Instructors and Presenters

Sam Thayer

Wild Edibles Expert and Author

Ferdy Goode

Master Birch bark Canoe and Basket Maker

Gigi Stafne

Professional Herbalist MH, MH, ND

Gigi Stafne is an activist, educator, clinician and writer within ecological, health justice and natural medicine fields. She's been Director of Green Wisdom School of Natural & Botanical Medicine in the Upper Midwest United States and Ontario, Canada for 33 years, and former long time Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders International, addressing issues of health and social justice globally. Plus, a whole 'lotta other plant and natural medicine adventures and explorations in-between! She practices a lifelong passion for the plants, people and this precious planet. Join invites you to join one or more of her sessions.

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Sam Larson

Survival Expert and Winner of Season 5 ALONE

Amy Schmidt

Gathering Director

From life in wigwams, tipis, log homes, etc Amy is always adapting to life and her wonderful family. She has had a passion for simple primitive life for 20 years and considers herself a forever student of the natural world. After spending 9 months training and living in primitive conditions she had been for ever changed. This gathering is her brain child but has been inspired by all the extremely talented and passionate people she has been blessed to meet and teach along side . She is excited to bring to all these people together here in the midwest for this fall gathering!

Tavis Lynch

Certified Mushroom Expert

Bio: Tavis is an amateur mycologist from northwest Wisconsin. He has been studying and identifying mushrooms for nearly 40 years and teaches several mycology classes throughout the state. He has been a commercial mushroom forager and cultivator fir many years and is the author of the book, “Mushroom Cultivation.” He leads dozens of public and private forays each year and is a certified mushroom expert by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

George Hedgepeth

Briar Patch Outdoors

I have taught ancestral skills since 1990. I first started out at the Center for American Archaeology in Kampsville Illinois teaching identification of useful plants based on the species we were finding in samples form various prehistoric sites in the lower Illinois River valley. I worked on several types of replicated prehistoric structures as well. Also, I started my education in stone under Dr. Toby Morrow and Tim Dillard; both manufacturing and use.

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Tammy Michielson

Maple Hill Farm Soap and Candle Maker

Our story began in 2006 when we moved to a farm with our two young boys. We have never looked back and now we are home to grass fed beef, free range chickens, pastured pigs, and a flock of sheep. We raise our animals with the utmost care and hope that we are providing a quality product from animals that have lived a quality life. We welcome groups, families, and just the curious consumer to our farm for as behind the scenes peek at the job that we love. Know your farmer, know your food. Our sheep are the main animals on this farm. We milk them twice a day and some of that valuable milk is put into my handmade sheep milk soap and lotion. We believe that what we put on our body is just as important as what we put in our body. I make all my products in small batches and use quality ingredients - no artificial fragrances or dyes. Essential oils and botanicals for scent are a must for my own sensitive skin.

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Blake Southard

North Winds Wilderness School

I am Blake Southard: I am the program director and head instructor at North Winds Wilderness School. I was formerly the Program Director at Future Necessities. My vision is to help anyone who wants an increased sense of self reliability, or anyone who wants to get closer to nature achieve their goals. We work with adults and children. We have several options for class size and length, we also prepare custom classes and programs for your group. I specialize in awareness training, Friction fire making, Primitive Hunting, Fishing, and trapping. I teach: Fire making, Shelter building, Foraging edible plants, Survival kit making, Brain tanning, Natural camouflage and stalking, Rewilding Philosophy, and prehistoric arts.

Gregg Southard

North Winds Wilderness School

Gregg works very hard to help people connect to the land and to their own wildness by immersing them in plant studies. Gregg Specializes in: Foraging for edible plants, and plant medicine, as well as Hide tanning and outdoor cooking. His passion for plants is very visible as well as his dedication to getting people back outside.

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Scott Oeth

Bull Moose Patrol

Wilderness River Canoeing

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Nick Dillingham

Black Thunder Studio

Nick was born in the southwest swamplands of the Michigan Territories. He has been studying and teaching traditional heritage skills for many years, learning and working along side many of the top instructors and elders in the Great Lakes Woodlands area. Aside from being a reclusive swamp witch who's often lured out of hiding with offerings of scrap steel for his knives, he's a master basket maker, natural fiber artisan and crooked knife maker. He's also an accomplished historical Woodlands recreation craftsman, having his work in many museums as well as in historical and cultural institutions across the midwest and northeast. Nick is one of a handful of people responsible for reintroducing crooked knives and the traditional "4 Tool" techniques to modern Bushcraft, and changing our current understanding of this tools history and use.

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Rachel Mifsud

Will Forage for Food

Cheese Maker, Teas, Campfire Cooking

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Victor Ahearne


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Tim Ewert

Black Ash Baskets, Traditional Bows

Andrew Minnick

Owner Authentic Primitive Living

Darrik Walker

Brain Tanning

Steve Gorg

Knots and Wild Rice Processing

Ben Piersma


Ben’s full time job is testing, researching, and selling tools and outdoor goods for life in the north woods. He uses hand tools like axes, hand-saws, and knives daily for fishing, hunting, foraging, self reliance, and bushcraft. Ben has designed several production knives as well as outdoor gear and is consulted on design by different manufacturers. Ben is a expert with a camp axe and has produced "Safe and Efficient Camp Axe Use" DVD as a teaching aid. Ben has spent most of his training with Mors Kochanski, and Karamat instructors Kelly Harlton and Dragan Uzelac with the focus on survival and bushcraft in the boreal forest. Ben lives in the woods of northern Michigan and runs , a bushcraft and survival supply company.

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