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permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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The Bootcamp program in a nutshell: work on permaculture and homesteading projects, get a bunk and some basic food staples.  You pay $100, work, and then receive tickets to our events or even an acre of land.

June 2017:  there are currently openings

Okay, you know what bootcamp is, right? It is when you join the armed forces and are put through rigorous and painful training in order to prepare you for war. Yuck.

More recently, the bootcamp theme has been used in setting up rigorous (and often painful) exercise systems, in order to get people in better physical shape, prepare them for a marathon or other athletic event, or just to satisfy their own masochistic tendencies. To each their own.

And NOW, the bootcamp theme has come to wheaton labs. You have the opportunity to come to the labs, stay for varied lengths of time, and see what permaculture and homesteading are like first hand. In keeping with bootcamps the world over, this is not a spa visit, or a relaxing retreat. There are other programs at the Lab for that. This is serious work stuff.

The bootcamp at Wheaton Labs has many layers, and many outcomes. You can come for a week, to just dip your toes in and see what it’s all about, gather some experiences, and work your butt partly off. Or you can come for longer periods, get more experiences, perhaps a course, and work your butt completely off.

And then there is the opportunity to put in some serious time, some seriously hard work, and end up with your own little slice of paradise: the Boots to Roots, deep roots program. This is a win-win situation: Paul needs help at his place, and you want to learn, experience, and eventually have a place to call homestead. You work hard, you get land. Brilliant.

If you'd like more information about Wheaton Labs, check out this thread.


Food Growing Systems at Wheaton Labs - we need lots more of these! And you can be a part of that.


Food growing berms


Food growing systems


2015 garlic harvest



We would love to have food growing systems all over the lab!


mmmmm . . . mushrooms


Sunchokes from the berms


June Berries  from wild harvesting



Projects and Cool Stuff on the Lab


solar dehydrator project


solar dehydrator


sawmill



rocket mass heaters are the bomb!







Learn amazing woodworking, earthworks and building skills









Join in some cob-making parties!







Learn to build some cool stuff










https://permies.com/t/61077/a/49850/thumb-tmp_15727-20150813_194250-1522389451.jpg


Here are some of the bootcamp options offered at Wheaton Labs:


Come for a week

This is just for dipping your toes in and getting a feel for it. You might love it, or you might hate it. If you’re not sure whether a longer commitment is for you, this is the best place to start. Experience natural building, gardening, wildcrafting, green woodworking, rocket mass heaters, hugelkultur, earthworks and more. See how you feel about the seriously hard work involved.

Come for two weeks

Get double the experience, plus we will throw in a two-day workshop. This is wading in up to your ankles. You’re learning more, and getting a teeny bit of a feel for what it might be like to build a homestead of your own. You’re really sweating now.

Come for eight weeks

Get way more experience, plus we will throw in a PDC (two week long permaculture design course) or ATC (two week long appropriate technology course).

Okay, now you’re hip-deep, and really working hard. You’re helping with projects at the Lab, working your keister off, and really getting a taste of the daily grind of setting up a homestead. It ain’t no picnic, but you’re gaining experience, and submersing yourself in permaculture and the homesteading life. And you have the opportunity to attend an awesome PDC or ATC for free! That’s worth 8 weeks of hard labor, isn’t it?

Come for 14 weeks

Get even more experience, plus the PDC and the ATC. If you can stick this out, you’ll be well on your way. You’ll be part of a team working hard on setting up an awesome permaculture system. You’ll be getting up early, and hitting the hay dead tired at night. And you’ll have been there long enough to see projects completed, gardens come to fruition, and to have learned a LOT - plus, a PDC & ATC! Worth every drop of sweat.

Come for 4 months

Get three years rent on an acre of land, to express your own vision in seed, soil and natural building. That’s 3 YEARS of experiencing setting up your own little homestead, working toward your own goals and dreams, and learning, learning, learning. Yes, it’s hard work. That’s why it’s called bootcamp. But just think of it - your own acre of land to work. You’ll have to work hard to earn it, but it will be that much more satisfying.

Come for 21 months - earn Deep Roots


Get lifetime rent on an acre of land. Yes, you read that correctly - lifetime rent on an acre of land. You can do a lot with an acre of land. You can build a home, grow all your own food, set up animal systems, and many other projects that excite your passions. And all it takes is less than 2 years of hard work. But it will be hard work that will be teaching you how to get started on your own homestead. And it will be hard work that will be helping to create and grow the community you will be living in.





