2011 Nature Series


What is it?
The Ozark Nature Connection Series (ONCS), is a progression of weekend and daylong workshops focused on cultivating personal connections with the natural world. We will be utilizing curriculum based upon the techniques found in the Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by Jon Young et al. Our goal is to increase nature awareness and deepen appreciation of place through nature-based mentoring techniques such as field observation, sensory awareness, animal tracking, ethnobotany, ecology, survival skills, and bird language. Workshops build on each other and will provide participants with Core Routines for deep Nature Connection that can be utilized anywhere!

Where is it?
The ONCS will take place on the Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge at the Mary & Murray Looney Education and Research Center in Colcord, Oklahoma (MMLERC). The MMLERC is more than one-hundred acres of lush mountain forest and natural springs adjoining crystal clear Spavinaw Creek.

When is it?
ONCS 2011 workshops will be once a month starting in April and ending in November 2011. Weekend workshops begin at 4:00 p.m. on Friday and end at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. Daylong workshops begin Saturday at 9:00 a.m and end at 5:00 p.m. Check the calendar for dates and times.

How much will it cost?
We are excited to announce that we have received a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to help fund the ONCS!  Workshops are tailored to small groups to reduce the instructor-student ratio and we suggest that you register ahead of time to ensure your spot.

Registration is limited to 20 participants so please sign up early.  If you choose to register for individual workshops, each Weekend workshop is $95.00/person and includes food and camping. Daylong workshops cost $35.00/person.

Who can attend?
Anyone with a passion for nature! This curriculum works for everyone, regardless of level or skill. The workshops are tailored for beginners and master naturalists! Please be aware that you do need to be physically fit to do many of the workshop activities which often involve hiking off-trail on unstable terrain and bending down to identify tracks or plants. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Additional Details
For the weekend workshops, we will be camping on the MMLERC property and healthy meals are included. For daylong programs, please bring your own lunch.

For further information please contact us at info@ozarktrackers.org or 479.267.0420

ONCS Schedule

OTS Nature Connection Expo
Saturday, March 26th, 2-6 p.m.

Come and spend the day outside and get a feel for what it is that the Ozark Tracker Society is all about.  We will spend the afternoon playing games, tracking, practicing survival skills and seeing what natural mysteries the land has to share.

Participants will get a free introduction into the Core Routines of our Nature Connection curriculum including:

  • Wilderness Survival
  • Animal Tracking & Deep Nature Observation
  • Nature Awareness Exercises & Games
  • Bird Language and the Art of Invisibility
  • Edible & Medicinal Plants
  • Mentoring youth and Community Building

The Nature Connection Expo will be open to the public from 2pm to 6pm.  We will be basing our activities out of the Lake Fayetteville Aquatic Center so some basic amenities will be available (e.g. toilet, running water).

This event is open to the public and all ages, but please contact us via info@ozarktrackers.org or 479.267.0420 to give us an idea of how many folks to expect.

Ozark Nature Connection Series (ONCS), April – November 2011

ONCS-1, Introduction to Nature Connection: Increasing Comfort in the Wild
Saturday, April 16, 2011

Experience the basics of Nature Connection as we explore the intricacies of the Ozark Highlands. In this workshop we will focus on increasing our awareness and observation skills while learning the Core Routines for nature connection which we will practice throughout the series. Learn how to feel more at home in the wilderness and how to deal with potential hazards, such as poisonous plants and venomous animals and how to “stay found”. An exciting weekend full of stories, games, and relaxation in nature.

Core Routines:

  • Sit Spot
  • Expanding Our Senses
  • Nature Journaling

ONCS-2, Beyond Birding: Messengers of the Wilderness
Friday-Sunday, May 13-15, 2011

Unlock the secrets of the wilderness by attuning your attention to the voices of the birds. Awareness of the body language and vocalizations of birds allows us to identify patterns in nature and recognize how we affect those patterns. Learn the “Art of Invisibility”; the ability to move through the landscape with minimal disturbance.

Core Routines:

  • Sit Spot
  • Bird Language
  • Story of the Day & Group Mapping
  • Sensory Awareness Exercises
  • The Role of Thanksgiving

ONCS-3, From the Animal to the Track: Skunks to Scat
Saturday, June 25, 2011

Learn to read the landscape and sharpen your observation skills through the study of mammals and other track-able critters. We will practice locating track and sign, identification, interpretation, aging, ecological tracking and the crucial survival uses of this skill by our ancestors.

Core Routines:

  • Art of Questioning
  • Experiential Scientific Inquiry
  • Tracking
  • Mind’s Eye Imagining
  • Bird Language

ONCS-4, Art of Wandering: Knowing Your Plants and Finding Your Way
Friday-Sunday, July 29-31, 2011

Ethnobotany is more that just knowledge of edible and medicinal plants, it includes appreciation of traditional cultures as well as harvesting, processing and caretaker ethics. Develop your identification skills and learn to use local wild plants for foods and medicines. Learn to find your way with aid-less navigation techniques as we wander diverse landscapes of the Ozark Highlands.

Core Routines:

  • Wandering
  • Mapping
  • Art of Questioning
  • Mind’s Eye Imaging
  • Using Field Guides

ONCS-5, Wild Green Thumbs: Using Plants for Food & Medicine
Saturday, August 20, 2011

Develop a deep connection with local plants by learning more than just their names. Learn to use local wild plants as foods and medicines, and how to properly process, sustainably harvest and wildcraft them .

Core Routines:

  • Wandering
  • Mapping
  • Art of Questioning
  • Sensory Awareness Exercises

ONCS-6, Wilderness Living Skills: Braintan Buckskin
Friday-Sunday, September 16-18, 2011

This 3-day workshop is designed to guide the beginner or novice through the process of wet-scrape braintanning from start to finish and show you that anyone can do it, anywhere! Participants will gain hands-on experience in the wetscrape method of braintanning and leave with their very own buckskin.

Core Routines:

  • Survival Living
  • Mapping
  • Using Field Guides

ONCS-7, Hands-on Survival Skills Day: Art of Fire
Saturday, October 22, 2011

Increase your comfort in the wilderness as you learn  the art of fire making. The day will be filled with hands on projects, exercises and edge experiences involving firecraft. From one match fires to primitive friction fire methods, regardless of your experience level, there will be something fun and challenging for everyone.

Core Routines:

  • Landscape Tracking
  • Mapping
  • Story of the Day
  • Survival Skills

ONCS-8, Survival: Wilderness Living Skills
Friday-Sunday, November 18-20, 2011

Explore the art of wilderness living skills through intimate, experiential interaction with the landscape and embody the mantra “the knowing is in the doing.” We will focus on knowledge of hazards of the wilderness, developing the “survivor mentality”, emergency shelters out of natural and man-made materials, finding and collecting water, constructing 1-match fires and fires without matches.  This weekend will build upon the October workshop.

Core Routines:

  • Survival Living
  • Mapping
  • Learning to use Field Guides