Primitive skills living
Outdoor Living

Intro to Primitive and Natural Living Skills

Wisdom of the Earth

The Primitive and Natural Living Skills weekend course is designed to help you feel more connected to the natural world while learning foundational skills to live and interact with the landscape. Both instructors are Registered Maine Guides and Ancestral Living Skills Instructors.

This is a fun 3 day course, ideal for anyone looking to begin or enhance their career or lifestyle as a nature enthusiast, naturalist, outdoor educator, homesteader or wilderness Maine guide. We introduce many essential skills from knots and knives to natural movement and wildlife tracking. Each day is packed with practical skills like foraging, friction fires, and making primitive traps. 

After connecting with great like-minded people and nature you'll leave the weekend inspired to continue your learning journey in the Maine woods. 

All Inclusive - Expert Maine Guide Led - Intimate Group Size 

Welcome and Nature Awareness and Connection: We begin the course with unplugging from our busy lives and reconnecting with the Natural World. This is a chance to reset and be present for an exciting weekend. Awareness is the foundation of connection to the plants and animals we want to learn from. We work through a self-awareness sequence to help us read the landscape around us. The forest is no longer a wall of green, but a place where you can be comfortable knowing the trees, plants, birds, and tracks. 

Basic Skills, Foraging, and Fire: After an optional pre-breakfast natural movement class, we kick off the day with learning basic knife, hatchet, and knot skills. This leads us into carving your own digging stick so we can forage after lunch! We follow lunch with a lesson in foraging for edibles and medicinals common to the Maine Woods. Later in the afternoon we introduce friction fire methods to help us start our evening campfire where we can learn through story and community connection. 

Wildlife Awareness, Trapping, and Tracking: Our final day is focused on connection with the animal world and will start with an introduction to bird language and nature speak. We then build our own primitive traps followed by a more in depth wildlife tracking course. Here we will cover the basics of the animals native to our area as well as introduce the techniques of intuitive tracking. 

We will close our weekend with a discussion on designing your own learning journey so that you can continue to explore and deepen your connection with nature.

Weekend Equipment List:

This course runs rain or shine. Participants should bring anything they may need to feel comfortable. This includes adequate clothing and footwear to keep warm and dry. Wool or polypropylene are highly recommended in all weather. Wet weather clothing (including waterproof boots) should be brought in case of inclement weather. Wool or polypropylene are highly recommended in all weather and essential in the winter. 
In addition to clothing and outerwear, participants will need:

  • 4-6 inch non-folding sheath knife (Mora is an inexpensive and popular option)
  • Reusable, preferably steel water bottle.
  • Flashlight and/or headlamp with extra batteries
  • Notebook and writing instruments

Other items to consider:

  • Sunglasses
  • Bandana
  • Bug net, long sleeves and long pants for insect protection (Please be considerate with your choice and use of sunblock and/or insect repellent chemicals around other participants)
  • An open mind and sense of humor

June 18 - 21, 2020

Location: Mattawamkeag River Field Site

- Maine Guide Instructors - 

David Boynton and Rebecca Houghton

3pm Arrival

Mid Afternoon Departure


Includes all meals and lodging

Space is limited

About David & Becca


David Boynton

  I am a lifelong outdoorsman. I grew up in the woods and on a small farm in Northern New Hampshire which fostered my passions for canoeing, tracking and awareness, hunting, and fishing. I’m perpetually learning the natural living skills needed to thrive simply with the seasons in our amazing landscape. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Education from UNH and an MBA in Organizational and Environmental Sustainability. I spent 6 years as a USA Canoe and Kayak Athlete while running a small paddle sports store and adventure company with my twin brother in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. As the Staff and Facility Director at Adventure Links in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia I led training and activities for staff, youth, and adults ranging from paddle sports and rock climbing to challenge course and primitive skills. I spent some time after graduate school working at a local economy non-profit and as a founder and manager of a farm to table restaurant and craft brewery. Back to the wild, I joined the Maine Primitive Skills School Apprenticeship in 2018 and became a Registered Maine Guide. I am currently a Co-Founder of Northern Songlines Wilderness Education and teach wilderness medicine for Stone hearth Open Learning Opportunities. 

My hope is to help others find their way back to the wilderness.


Becca Houghton

 My love of the natural world and my appreciation for holistic well-being permeate every aspect of my life. I eagerly seek ways to unearth my most natural human self. After over a decade of studies in meditation, yoga, and Ayurveda, I discovered that I needed to get into the woods if I wanted to truly know myself. With the forest as my teacher, I have deepened my awareness and discovered true health and resilience. Some of my favorite forest activities are foraging wild foods and medicine, tracking, connecting with the birds, and moving playfully (and sometimes sneakily) through the landscape. I have found unimaginable joy by connecting with a tree or following a fox’s tracks into hidden places. The stories of the forest are rich, and they inevitably lead to better understanding our own story. My passion for guiding is rooted in my desire to help others reclaim true self-awareness, vibrant health, personal resilience, and natural movement skills. As a teacher and guide, I offer pathways for connecting with the natural landscape through plants, medicine, bird language, wildlife tracking, primitive crafts, spiritual awareness, and perhaps most importantly, through play, exploration, and adventure. I am a lifelong student but have accumulated a few relevant qualifications along the way: Registered Maine Guide, MovNat Certified Trainer (natural movement coach), Board Certified Ayurveda Health Counselor, Reiki II practitioner, former apprentice of Maine Primitive Skills School, SOLO-certified Wilderness First Responder, Mom.