When you sign up for bootcamp, you will then be known as a ‘boot’.

Fred and Kai will be leading the bootcamp program. More on their roles in the program to come.

Fred is the land manager at Wheaton Labs.

Kai is a long-time gapper.


~

A day in the life of a boot






Five days a week would be:

7:00am - Everybody starts making breakfast.

7:50am - Everybody has eaten and cleaned up.

8:00am - On the job

Noon - Everybody makes lunch.

12:50pm - Everybody has eaten and cleaned up.

1:00pm - On the job

5:00pm - Everybody starts making dinner.

7:00pm - Everybody has eaten and cleaned up.

That’s 8 hours a day of working hard toward your dream. And many hours of community working together toward a common dream. And isn’t that what it’s all about?





Tasks will include, but are not limited to:

Building stuff for future boots:

          - more food systems
          - more bunks
          - more beauty
          - more fun things

Building basic skills:

          - using a variety of rocket mass heaters
          - harvesting wood for building, burning, hugelkultur, mulch, etc.
          - building furniture and structures from roundwood
          - building fences
          - building with cob
          - earthworks, ponds, hugelkultur
          - permaculture gardening
          - cooking
          - cooking with wood fired stuff
          - wildcrafting
          - solving homesteading issues
          - scything















Some things to keep in mind

There are many boring and tedious tasks involved in setting up and working a homestead. And there is some seriously hard work. Seriously. If homesteading is your dream, you need to remember that while doing these jobs. You are learning the things that you’ll need to know when you set up your own homestead. That’s what this permaculture bootcamp is all about. The tasks would be broken up so people don't spend too much time doing something boring. But be prepared to do things that you don’t particularly want to do.

If you’re there for the 4 or 21-month bootcamp, keep in mind that you are doing this in order to get your land. And you are helping the man who is going to let you live on that land. Perspective will help you through the tough times. Just like athletes need to remember that they are working toward the Olympics when they have runners cramp, twisted ankles, and long hard days in the gym. It is a means to an end.

About eight hours a week is focused on things that are of direct benefit to the boots. This might include gardening, wildcrafting food (huckleberries, morel mushrooms, nettles, etc.) or improving a cabin.

Food staples will be provided, although it is hoped that boots will eventually provide food for themselves and future boots by setting up garden systems.

Either party can end this relationship at any time.

There will be experiences built. But there is no guarantee that they will all be amazing and educational experiences that boots might dream about. There will be a fair bit of log peeling, fence building and seed planting. It ain’t all glamorous, but it’s all necessary.

There will be lots of jobs that are boring, tedious, and just plain hard work. There will be jobs that you’re not particularly interested in. There will be days of frustration, rain, heat, and cold. There will be mistakes, misunderstandings and missteps.

But that’s life, right? The thing to remember is that you are working toward a goal - the goal of having your own chunk of land, to create your own homestead, and to live the life you’ve dreamed of. And now is the time to find out if your dream can become a reality.

~

Boots-to-Roots

After 21 months as a dedicated boot, boots will be given a Deep Roots package. A hard working boot might carve several months off of that.



Limit of six boots at any time.

~

Courses and Workshops

Boots may be able to attend some workshops here at no cost.

NOTE: the time spent at workshops and courses does not count toward your total-time-to-deep-roots, and it might come at a cost of some weeks added to your total-time-to-deep-roots.

~

Options and possibilities

A boot can come for a week, 2 weeks, a month, or longer. Once we have six boots working long term, we cannot accept any more boots until there is an opening. An opening will only occur if a boot leaves, or earns their 3-Year or Deep Roots package.

Taking a day here and there to do projects with the ants or take breaks away from bootcamp is fine. But Fred has the discretion to decide that if a boot is away too long or takes too many days off, it might be time to let a new boot in. The boot that is away goes to the back of the line of the waiting list for the boot program.

~

Once you have a Deep Roots plot, you could:

- build a home and plant a garden (do the Gert thing)
- sell it (this means that you can sell the right to live there - not the land itself)
- pimp it out and sell it (same as above)
- camp on it
- develop some salatin-style-fiefdoms
- walk away from it

You can do a lot on one acre of land. You can set up a shop and do work for pay - metal work, wood work, art work, weaving, whatever your passion is. You can grow lots of food and sell it. Or you can raise animals and sell them, or butcher them and sell the meat. Or you could just live a quiet life, growing your own food, tending a few chickens, and enjoying the myriad beauties in the surround area. So many opportunities, so many dreams.











