polunci's Build a Fairy House and Fairy Door class held from 9am - 12pm on the same day. Fairy Houses created in this workshop are temporary structures intended and designed to remain in the Forest of the River Trail, and not to take home.

Sessions:

1455-0525    This session has been cancelled
      Sat May 25, 2019 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm




The World of Mushroom Foraging in the Adirondacks

Ryan Bouchard and Emily Schmidt

Join Ryan & Emily in spring, summer &/or fall and learn how to observe, identify and describe the finer details of fungi in the way a mycologist does. This course will familiarize students with mushroom science and the fun of mushroom hunting culture with an emphasis on the mushroom species of the Adirondacks that are considered "safe for beginners". We will study techniques for mushroom photography, collections, storage...and yes, delicious wild mushroom cuisine. Using wild mushrooms of the Adirondacks, we will demonstrate (and enjoy) various mushroom cooking concepts from around the world, as well as original wild mushroom recipes from Ryan and Emily. Ryan's book: Gourmet Mushrooms of the Northeast will be available for $20 at the class.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $330
         Non-members: $360
  • Course Length: 3 Days

Students should wear weather appropriate clothing, suitable for hiking. Students may wish to bring with them a notebook and writing utensil, pocket knife and camera (or phone with the ringer off).

Sessions:

1438-0607    Add registration to shopping cart

      Fri June 7, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
      Sat June 8, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
      Sun June 9, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

1438-0821    Add registration to shopping cart

      Wed August 21, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
      Thu August 22, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
      Fri August 23, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

1438-1003    Add registration to shopping cart

      Thu October 3, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
      Fri October 4, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
      Sat October 5, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Woodland Fairy Houses

Bart Pisha

Legend has it that Fairies still dwell in mountains and forests everywhere, and the Adirondacks are no exception to this. While I've not yet seen any of them, it's clear that the chilly winters of our region pose a special challenge to these elusive beings. Particularly during the colder months, but also year-round, they need shelter from prying eyes and from the elements as well. Participants in this course will help meet this need by constructing imaginative Fairy houses and furniture of materials found in the forest or from home. Using twine and hot-melt glue these structures will be built on cardboard sheets allowing them to be readily transported to one's home or any glade where Fairies congregate.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $85
         Non-members: $105
  • Materials: $$6 - $32
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $85 (members)         $105 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Day

Materials Fee Options: 1) $6.00 if you bring your own glue gun. 2) $16.00 includes a mini 110v glue gun with glue sticks. 3) $32 includes a full-size 110v glue gun with glue sticks. Please contact AFS for materials pricing and to state your choice.

Sessions:

1527-0608    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat June 8, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

1527-0922    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sun September 22, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Tinder Conk Fungus: The Many Uses of Fomes fomentarius

Dave Muska

The Tinder Conk Fungus has been used for tens of thousands of years for both utility and medicine across the globe. Join us as we explore the uses of this incredible and useful fungus native to the Adirondacks. In this class you will learn how to use this fungus for survival, medicine, fire craft and more.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $145
         Non-members: $155
  • Course Length: 1 Day

Students are required to bring a full tang or locking blade knife.

Sessions:

1507-0622    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat June 22, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Herbs: An Introduction to Herbalism

Amy Cason

Herbalism is an art unique unto itself. There are many aspects to be considered when we begin learning such an art. In this class, we will cover the fundamentals. Students will learn the importance of names, different types of herb preparations and why to use each method. Sustainable sourcing of herbs and the responsibilities of using plants will also be covered. Ten native and common herbs will be discussed in detail and supplied. Thorough discussions on these plants will allow students to start learning the properties of plants and their uses.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $85
         Non-members: $105
  • Materials: $45
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $130 (members)         $150 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Day

Sessions:

1396-0624    Add registration to shopping cart
      Mon June 24, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Herbs: How They Work

Amy Cason

Take an in depth look at how herbs function within the body. We'll take a walk back through history and view some of the theories about the use and effectiveness of plants as well as some of the more modern understandings of plants. We will also look at situations that can cause herbs to work less effectively than they should.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $85
         Non-members: $105
  • Materials: $45
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $130 (members)         $150 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Day

