Before I say anything about myself I would like to recognize & thank all those who came before me. Nobody is born with skills and information. Everyone is inspired by someone, although I am self taught and have tested everything I teach through trial and error.... I have gleaned enormous amounts of information from other teachers, books & stories...to remember that someone else's hard work played a role in our development is important. Thank you to anyone who has been generous with their knowledge by writing a book or has inspired me through their actions, because without those individuals I would not be where I am today. None of this is new, anyone claiming to be an innovator in the primitive skills world obviously has an ego too big to pick up a history book. Nobody owns these skills, they are HUMAN SKILLS. 

I knew what I wanted at a young age

Since the age of 10, I have been deeply immersed in nature and the study of wilderness survival. Unlike many, my passion only grew stronger and eventually bloomed into a full blown life-consuming obsession with nature. I have been living, learning and testing my skills for 20 years. I taught my first class as an assistant at age 16 (hand-drill friction fire making). At 18 I began teaching professionally. I've been teaching year-round for close to 10 years , I have taught thousands of people how to make fire with just a couple sticks, how to insulate and stave off hypothermia using materials found in nature, how to disinfect & purify water, procure calories and many other important skills. I have personally spent an enormous amount of time testing my skills in a variety of environments. I live these skills and take what I do very seriously.

 I am passionate about what I do and take my job very seriously. (Advising people on how to keep themselves alive is not a "light" subject in my opinion). Teaching primitive skills, wilderness survival, bushcraft, ancestral life ways (or whatever you choose to call it) is how I make my way in the world.

My Wikiup home, located deep in the santa cruz mountains.  Without camo it would have likely been vandalized as many of my primitive homes have. Under the camo is a spiraling pattern of large logs covered in bark, build over a 3 foot deep pit dug into the ground lined with sand and floor was eventually covered in large flat rocks (tile). Live Tan oak trees were woven in to further blend it in throughout the seasons. 

My Wikiup home, located deep in the santa cruz mountains.  Without camo it would have likely been vandalized as many of my primitive homes have. Under the camo is a spiraling pattern of large logs covered in bark, build over a 3 foot deep pit dug into the ground lined with sand and floor was eventually covered in large flat rocks (tile). Live Tan oak trees were woven in to further blend it in throughout the seasons. 

Age 17, Seep Willow on Juniper (my senior picture)

Age 17, Seep Willow on Juniper (my senior picture)

It's who I am... 
I don't have a backup plan, I don't have a desk job that pays the bills on the side. What I have is what I have spent the last 20 of my life cultivating: my skills, experience & knowledge. 
One of my first debris shelters as a kid. I slept in shelters just like this on and off for two years on this property in northern CT.

One of my first debris shelters as a kid. I slept in shelters just like this on and off for two years on this property in northern CT.

P ocket Ride, Santa Cruz 2016  Photo- Scott Kennedy

Pocket Ride, Santa Cruz 2016 Photo- Scott Kennedy

My Philosophy

I believe that humans MUST re-connect with nature, for their health and sanity. As a species we have created our own little zoo, we build our habitats within our home and don't consider what we need as an animal (yes, we are animals). You wouldn't take a coyote and lock it in a room with a TV, couch and bathroom and expect it to be very happy and/or healthy. That coyote would need to go outside and interact with the environment that it is MEANT to be in. We are no different from that coyote. Thus we are suffering the consequences of a life in an artificial habitat that we are NOT meant to live in full time.

There are numerous studies that illustrate the health benefits of time spent in nature. What does that tell you? Modern technology has come with a cost; we isolate ourselves from our habitat and connect to the outside world with our devices. I would argue this is the most disconnected, yet connected time in human history. We are overweight, our senses are atrophying from lack of use, our minds are falling apart from the lack of meaningful connection and our lives are consumed by money, wealth and comfort.

It is an unfortunate fact that most Americans would die within 72 hours in a wilderness survival setting. How is that possible? We are DESIGNED to live in nature, we come FROM nature and now we can't even survive a few days in our natural habitat? I believe that our lack of connection is killing us and the planet. Those that learn about survival, then learn about the plants and trees (so they know how to best use them), then the animals (so they know how to avoid or hunt them), then the weather (to know when a storm is coming), then the topography (to navigate and find water) are better equipped to not just survive, but thrive in nature. Through the realization of the importance of nature, a connection develops. Those who are connect are more likely to stand up for the earth.  

 

 

I am also a very passionate angler and began my own fishing guide service in 2014 (www.fishtherip.net) . I currently guide a handful of clients a year, although I love guiding...my passion is survival, and fishing is another means of gathering calories. 

I am also a very passionate angler and began my own fishing guide service in 2014 (www.fishtherip.net) . I currently guide a handful of clients a year, although I love guiding...my passion is survival, and fishing is another means of gathering calories. 

Trimming in Marin County, CA 2017    Photo: Matt Borries

Trimming in Marin County, CA 2017 Photo: Matt Borries