~

If things go well with the bootcamp program, it is possible that extending one's stay in the bootcamp program for six months (beyond the 18 months necessary to obtain a Deep Roots package) could lead to others helping that boot get a start on their new plot with the shell of a structure, some hugelkultur and a fence.  More news on this when we get about eight months into the bootcamp program.

How to become a Boot

To get in, you must pay the non-refundable gapper fee of $100. 


Send monies via paypal to paul at richsoil.com or bitcoin: 177pNU2a9iCpUXQwXX9EbtA2UwZpgeqcMT

First come, first served. Once the permaculture bootcamp program is full, we will start a waiting list.
Staff note (Jocelyn Campbell):

For more info, including links to videos and more pictures, see the summary of all things wheaton labs.

 
Kyrt Ryder
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Can two boots cash in on one 'roots' after 18 combined months? If they do, can they continue for another combined 18 months for an adjacent plot?
 
paul wheaton
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:Can two boots cash in on one 'roots' after 18 combined months? If they do, can they continue for another combined 18 months for an adjacent plot?


Both of these ideas sound fine to me right now. 

I am curious how this program will go.  Will we say that this is just for the first six?  Will we continue the program but change the terms?  Will there be a waiting list?  What then? 

So, for now, my official answer is something like "I think so.  Probably."
 
paul wheaton
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Click on the thumbs up for this post if you think you might want to be a boot - whether you go for 18 months or not.
 
paul wheaton
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Click on the thumbs up for this post if you think you might want to be a boot and go all the way to getting roots.
 
Devin Lyttle
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Very interested in this opportunity. For me, it's a matter of timing; I've got some things in the works that would prevent me from spending 18 months, virtually off-grid, in Montana (as tempting as it sounds). Do you foresee this opportunity extending beyond this cohort? How many 1 acre plots are going to be made available before it starts looking more like the Wheaton Estates subdivision?
 
paul wheaton
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So far, total number of people that have jumped up to say "can I come out right now?":   zero

Total number of people that have said "I will be there with bells on, February 4.  How do I make sure I reserve a spot?":  zero

And you are asking me "what if 147 thousand people want in on this?" 

I think that when we get to the point that we have four, I will start to try and figure out what to do if we have more than six.  I think we will do some sort of waiting list.
 
Devin Lyttle
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paul wheaton wrote:Total number of people that have said "I will be there with bells on, February 4.  How do I make sure I reserve a spot?":  zero


You had to know that asking people to move to Montana in the dead of winter would be a tough sell But, I'm not most people; so if I can make it happen I will. Not making any promises that I'll be wearing bells though.
 
paul wheaton
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We've had a lot of people show up in the fall with intent of spending the winter here.   A lot of people are super curious about the rocket mass heaters.

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paul wheaton
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Beau Davidson
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I understand the risks of asking a question like this, knowing that unsupervised kids at Wheaton labs may be fed to the bears or set on top of a rocket mass barrel.  However, I am curious if this program may be flexed to accommodate families where one spouse will work his tail off, and the other will stay in charge of the litter. I love the idea of raising my family in a homesteading environment.
 
Richard Herndon
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Wow, wish I were a younger man, I would jump at this chance to get in on an acre of land! But, I am a 60-year old heart patient now and I do believe that my boot-days are long gone. Maybe in another lifetime.
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Robbie Asay
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Nothing scary about a "little" snow!  It's the cloud cover that would get to me eventually but this is an awesome deal!  I'd love to see a workshop or something similar where tools and methods could be adapted for people with some mobility limitations.  It's a future project of mine.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Beau Davidson wrote: I understand the risks of asking a question like this, knowing that unsupervised kids at Wheaton labs may be fed to the bears or set on top of a rocket mass barrel.  However, I am curious if this program may be flexed to accommodate families where one spouse will work his tail off, and the other will stay in charge of the litter. I love the idea of raising my family in a homesteading environment.


Welcome to the forums, Beau! This sounds doable, though there are some kinda complicated details to work out when we're providing housing, utilities, basic food for three (or more, depending on the kiddos), instead of one. With a lot of "it depends" kind of situations...


 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Robbie Asay wrote:Nothing scary about a "little" snow!  It's the cloud cover that would get to me eventually but this is an awesome deal!