Sessions:

1397-0625    Add registration to shopping cart
      Tue June 25, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Herbs: Enhancing Efficiency and Strength

Amy Cason

Let's look at some of the factors that affect the efficiency and strength of our herbs, as well as the forgiving nature of plants. We will take an in depth look at various herbal preparations, the type of plants used in them, which parts of the plant are best to use for a truly effective product and how to best care for them so they maintain potency. We will talk about common herb preparations like Echinacea tincture and learn why herbs should be prepared in specific ways according to their desired effect. A look at the ideal use of herbal tonics and essential oils will help to understand many of the herbal products around us.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $85
         Non-members: $105
  • Materials: $45
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $130 (members)         $150 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Day

Sessions:

1398-0626    Add registration to shopping cart
      Wed June 26, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Wilderness & Backcountry Safety

Dave Muska

Join us as we explore fundamental skills and tools of wilderness survival. In this course you will be introduced to the skills necessary in keeping yourself and loved ones safe in the forest and off trail. We will cover fire making including friction fire, emergency shelter construction, water allocation and purification, as well as seasonal wild edibles. This is a great course for hikers, backpackers, and outdoors people alike. All skill levels are welcome.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $145
         Non-members: $155
  • Course Length: 1 Day

Participants are required to bring a full tang or locking blade knife for carving, and to wear weather appropriate clothing as a good portion of the day will be spent outdoors.

Sessions:

1508-0720    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat July 20, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Seasonal Attunement - Walking the Wheel

Margo Mullein

Experience the seasons from mother nature's perspective, as we follow her journey through spring, summer, fall and winter. This course is a blend of observations, teachings and hands on experiences which can guide us to live sustainably while incorporating a practice of attuning to the season. We'll begin on our River Trail to collect natural material which will then be used to create a Medicine Wheel, based on Native principals. Walking the wheel we'll stop at each segment for an in-depth look at what it has to offer us, discussing the 4 seasons, their corresponding compass direction, animal totems, elements, body organ relationship and the life cycle / energy of plants. Working with plants at their peak, we'll harvest plants from the wild and return to the course room for the hands-on portion of our day, where each of us will make and take our own seasonally attuned herbal preparation: SPRING (4/28): Plant Infused Oils; SUMMER (7/21): Balms for Bites, Stings, Rashes; FALL: (10/27): Botanical Scrubs for Face and Body; WINTER (12/8): Breathe Deep Salve. A seasonally inspired lunch is included in each class!

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $85
         Non-members: $105
  • Materials: $45
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $130 (members)         $150 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Day

The herbal preparation made during the first class (spring), will be the base ingredient throughout the other seasons. While each class stands on its own, the work is accumulative. A seasonally inspired lunch is included, so please let us know of any food allergies or dietary restrictions.

Sessions:

1354-0428 This offering has already met      Sun April 28, 2019 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

1354-0721    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sun July 21, 2019 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

1354-1027    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sun October 27, 2019 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

1354-1208    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sun December 8, 2019 10:00 am - 4:30 pm




Herbs: Emergency Survival Situations

Amy Cason

Throughout the history of humanity, the ability to care for the sick and wounded has been part of everyday life, a necessity of survival and a staple in every family. The knowledge of what plants to use for food, wound care, infections and contagious diseases were paramount for life. This class will focus on the historical use of native and common plants for emergency and survival situations.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $85
         Non-members: $105
  • Materials: $45
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $130 (members)         $150 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Day

Sessions:

1399-0904    Add registration to shopping cart
      Wed September 4, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Herbs: An Alternative Approach to Pain

Amy Cason

Chronic pain is one of the most common daily problems in our nation today. This class will look at using a holistic approach to eliminate the pain from our lives as opposed to using prescribed narcotics to suppress the pain. We will look at some of the causes of pain and inflammation in our daily lives and discuss a multitude of options for dealing with them. Different foods that can help along with herbs and other natural therapies that the students can incorporate into their daily lives, will be discussed and made.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $85
         Non-members: $105
  • Materials: $45
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $130 (members)         $150 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Day

