Farm and Forest School Program Description
WEEKDAYS IN THE FOREST AND ON THE FARM 10:00 a.m. – 3 :00 p.m.
Learn primitive and practical skills, scientific knowledge, compassion for nature!
Our beloved Forest School program is now entering its sixth year, having built a dedicated following among participants. In this course, homeschool students gain a tremendous amount of knowledge through experiential learning – encountering and understanding dozens of plants, animals, ecological systems, and primitive skills throughout the year. Drawing on indigenous educational wisdom, Forest School trains students in a plethora of practical skills and scientific knowledge while building essential character traits like compassion, alert awareness, gratitude, and deep listening. And the kids have so much fun they don’t even realize how much they’re learning! Collaborative group challenges followed by artfully guided debrief activities build compassionate communication and leadership skills. Farm projects encompass tending perennial and annual plants, animal care, mushroom cultivation, natural building, cooking, soap-making, herbal medicine and more. Inspiring or though-provoking articles or short videos may be shared on a wide range of topics from local food systems to innovative compost solutions to global initiatives in eco-social entrepreneurship. Time for lunch and supervised free play are built in to the schedule.
The 2020-21 Session dates:
While historically we have run sessions in 7-week sets, this year we will run our initial first session for 9-weeks. We will be closely monitoring the state of things in Maryland and be making additional decisions about the remainder of the year as things unfold. The price of each class is $50, so the first session will cost $450. We will continue to add additional pods to days, and make additional days available as we see a need. The first session will start in early September.
For example a Wednesday schedule might look like this for 2020-21:
Session 1: September -October
Session 2: November
Session 3: January-February
Session 4: TBD
As additional days are added, we will post the full dates for each session here.
Meet your instructors:
Joe Murray, Pearlstone’s Wilderness Educator, realized that deep nature connection mentoring and community are the most important ways for our children and adults to grow in a very deep way to connect with the earth and our hearts. He loves to care for the land and when he is not teaching he is learning. Over the span of his career he has trained many instructors and helped start a number of wilderness schools. More close to his heart has been the thousands of children he has helped mentor into becoming fully alive amazing beings. He is a co-founder of Ancestral Knowledge 501(c3) and has been mentoring deep nature connection since 1997. In his free time he loves to spend time in nature alone or with his family, students, community of other nature connection mentors.
P Stern Christian, Pearlstone’s Lead Educator, joined Pearlstone as the JOFEE Outreach Fellow in February 2019 holding a decade of diverse experiences as a youth educator and mentor with young people from across the globe. He has done so in places as near as New Jersey, and as far as Hong Kong. After graduating from St Mary’s College of Maryland with a BA in Philosophy in 2016, Stern moved to Baltimore to get to know its people, communities, systems, and landscapes in the pursuit of connection, community, and justice. Following two AmeriCorps service terms working with youth in and out of the context of the educational and juvenile justice systems, Stern began searching for a way to integrate his growing religious identity with his already existing passions for the outdoors, youth development, mentorship, and education. When Pearlstone knocked on his door, Stern knew that he had to make the jump into the JOFEE-verse!
Clara Feigelson, Pearlstone’s Sustainability Educator, graduated from Goucher College in 2018 with a BA in Environmental Studies. She came to Pearlstone in 2019 as the JOFEE Sustainability Fellow. At Pearlstone, Clara specializes in outdoor education, wilderness skills, community building, and sustainability initiatives. In the past, she has lead a volunteer-based environmental group in college and co-directed a Teva camping program at URJ Camp Eisner. Since a young age, she has loved hiking and camping, so coming to Pearlstone was an amazing way to develop her wilderness skills and deepen her relationship with the Earth. In her free time, she enjoys finding new ice cream places, painting, and long walks on the beach. Clara came to work at Pearlstone because she found a workplace that allows her to explore the intersectionality between environmental justice and Judaism and have fun with kids throughout the year.
Rabbi Psachyah Lichtenstein is a teacher, farmer, author and artist. He is the Director of Education at Pearlstone Center in Baltimore MD. Psachyah graduated from the Rabbinical College of America and Pratt institute in NYC. He has served the Jewish community as a mentor and teacher of Jewish mysticism in the US and Israel for over 20 years. As a Rabbi and speaker Psachyah has built trans-denominational relationships across every boundary. He walks the intersection between ecology, technology, and the human spirit.
Additional Pearlstone Educators may make guest appearances.