We have a thread about the weather at wheaton labs - winters and summers. We have a remarkable amount of sun here in the winter months, IMHO.
 
John Derry
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Wow, what an amazing thing. I wish the USA allowed people in (from the UK) for longer than 6 months, I'd be very tempted to park my life and try to be one of the two people still there at the end.
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Robbie Asay
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:We have a thread about the weather at wheaton labs - winters and summers. We have a remarkable amount of sun here in the winter months, IMHO.


Anything has to be an improvement over western WA cloud cover(9 months)!  I was made to understand by a few people living around the are that Missoula gets about 8 months of cloud cover but maybe they included the smoke in that.
 
paul wheaton
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Beau Davidson wrote: I understand the risks of asking a question like this, knowing that unsupervised kids at Wheaton labs may be fed to the bears or set on top of a rocket mass barrel.  However, I am curious if this program may be flexed to accommodate families where one spouse will work his tail off, and the other will stay in charge of the litter. I love the idea of raising my family in a homesteading environment.


I like the idea of doing something like that some day. 

I offered something a lot like this a year and a half ago, but had no takers.  I thought it would be cool to bring in three families and they could support each other.  But I had zero families to try this idea. 

The word "bootcamp" starts off with some meaning where a person would go and share bunks with 50 other people for three months.  More recently it has come to mean something where a person will pay to go get training in something for a week to a month. And the style of training is experiential.  But in neither of those scenarios is there a family. 

I do think that a person could get an ant plot, build a little something for their whole family and that would work. 

There have been kids here.  Lots of kids.   A few were amazingly cool and most were not.   And since the fisher price house is not childproof, a parent needs to rain down hell on a toddler to get them to not destroy things - and in the end stuff just gets wrecked.

The thing with kids has been brought up dozens of times.   For the first time ever, I'm going to do this:   what do you propose?
 
paul wheaton
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Robbie Asay wrote: maybe they included the smoke in that.


Smoke?   You mean the forest fire stuff in august?  We didn't see much of that this year.
 
Jason Learned
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I think this is one of the coolest ideas I've ever heard! Really cool Paul! I hope you get a great group over there. I'm a little far away, but I'm routing for you. It seems that this is a great way to develop a strong community with people having a similar mindset. Eighteen months of separating the wheat from the chaff and a reward at the end. With a growing community of self sufficient people. Just brilliant!

Jason
 
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3rd times The Charm! 😊
 
Zola Ndimande
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If I want to come from South Africa would I allowed to own land in the US? Is this offer for US peeps only? I also have an 8yr old kid...that I would probably bring along...exploring unschooling with her. This offer sounds too good to be true, everyone says around here. There must be a catch. But the thing is, for me, I go by feeling...and so far it feels legit and good.
 
paul wheaton
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You would not be owning land. 

My impression is that the US gub'mint allows people to come here for a few months and then you have to leave.    But I gotta say there is a lot with coming and going from other countries that I don't understand.

As for an eight year old:  it depends on how well the 8 year old works.  But I am open to giving it a try for a week or two.


 
paul wheaton
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It sounds like we might fill all six spots in the next couple of days.   So I just gotta make it clear right now:   first come, first serve.

Send payment via:

paypal:  paul at richsoil.com

bitcoin:  177pNU2a9iCpUXQwXX9EbtA2UwZpgeqcMT




 
paul wheaton
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It's official.  All six spots are now full.

People are welcome to:

-   sign up for the waiting list.  To do this, you still need to part with the gapper fee.  Or, for those that have been here in the past as a gapper, or attended a workshop, you can just send fred an email and you will be put onto the waiting list.

-   sign up for a spot before febuary 4.   The program won't be quite as formal, but some people might find some benefit.  And that time would still go towards a roots package.   When febuary 4 comes around, you can be a regular gapper with the ants.  If you are also on the waiting list, then there is a chance you will be able to get into the bootcamp later. 


I talked to fred about possibly expanding the boot program.  I agree with him that we should first get a few weeks under our belt with six and see how things go from there.


 
Kerry Rodgers
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paul wheaton wrote:It's official.  All six spots are now full.

Congratulations, Paul and Fred!  Based on reading the forums, I didn't think you would get many takers.  But there is so much context that we barbarians out here in the ether don't get.

Fred, I guess you have 3-ish months to get ready.  I encourage you to post tool needs to a "love" thread!
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paul wheaton
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Kerry Rodgers wrote:
Fred, I guess you have 3-ish months to get ready.  I encourage you to post tool needs to a "love" thread!


