Nature Studies & Outdoor Skills



Survival Skills for the Hiker, Paddler and Backpacker

Brian Manning

This class is geared toward anyone who pursues outdoor recreation in a wilderness setting. The basics of this course concentrates on the priorities needed to control the body's core temperature. These priorities are fire, shelter, water and self-aid. Topics include kit management, knife safety, fire making, tinder considerations, fire dependent and non-fire dependent shelters, water collection, navigation, lost proofing and search and rescue considerations, and more. Are you as prepared as you think you are? Kits are available for use during class and are covered in your materials fee. Students are responsible for these kits while in use and will turn them in at the end of class. At the end of class, students will receive a small fire kit to build on and a certificate.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $85
         Non-members: $105
  • Materials: $35
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $120 (members)         $140 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Day

Students may purchase kits in advance. Please contact AFS at least two weeks prior to the class. Students should bring a notebook and pen, lunch, a camera, any daily medications they may need, clothing applicable to the time of year and season and rain gear.

Sessions:

1049-0422 This offering has already met      Sat April 22, 2017 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

1049-0715 This offering has already met      Sat July 15, 2017 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

1049-1203    This offering is full - add me to the waiting list      Sun December 3, 2017 9:00 am - 6:00 pm




Walk the Earth in Wonder

Margo Mullein

In this course, we will explore the life cycle of plants through the model of the Native American Medicine Wheel. Discover how the four directions and seasons can be used as a guide map for living a sustainable life. The class will include a walk on the "wild side" with a meet and greet of medicinal plants growing in the area, so students can observe and tune into the plant life cycle. During each class, students will collectively build a medicine wheel out of natural objects, as well as engage in a hands on component of working directly with the plants at their peak. The class is offered during each season and each offering stands on its own. Full participation in each of the offerings is encouraged for a complete "walk around the wheel."

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $45
         Non-members: $55
  • Materials: $10
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $55 (members)         $65 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Half Day

Children 5 years of age and older are welcome with an adult. Dress for the outdoors. A journal is helpful. You may also bring a basket for harvesting, if you would like.

Sessions:

1053-1129 This offering has already met      Tue November 29, 2016 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

1053-0429 This offering has already met      Sat April 29, 2017 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

1053-0721 This offering has already met      Fri July 21, 2017 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

1053-0826 This offering has already met      Sat August 26, 2017 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

1053-1015 This offering has already met      Sun October 15, 2017 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

1053-1216    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat December 9, 2017 9:00 am - 12:00 pm




Introduction to Fly Tying

Paul Sinicki

What better way to appreciate the Adirondacks than through fly fishing and fly tying, with their long and rich local traditions. Fly fishing leads us to learn more about our environment and natural resources and increases the time we spend outdoors appreciating nature and living a healthier life. Most fly fishers become strong stewards of our resources as they learn to fish. Come learn the basics of tying your own flies with an expert instructor.

  • 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:

1144-0210    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat February 10, 2018 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

1144-0414    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat April 14, 2018 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

1144-1006    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat October 6, 2018 9:00 am - 12:00 pm




Winter Shelters & Backcountry Safety

Dave Muska

Winter is a wonderful time to explore the outdoors. Our northern forests are quiet and covered in a blanket of white snow. Animals not normally seen can be spotted now at a greater distance. A wonderful time for a snowshoe hike to follow animal tracks or a jaunt on your cross-country skis for a few hours to burn off that cabin fever. We love our winter activities here in the northeast, yet it is incredibly important to know how to keep yourself safe in the event of an emergency such as injury or becoming lost. This workshop will give you some incredible tools and knowledge on how to deal with those unexpected circumstances. Some of the skills covered will include what to carry in your daypack, how to stay warm with little to no gear, how to build a snow shelter (weather appropriate) for withstanding dropping overnight temperatures, and how to maximize the use of fire.

  • 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 for carving, and to wear weather appropriate clothing as a good portion of the class will be spent outdoors.

Sessions:

1251-0225    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sun February 25, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Build a Rustic Birdhouse

Don Polunci

Anyone can learn to make a rustic birdhouse in just a few hours. A birdhouse is a simple structure with seven basic parts: two sides, a front and back, a bottom, and two pieces for the top. Power tools are not necessary to cut the wood; it can be done with a handsaw. Using rough-cut lumber, you will construct a rustic birdhouse that can be functional and/or decorative. Choose from several birdhouse designs. There will be a short discussion about nesting birds, feeding birds, and suitable houses for area birds. Participants are encouraged to bring objects (such as old drawer pulls, door knobs, hardware, etc.) from home. Adults and teens welcome; children ages 10-14 must be accompanied by an adult.

