Hello All!

The Amazing Micro Scouts are seeking a few more intrepid explorers age 4-6 to join their crew!

The class is scheduled to run with a focus on Quaker Brook and our Fridays will be filled with eco-games and explorations to build a sense of comfort in the natural world… We’ll be tracking along the water’s edge, learning about the animals and their homes, sharing water stories from around the world, creating nature crafts that float and fly, making maps, learning lostproofing techniques to keep us safe and found in the big outdoors… guaranteed to be tons of learning, play and fun!


I’ll be doing an info-session this coming Tuesday, April 5th at 10am for anyone interested… If you’d like to see the facilities or have questions regarding the program, this would be a great opportunity.  If you’re debating whether or not to enroll, now is the time! All Whole Earth Families are welcome to attend and please pass this message along to anyone you feel might be interested.

Please let me know if you plan to join us and wear sturdy shoes for short hike around the beautiful property!

Thank you all so much!

Eva Rupert
Whole Earth Homeschool Program Coordinator
Great Hollow Wilderness School YMCA


Here is a peek at the varied and valuable learning objectives for the upcoming Wilderness Skills semester. This class just gets better and better! These are skills not just for the wild, but for living a strong, capable life during times of change, uncertainty, and disconnection.

*Wilderness Skills is for serious students with a maturity level that can safely handle these topics. Ages 12-17.*

Advanced knife techniques–  ever hear that the only thing you really need in the wilderness in order to survive is a knife? Learn carving techniques that will make your knife able to cut down trees,  slice 1/2” sticks in half easily,  and manufacture all the things you need quickly,  safely and easily. Knife technique and safety in-depth.
Includes- sharpening, oiling, proper grip, thumb pushing, back hand pull cut, feather stick cutting, sapling bend cut,  limb removal,  chiseling, boring.

Animal food– Trapping/hunting education for sustenance:  focusing on animal life cycle, behavior and physiology of the following animals: Deer, rabbit, squirrel, coon, and trout.  Snares,  deadfalls, and basket traps will be learned in-depth by safety trapping these animals on their natural routes with hand crafted equipment.  Also setting up hunting areas and learning to choose what areas are most productive and when. Local laws, hunting regulations and resources will be referenced. Snares/deadfalls placement and strategy,  fishing traps,  deer hunting preparation, catch and release fishing with minimalist equipment.

Projectiles- Throwing stick use and practice,  and archery refinement,  as well as a one day crossbow.

Throwing, stalking,  seeing, and hitting the mark

Advanced fire making- learn to make fires faster,  more easily,   and under more severe conditions.  I’ve learned a lot of new things that I can’t wait to share! Make a fire in five minutes with a 2” diameter stick and a match (no tinder),  Bow drill revisited and understood.

Food/Medicine prep–  The Big Four survival plants inside and out –  all medicine/food//utilitarian uses of quercus, pinacea, typha, and grasses(including phragmites,  etc.) will be covered.  Ever eat grass roots? These pants are listed as the most important survival plants to know.  Steamed grass roots/stems,  oak bark flour,  uses for tannic acids,  pine bark flour,  pitch gum, pine needle tea recipes, cattail stalks, hand drill,  pollen, pain killer.

Survival Medicine,  study on common wilderness maladies and their wilderness cures such as gastro-intestinal complaints, poisoning, common injuries,  fever,  headaches,  dehydration,   hypo/hyperthermia.

Students should please bring: knife w/sheath (available for $12 via North Wood Traditional Archery LLC),  wood matches, fish hooks and line, glass bottles, bandannas, binoculars (if available),  extra layers, hat, extra wool socks.  notebook, extra pencils/pens, swim suit (and the regular items required for Great Hollow Days, please refer to Director or Policy Document.)

Photo credit: Colin Cooke

Photo credit: Colin Cooke

Photo credit: Colin Cooke

Witch Hazel blossoms, harvested by the Jr. Naturalists

The start of the leaf changing

Barberry with fruits

White Willow Tree

Gh flower girls2


This is an official request to help us fulfill our precious MicroScouts Nature progrgam … we just need a few more kids to make sure we do not have to cancel. Please help spread the word!!!

In our MicroScouts program your little nature romper (age 4-6) will have the opportunity to spend the day (9-3) having fun outside while learning together. We play games, observe wildlife, learn plants, explore the forest, field, and river, and always find unexpected delight in the day!

Your energetic and experienced wilderness instructors Ingmar and Eva – long time Great Hollowers – are top-notch for fun and safety, along with “big sister” counselor McKenzie – everyone feels at home enough to challenge themselves and have an unforgettable day every week.

Calling all nature loving kids!!!

For more information and for registration forms, please browse this website or call 860-746-5852



News Times Coverage!

Great photos of our programs in the Danbury News Times.

Thanks for visiting us!

This fall Dan and I will be shifting into skills not covered in the previous two sessions.

In the forefront will be a formal sharpening lecture with arrow making close behind. This will be setting up the class to delve into the skills needed to become a successful bow hunter which will involve hunting strategy, awareness exercises, ground blinds and the instinctive shooting method. So bring your bow. Fishing and trapping will also be a pert of this falls curriculum. But lets not forget about plant food, as we will be getting a firm grasp on all the gifts offered by the “big four” survival plant families including utilitarian, medicinal, and edible properties. Yes they are edible too! There will be shelter building of course, but that will not be the main focus at this point.

