In September 2014, five brave young women will give up their lives as they know them to spend four seasons on the land, reconnecting with nature and practicing traditional living skills. Sometimes called experiential wilderness education, the girls will be participating in a year long “Caretaker Program,” which is essentially a nature immersion program. The idea is to get disconnected from phones, radio, TV, computers, malls, cars, etc and tune back in to the natural ebb and flow of life.
The Caretaker Program is sponsored by Coyote Trails School of Nature, a public non-profit 501(c)(3) based in Medford, Oregon, with a 1600-acre remote wilderness campus just east of Ashland, Oregon. Coyote Trails has taught kids, teens, adults and families the benefits and wisdom gained through experiential wilderness education. Traditional living skills such as: animal tracking, fire by friction, awareness, bird language, and flint knapping are all taught. The mission of the school is to “preserve our common heritage and the natural environment through the art and science of earth-based traditional living skills.” The school connects children of all ages to the outdoors and encourages them to explore and care for the environment.
To date, Coyote Trails School of Nature has provided outdoor nature education to over 22,000 children and adults. Classes are held primarily in Southern Oregon but also in such diverse locales as Kansas, Ohio and New Mexico and as far away as South Africa and Belize. Many of these participants live in the city and have had little or no opportunity to experience the healing effects of the natural world. Many children who lack connection with nature exhibit classic examples of “Nature Deficit Disorder” as hypothesized by Richard Louv in his book “Last Child in the Woods” and which is the subject of increasing study.
For the first time since the inception of the school, the yearlong Caretaker Program will be comprised of all girls. Five girls from various backgrounds will be brought together, pushing their boundaries, living the survival skills they have been taught and ultimately finding themselves through a year of living primitively.
Our film, 5 Women: 4 Seasons, will follow the trails, tribulations and ultimately the successes of these girls during the year-long process of completing the Caretaker program.