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $45
         Non-members: $55
  • Materials: $10
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $55 (members)         $65 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Half Day

Sessions:

1148-0310    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat March 10, 2018 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

1148-0414    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat April 14, 2018 9:00 am - 12:00 pm




Seasonal Attunement - Walking the Wheel

Margo (Nelson) Mullein

Experience the seasons in a deeper way as we follow nature's journey through spring, summer, fall and winter. Using the sustainable blueprint of the Native American Medicine Wheel as our guide, we will create a Medicine Wheel from natural objects. Then walking the wheel, we'll stop at each segment for an in-depth look at: purpose of season, relationship of direction to season, animal totems, the elements, season to body organ relationship, and the life cycle and energy of plants. Then we'll return to the course room for the hands on portion of our class where each of us will create our own seasonally attuned herbal preparation: Spring - Plant Infused Oils, Vinegars & Butters; Summer - Best Dressed Salads & You; Fall - Botanical Scrubs for Face and Body; Winter - Breathe Deep Salve. A seasonally inspired lunch is included with your materials fee!

  • Location: AFS, 51 Main Street, Lake Luzerne, NY
  • Tuition:
         Members: $85
         Non-members: $105
  • Materials: $50
  • Total course cost due at registration time: $135 (members)         $155 (nonmembers)
  • Course Length: 1 Day

Dress for the outdoors, as we will be spending time with nature. What we make during the first class, will be weaved into the herbal preparations for additional offerings.

Sessions:

1249-0422    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sun April 22, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

1249-0722    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sun July 22, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

1249-0923    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sun September 23, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

1249-1216    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sun December 16, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Bird Language: Interpreting Calls and Movement

Dave Muska

Our fields and forests have a "news service" signaling to all who are aware. Birds report everything and understanding this language is an amazing way to deepen your outdoor experience. Interpreting bird language is an effective, fun, and exciting tool for observing the relationships of the natural world. Join Dave Muska of Ondatra Adventures in this interactive workshop as he introduces bird language and how to develop this amazing awareness and skill. This class does not require any prior knowledge of bird species or their calls.

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

Students are required to bring a notebook and writing utensil to this class, and to wear weather appropriate clothing as a portion of the day will be spent outdoors. *Photo credit: Marcy Herrick

Sessions:

1252-0520    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sun May 20, 2018 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:

1253-0602    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat June 2, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm




Introduction to Scything

Emmet Van Driesche

Learn how to use a scythe! A little knowledge is crucial for successful mowing with a scythe. Come learn how to adjust your handle, repair, peen and sharpen your blade, and sage honing and mowing habits. A variety of blades will be available to try so you can determine the right size and maker for your needs.

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

Students are required to wear closed toe shoes, and to bring a notebook and writing utensil. Students may also bring any scythe or scything equipment they may have.

Sessions:

1257-0609    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat June 9, 2018 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm




The World of Mushroom Foraging in the Adirondacks: Spring, Summer or Fall

Ryan Bouchard and Emily Schmidt

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". But experienced mushroom hunters will also be pleased with how much can be learned from this course. Students in this class will go beyond the beginner level, learning how to observe and describe the finer details of fungi in the way a mycologist does, and how to track down certain mushroom species by knowing the kinds of trees found in the region. This knowledge will allow the students to increase the number of species they can identify and appreciate (and even eat, in some cases). We will study techniques for mushroom photography, collections, storage...and yes, delicious wild mushroom COOKING. 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 cooking ideas 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:

1258-0615    Add registration to shopping cart

      Fri June 15, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
      Sat June 16, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
      Sun June 17, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

1258-0803    Add registration to shopping cart

      Fri August 3, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
      Sat August 4, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
      Sun August 5, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

1258-0928    Add registration to shopping cart

      Fri September 28, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
      Sat September 29, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
      Sun September 30, 2018 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:

1254-0714    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat July 14, 2018 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:

1255-0922    Add registration to shopping cart
      Sat September 22, 2018 9:00 am - 4:00 pm