Fire making, martial arts, awareness, and survival, whats not to love! Expect a great session for all those who are coming!

And to add to this, Dan will be facilitating indigenous communication and problem solving techniques, based on writings by Jeannette Armstrong:

“To the Okanagan People, as to all peoples practicing bio-regionally self-sufficient economies, the knowledge that the total community must be engaged in order to attain sustainability is the result of a natural process of survival. The practical aspects of willing teamwork within a whole-community system clearly emerged from experience
delineated by necessity. However, the word cooperation is insufficient to describe the organic nature by which members continue to cultivate the principles basic to care-taking one another and other life forms, well beyond necessity.”

Greetings Families!

September 14 will mark the first day of a new Fall season of Whole Earth Homeschool at Great Hollow! We are so excited.

Here are some important details and some additional information on our programs in general……

Our registration is still open, first come first serve. If you are a returning family and your forms are pending, please let us know right away so your spot doesn’t get away.

If you are a new family, don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or if your registration is on the way. Some of these classes fill up very fast!

Registration forms are found on the registration page here on this blog (registration tab at the top of your page or the link provided). You need all three forms completed with a deposit before classes begin. We are strict about paperwork because we know your children are precious and your paperwork information gives us what we need to keep them as safe and happy as possible while romping through the backwoods!

Program overviews are located on the “about” page (see above navigation bar or use link provided).

Our programs are designed with a balance of freedoms, challenges, and purposeful structure. It is all based on nature and/or interdependence principles. Although our classes each have their own distinct emphasis, in all we do we weave together natural awareness, purposeful play, creative problem solving, team building, physical challenge, hiking, quiet times, journaling, water exploration, and the art of questioning. Survival skills are integrated to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the class.

All of our instructors are inspiring and well-trained. Each one is with us because they possess that special something; an exceptional skill set, bright and inspiring energy, wilderness awareness and animal knowledge, adventure training….. they each bring immense dynamic and individual gifts to the program.  Each class is assigned two instructors, who are paired with the best class for their skills and experience. Staff are trained in experiential education concepts and Whole Earth Homeschool curriculum, policy, protocol, first aid, and wilderness safety. Every course carries a fully stocked med-kit with them. Each group also creates and implements a group constitution which remains their personal compass of self-governing for the semester and sometimes beyond.

If we are blessed enough to share the magic of the Hollow and the joy of learning in nature with your family this year – we say thank you!

Earth teach me stillness

Earth teach me stillness

as the grasses are stilled with light.

Earth teach me suffering

as old stones suffer with memory.

Earth teach me humility

as blossoms are humble with beginning.

Earth teach me caring

as the mother who secures her young.

Earth teach me courage

as the tree which stands alone.

Earth teach me limitation

as the ant which crawls on the ground.

Earth teach me freedom

as the eagle which soars in the sky.

Earth teach me resignation

as the leaves which die in the fall.

Earth teach me regeneration

as the seed which rises in the spring.

Earth teach me to forget myself

as melted snow forgets it’s life.

Earth teach me to remember kindness

as dry fields weep in the rain.

~Ute, North American prayer

Join Clinical Herbalist, Plant Lover, and exceptional Great Hollow Homeschool Mentor for…

A Summer of Healing with the Plants

a nature immersion learning experience for adults

at Great Hollow Wilderness School ~ 800 acres of educational sanctuary land

Wild Medicine Intensive ~ June 26 & June 27
During this weekend intensive learn to identify, harvest and turn our wild local medicinal plants into useful remedies to stock the pantry. Fee: $125; materials fee: $25

Talking with Trees ~ July 17

In this day-long exploration of the Tree Nation, learn about trees in their natural habitats; explore folklore and tree symbolism; medicinal uses of various parts of trees and harvesting and preparation of tree medicines.
Fee: $62.50; materials fee $15

Flower Essences ~ July 18

Spend a day among the flowering plants of New England. Learn the techniques for making your own Flower Essences, the energetic medicine of the flower. Fee: $62.50; materials fee $15

The Herbal Kitchen ~ July 24

Explore your pantry! Learn about the spices and ingredients you already have at home and how they can be used to make effective home remedies for your family. Fee: $62.50; materials fee $15

Intensive Medicinal Plant Walk ~ July 25
Explore our forests, fields, rivers and gardens and learn about the medicinal, edible and functional uses of New England native plants and common weeds. Fee: $62.50

*Advanced cash only materials fee and $25 deposit is required. 10% discount for multiple classes.*

~ All classes from 9 am to 3 pm ~

For information call Great Hollow Wilderness School 203-746-5852

Thanks and please spread the word!

It’s the peak of spring and Whole Earth Homeschool is off to a blossoming start. The water is glistening with beauty and the woods are filling in fast with lush greenery.
The old apple trees of Great Hollow, a former orchard, are exploding with sweetness all over the place, a reminder of the fleeting moments in spring, as well as the fall harvest we anticipate.
The students and staff have been exploring adventures such as fire challenges, rappelling, blindfold tag, bow-drill skills, and the botanical mysteries and wonders of flowers. There never seems to be enough time in the day to explore and learn all that we wish.
And of course, as much as we plan our lessons, prepare our day, and carve our time slots, nature always delivers her own agenda. Rain, water filled trails, thorn bushes, and fleeting gallops by the coyote deliver us the most vital awarenesses of all.

And so with the momentum of the season, we run with it.