Sessions:

1400-0905    Add registration to shopping cart
      Thu September 5, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Herbs: A Natural Approach to Antibiotics

Amy Cason

Antibiotics are a hot topic today. Learn about the body's natural defense systems, natural immunity and how infections affect the body. We will also discuss the difference between plant-based antibiotics and ones created in the laboratory. We will learn how to make different herbal preparations for common occurrences like the stomach flu, anti-fungal tea and chest colds. Superbugs, candida, resistance and our modern understanding of contagious diseases will be discussed as well.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $85
         Non-members: $105
  • Materials: $45
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $130 (members)         $150 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Day

Sessions:

1401-0906    Add registration to shopping cart
      Fri September 6, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Art of Friction Fire

Dave Muska

In this class you will learn time-tested techniques to starting fire with friction. Yes, you can do that! We will cover the local species of plants that provide the greatest success along with the fundamental components of friction kits, how they work and why they sometimes don't. You will leave this class with a new appreciation for the gift of fire along with the tools and knowledge to create fire on your own. Subjects covered will include tinder bundle collection and construction, strap drill (2 person), bow drill (1 person) and hand drill. All participants will build their own friction kits to take home.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $145
         Non-members: $155
  • Materials: $10
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $155 (members)         $165 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Day

Students are required to bring a full tang or locking blade knife for carving, and to wear weather appropriate clothing as a good portion of the day will be spent outdoors.

Sessions:

1509-0928    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat September 28, 2019 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Introduction to Fly Tying

Paul Sinicki

This is a fun and relaxing art that helps keep your fingers nimble and creative ideas flowing. This class is designed to help beginners learn to place materials on a fishing hook and the intermediate tiers to hone their skills. The flys to be tied in the class will be determined by the skill of the students. Materials used in the class will be natural and synthetic. We will also go over different tools and substitutes used. If you have your own fly tying tools please bring them, if you do not have a tying kit, one will be provided to use.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $45
         Non-members: $55
  • Materials: $15
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $60 (members)         $70 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Half Day

Sessions:

1403-0330 This offering has already met      Sat March 30, 2019 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

1403-1006    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sun October 6, 2019 9:00 am - 12:00 pm




Autumn Landscapes and the Full Hunter Moon Photo Tour

Carl Heilman II

While each season in the Adirondacks has its own special qualities, the most spectacular is when the trees on the hillsides are vibrant with fall color. Spend a day photographing the southeastern Adirondacks during the peak of color, with Carl Heilman as your guide and mentor. After meeting briefly at the Folk School for an introduction and to cover any initial questions, the rest of the day will be spent photographing at several different nearby locations. There are many beautiful river, waterfall and lake vistas that are reasonably close to the Folk School. This tour will take best advantage of the fall foliage and colorful landscape. One of the goals of the day will be photographing the full moon as it rises in the evening sky, so we'll also find a nice location to do moonrise / twilight photos. Moon rise is 6:16pm and sunset is 6:17pm. The moon should be coming up above the horizon soon after the sun goes down offering a variety of photo ops for sunset, moonrise and moonlight photos.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $195
         Non-members: $205
  • Course Length: 1 Day

This nature photography tour is designed for those who are already comfortable with camera basics such as the relationship between aperture, shutter and ISO settings. During this 8-hour day we will start with a brief introduction/discussion and then will have the rest of the afternoon and evening to photograph and experiment with photo techniques in the field. We can car pool for anyone returning back to Lake Luzerne, otherwise it will be best to drive. Since we will be in the field most of the day, be sure to bring along food, snacks, water and any extra clothing for the day. An umbrella and/or camera cover can be helpful if there are showers. Also be sure to have at least one extra fully charged battery, the camera manual and extra memory cards.

Sessions:

1529-1021    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat October 12, 2019 11:00 am - 7:00 pm