Wilderness Immersion Program


6 months learning and living the primitive life in the Maine woods

Residential Program

The Wilderness Immersion Program is a 6 month residential apprenticeship offering a rigorous curriculum of wilderness education and primitive skills designed to instruct present and future outdoor instructors, guides, counselors, teachers and those who want to embody and live the skills of our ancestors every day.

For a full summer you will live in the woods and learn bushcraft skills including building primitive structures, learning survival skills, making friction fire, wild foraging, tracking, and hide tanning. Following the rhythms of the natural world, you will transition from survival to flourishing by creating mutually beneficial relationships with the living landscape here in the Maine woods.

Goal: Create instructors and “community builders” in outdoor education by increasing nature literacy and nature connection.

Program Structure

  • Inventory Trip

  • Survival

  • Foraging

  • Canoe Trip

  • Hunting Foraging

  • Mentoring

  • Re-Integration

  • Transition

This semester is a fully residential wilderness experience that focuses on the core curriculum of wilderness skills. You will be living in the woods and practicing skills most days. This semester sets the necessary foundations for the specialty skills developed in the second semester. To include:

  • Blacksmithing
  • Shelter Building
  • Foraging for food and medicine
  • Scout Skills
  • Fire Making
  • Sustainable Community Skills
  • Overall Emergent Skill Sets in Self-Reliance Living

For full syllabus and more general info

Click Here

2019 Dates: April 24 – July 1

Cost: $4,200


The second semester of the Residential Wilderness Immersion Program includes three main areas of focus.  These first is foraging for seasonal wild food larders like berries, wild rice, acorns and more.  The second is giving our apprentices teaching strategies and the chance to practice mentoring skills while receiving instructor feedback.  The third is allowing our apprentices the time and space to practice the hard and soft skills that they have gained during the first half of the program.  This manifests as structured free-time during the week and at least two multi-day “survival skills” trips in a wilderness setting.  We encourage those with limited time and funds who are considering the Summer/Fall semester as a stand-alone program to be aware that many of the foundational skill sets will be covered in the first semester and you will not graduate with the same certificate as those that complete the full program, but for those who have some experience in the outdoors and would like to deepen their skill-set in a supportive communal setting with access to skilled wilderness mentors and a landscape that will bring you wisdom this is the program for you.  Several second semester apprentices have attended over the last several years and have very much enjoyed the focus on wild food and medicine and have experienced a faster learning curve due to the peer mentoring of first semester apprentices who are eager to test out there newly acquired mentoring techniques. It includes a transition to living in a long term primitive shelter.

Foraging Skills:

  • Hunting – Bow Making Course
  • Food Harvests for year round survival – Blueberries, Wild Rice, Apples, Acorns,
  • Medicinal Plant Harvests

Mentoring Skills:

  • Gain teaching, facilitation, and leadership skills through real life experiences
  • Build a resume for future job opportunities

Long Term Living Skills Practice:

  • Two multi-day “survival skills” trips in a wilderness setting
  • Choose projects to pursue in your area(s) of focus

For full Syllabus and more general information

Click Here

2019 Dates: July 23 – October 12

Cost: $4,2000


This is the original apprenticeship program. It combines the two seasonal apprenticeships with the month of July off in between. It is the most rigorous and thorough route to learning survival, awareness, tracking, bush craft, and primitive skills. It is intended for folks who are committed to furthering:

  • a career in outdoor education leadership
  • a lifestyle of deep nature connection, simple living, hunting, and/or gathering.

For full syllabus and more general info

Click Here


  • Semester 1: April 24-July1
  • Semester 2: July 23-October 12

Cost: $7,890


Apply Now


I have learned more here than I have in college! I implement my learned skills into my everyday life, even in the city. There is something here for all different types of folks. Every time i go to the Skills School, I bring a brand new notebook and expect to fill it with information! I am the president of a primitive skills club at my college and the Maine Primitive Skills School has had a HUGE impact on our club by teaching us a lot of skills and supporting us along the way! Trust me when I say that this place is THE BEST!!!”

Tim Swanson, President of Primitive Skills Club Unity College

Every second there was a learning and growing experience…Maine Primitive School is not your average “by the book” learning experience, you will walk away a completely different person. I know I did…Not only did I gain so much more knowledge, courage and appreciation for the world around me, but I left with a new family of brothers and sisters that I will hold dear for the rest of my life…I went for the weekend primitive skills class and learned so much more than I could even process in one weekend and at the same time felt like it was a huge tease for what more there is to learn. I will definitely be going back for more classes and hope to see you there.

Amy Rosebrock, Earth Living Weekend Course

Thanks to a weekend with you I will never take matches and lighters for granted again. Anytime I go anywhere I now look at the lawns and trees differently. I am now recommending Earth Living to my friends. It is just a wonderful weekend spent getting closer to nature and making one think about our surroundings.

Nicole Frame, Earth Living 5 Day Course

It was an amaizing trip to the wondeful Maine Primitive Skills School with a lovely guest instructor. The people on the trip were incredibly varied but still by the end of 48 hours it really felt like a community. Lisa kept everything quite organized and running smoothly. I would definately reccomend both Toby and the Maine Primitive Skills School to anyone that enjoys the woods.

Scott Loren , All Levels Fall Survival Course

After months of researching and practicing skills on my own, I ventured to MPSS for two 5 day courses. I’d seen all their videos and followed all their links but needed to learn in person. What an incredible environment for learning. Not only is Mike and his team highly skilled, but very able to pass their knowledge to a broad range of students from all walks of life. Skills and knowledge are truly learned as you are met with patient instructors who allow you to fail, learn from those failures, and come to a much greater understanding through true experience. The facility is welcoming and perfectly suited for sharing these skills. Trails and outdoor courses provide an incredible playground to demonstrate, facilitate, and practice all the classes the school has to offer.


I wanted to thank you and the MPSS crew for a great workshop. I found this past weekend’s course structure and instruction very professional. This is obviously evidenced by the level of success demonstrated by each of the participants.

Deneen Bernier, Co-owner of Three Red Trees Outdoor Programs

Non-Residential Immersion Program

Want to learn all these skills, but don’t have the time to invest in a Residential Program? This includes:

  • Opportunity to take any/all of the school classes available for two years
  • Stay at the school for up to three weeks at a time (provided courses are being attended)
  • Opportunities to work on skills between classes with Residential group
  • Expected to share in the duties of community life while at the school

For full syllabus and more general info

Click Here

Dates & Pricing

Program Dates Cost Type
Full Year April 24 – July 1
July 23 – October 12
$7,890 Residential
Spring Semester April 24 – July 1 $4,200 Residential
Fall Semester July 23 – October 12 $4,200 Residential
Non-Res 3 years from start date of your choice $3,200 Non-Residential

Where They Are Now

Deneen Bernier
Mentor at White Pine Programs

Taylor Ackerman
Field Instructor at SUWS of the Carolinas

Braden DeLonay
Mentor at Whole Life Learning Center
Co-Founder at Work Shift Corporate Team Building

Lou Falank
Founder/Director Mountain Bear Programs and Guide Service

Check out what our “Where They Are Now” page for information on job placements and where are past students have gone!

Where They Are Now