The Residential Apprenticeship Program is a rigorous curriculum of outdoor education designed specifically to train present and future professional outdoor instructors, guides, counselors and teachers.

Selection Process

Each Apprentice is selected from a pool of applicants based on their motivation to learn and willingness to develop their profession as instructors and facilitators.

Selection of the Apprenticeship class is determined after selectees have attended a course or spent time at the school, have had their application selected from the applicant pool, and are accepted after the Apprenticeship Inventory Trip.

Curriculum and Training Details

The Apprenticeship is a three-phase program running six days a week. Between sixty and eighty hours of each week involves the application of essential outdoor skills. The design involves an immersion in nature for six months and demands the daily application of skills learned. Advanced Skills and Community Projects are also a part of each days training.

Students design and live in their own shelters for the duration of the apprenticeship. They also problem solve water flow and management issues through practical application and daily use of rain water run off and an invested care and maintenance of the springs on campus. The multiple year mentoring of sustainable wild food harvests through the seasons is also a big theme of the apprenticeship. This includes decisions and actions regarding the responsible spread (or containment) of key wild food sources and the results of such practices.

During this time, apprentices are given over five hundred hours of direct instruction and provided with resources for guided as well as self-study.

The Skills covered in the Apprenticeship are developed through hands on experiences directed toward specific outcomes related to producing a well rounded, skilled practitioner capable of demonstrating and sharing skills in natural settings.

Some of the topics emphasized through study and application include wildlife tracking, geology, natural history, field botany, ethno-botany, tool care, maintenance and crafting, permaculture design, primitive skills, bushcraft, guiding, ecology, medical herbalism, ethical foraging practices, the cultivating and propagating of wild food forests, mentoring, trip leading, community building, and grief counseling technologies.

This experience, upon successful completion, is designed to provide a solid foundation of basic to advanced skills in the out of doors. The focus of the apprenticeship program is to develop a professional outdoor educator with a high standard of field craft and a practiced set of reliable tools as an educator.

Seasonal Residential Apprenticeship Programs

Maine Primitive Skills School apprentices make snow shoes.
Maine Primitive Skills School apprentices make snow shoes.

2018 Dates

Spring into Summer Seasonal Residential Apprenticeship: April 24 – July 1

Summer into Fall Seasonal Residential Apprenticeship:  July 23 –  October 12

2019 Dates

Spring into Summer Seasonal Residential Apprenticeship: April 20 – June 30

Summer into Fall Seasonal Residential Apprenticeship:  August 4 –  Octrober 16




2018 Tuition Rates


One payment of $3,100 ($100 discount) Paid by March 1st

Four installments of $775 Paid by April 1st

Eight installments of $400 Paid by April 1st

Back to Back Apprenticeships (both seasonal apprenticeships): 

One payment of $5,900 ($100 Discount) Paid by March 1st

Four Installments of $1,500 Paid by April 15th

Eight Installments of $750 Paid by April 15th

Through direct experience learn seasonal approaches and challenges to shelter building, fire making, gathering water, tracking, foraging and herbal studies. This work involves a high degree of sensory and physical involvement. Build structures, forage for food and medicine, and improve the bounty of the landscape by sharpening our own skills within the disciplines covered.

Each season brings unique skills and opportunities. In Spring, tap Maple Trees and peel birch bark. Fishing replaces traps and snares in the Spring. Our efforts turn to wild greens, shoots, and young leaves for food and medicine. Forge knives from steel. In Summer, gather year round supplies of many medicines and tend to the garden. Pottery, shelter building, fire making, and gathering larders of berries, fruits, and wild rice are important summer activities.  Scout skills are strong in the summer too. In fall we gather and process roots, tubers, acorns, and deer.  Making Buckskin and snowshoes for winter are big Autumn projects. Winter is a time of story and healing. Long projects such as snow shoes and bow making are best suited by the woodstove or around the fire. Make ice picks and learn traditional winter skills for gathering food and maintaining a warm lodge.

Learn invaluable skills specific to each season toward greater self reliance, what it takes to build resilient community, and have a more sustaining and deeper connection with the landscape.  We are also looking for apprentices with the resolve and predisposition necessary to excel in the out of doors for long periods of time.  A predisposition to being a pro-active, hands-on problem solver is preferred. We will only accept six candidates for each apprenticeship. The Apprenticeship is not guaranteed until after the Inventory Trip at the beginning of each Apprenticeship. In the rare case that, during the Survey Trip, a candidate is not deemed a “good fit” with the school, either by the candidate or the school, a full refund of tuition will be given. Two spaces will be available for the sixth month residential program with preference going to seasonal graduates as they manifest.

Prerequisite: Completion of a five day intensive or two weekend course. Interview, and successful completion of inventory trip. Course attendance of Essential Outdoor Skills, Earth Living, or Backpackers Survival course is preferred. If accepted, one course fee may be applied to tuition.