photo: Colin McCarthy

Nature is not a place to visit. It is home. – Gary Snyder


Philosophy

Not long ago, all of our ancestors lived in rich communion and reciprocity with the Earth. The skills and practices essential to their survival – stewarding land; gathering, hunting and growing food; constructing dwellings; building fires – were fundamentally creative and meaningful acts. The wild was not hidden away in a state park, it was home, and our home received our closest attention, highest veneration, and most loving care. Our ancestors tended the wild, and the wild tended them. We come from wildtenders.

Many of us feel disconnected, unhealthy, and lost. Fortunately, through the cultivation of our relationships with the natural world, our selves, and our communities, we can re-wild. We can reclaim the depth of connection and sense of true belonging that is the birthright of every person on Earth.

What we practice

Wildtender cultivates authentic and reciprocal relationships with self, community, and the natural world. Our work explores what it means to be a human (animal) being, fully alive in this beautiful and mysterious world.

We offer hands-on experiences and immersive excursions that establish intimacy with place, build earth-based skills, facilitate healing, and gather wisdom from the land and its many inhabitants.

California’s powerful and biodiverse landscape provides fertile habitat for expansion and exploration. Our roots run through numerous bioregions, especially Big Sur, Ojai, Santa Cruz, Marin County, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and Yosemite. 

Wildtender draws upon many potent streams of wisdom, psychology, and healing. Our work weaves together nature connection, relational and awareness practice, creative exploration, regenerative land stewardship, agrarian and pan-ancestral traditions, and wilderness rites of passage.

We are inspired by intersectional social and environmental justice and healing efforts, and hope to empower community leaders who are committed to transforming themselves, their communities and the Earth.

Honoring our Teachers

We bow in gratitude to the many teachers and wisdom bearers who have directly informed our work and personal growth, including:

Gestalt practitioners Dorothy Charles (Relational Gestalt Practice) and Eric Erickson; Deep Ecologist and Work that Reconnects founder Joanna Macy; ethnolinguist and Big Sur medicine-bridge Jaime de Angulo; wilderness-poet-laureate Gary Snyder; Big Sur wilderness awareness guide Steven Harper; soil-sniffing wilderness freak Hall Newbegin, soul quest guides Bill Plotkin and Geneen Haugen (Animas Institute); ethnobotanist and feral poet Dale Pendell; intentional community organizer and group facilitator Adam Wolpert (Occidental Arts & Ecology Center); M. Kat Anderson (author of Tending the Wildthe inspiration for our project name); skillful practitioners at the ancestral arts & skills focused Buckeye Gathering; ceremonial guides Wingte Tihikpas, Dulce Maria Perez, and Erika Gagnon; and many agricultural teachers including Shirley Ward, Amigo Bob Cantisano and Wendy Johnson.