photo: Ian Momsen
Wildtender offers immersive wilderness programs that cultivate reciprocal intimacy with the earth, connect with wisdom traditions, and nurture human wholeness.
Not long ago, all of our ancestors lived in reciprocity and rich communion 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 true heritage and 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 immersive wilderness programs that cultivate intimacy with place, build earth skills, connect with wisdom traditions, and nurture wholeness and belonging.
California’s powerful and biodiverse landscape provides fertile habitat for expansion and exploration. Our roots run through numerous bioregions, especially Big Sur (Esselen land), Ojai (Chumash land), Santa Cruz (Awaswas land), Marin County (Coast Miwok land), the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Paiute, Mono & Miwok land), and Yosemite (Ahwahneechee land).
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 Wild, the 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.