Good point!  It would probably be good to have shovels, picks, drawknives, spuds ....

Technically, all boots are gappers.  So I suppose all the gapper love stuff would be okay.

 
paul wheaton
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I updated the first post to show that the bootcamp program is now full and how folks can get on the waiting list.
 
Garett Conner
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Sorry but it appears that my specialness is showing but how do I properly get a hold of Kia and Fred about all this? Or is this the preferred form of contact on this site.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Garett Conner wrote:Sorry but it appears that my specialness is showing but how do I properly get a hold of Kia and Fred about all this? Or is this the preferred form of contact on this site.

Hi Garett - I think we've connected with you outside the forums - yay! I'm a bit slow in replying, though I thought I'd repeat part of Paul's first post in case it helps anyone else:

paul wheaton wrote:
NOTE!  The bootcamp program is currently FULL. 

We are maintaining a waiting list.   To get in line, you must pay the non-refundable gapper fee ($20 to $100, depending - details here).  

There are two spots left for now until Feb 4.  A gapper could arrive, be part of the early-boot program, and then on February 4, they could help ants in ant village until there is an opening in the bootcamp program.  If this sounds like a possibility for you, please email fred at richsoil.com.

Other gappers that wish to be part of the boot program are also welcome to come and work with the ants until spots in the bootcamp program open up.   Gappers that are helping ants will be given preference over gappers that are not here yet.

Depending on how things go, we might expand the bootcamp program to facilate 8 or more at a later time. 

 
Jay Frenier
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Hey guys and gals, I'm curious as to how well the program is filling up. I've tried to amass a small community of workers of like minds to do something very similar. I've found that the biggest deterrent is land ownership. You have obviously taken care of that part (and I would hope that you give more than just a verbal agreement for this), but suppose someone does the numbers in their head and decides that all the work they provide isn't worth 1 single acre? I'm honestly curious as I have been a farm manager in Haiti for 3 years and also WWOOFed around the NE for 2 years now. I was basically WWOOFing before that before I knew of that organization. I've built up peoples' lands, farms, homes, businesses, customers, etc. But I've found the greed of owners too much and expectations way too high, while they are never willing to do something even remotely similar to what they expect you to do. So, what makes your place, in a very cold area of the country, worth it all? This is coming from someone who doesn't walk away from a very shitty experience before at least a year has passed so I can feel I had stamina and perseverance and gave it a go. Been burned, sounds wonderful, but still sounds the same as many places I helped build only to be left out in the cold.
 
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Howdy Jay , welcome to permies!

You did read the above posts that said the program is full and taking backup names right?

Have you taken some time to look at some of the posts here that have videos of all of the things that are going on in the ant village?
 
Jay Frenier
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Howdy Jay , welcome to permies!

You did read the above posts that said the program is full and taking backup names right?

Have you taken some time to look at some of the posts here that have videos of all of the things that are going on in the ant village?


As I understand this is verbal so far or have all arrived? Nothing is for certain until the "boots are on the ground". I guess my questions should be directed to someone more personal than a discussion forum. And yes, I read this entire discussion forum. I have not seen the videos yet.
 
Jay Frenier
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Howdy Jay , welcome to permies!

You did read the above posts that said the program is full and taking backup names right?

Have you taken some time to look at some of the posts here that have videos of all of the things that are going on in the ant village?

Where are these videos in this post you speak of?
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Burra Maluca
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Jay Frenier wrote:
Miles Flansburg wrote:Howdy Jay , welcome to permies!

You did read the above posts that said the program is full and taking backup names right?

Have you taken some time to look at some of the posts here that have videos of all of the things that are going on in the ant village?

Where are these videos in this post you speak of?


If you look at the whole wheaton labs forum you'll find lots of threads with videos.  Jesse's ant village thread might be a good place to start.
 
r ranson
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Right at the top of this forum, there's a little note under the first post, with a link to a summary of all things wheaton labs.  This is a really good gateway to learning more about the work Paul does and the opportunities for people who wish to visit, stay or even make a home there.  This might help you understand more about what this is all about and what you can expect from wheaton labs.  The boots-to-roots programme is just one of many opportunities.
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Jay Frenier
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I thought you meant in this forum. Yes, I have been all through the site over the past many years. This is my first time posting (probably my last) but I have been following Paul for quite a long time now. I'll quit asking questions as no one really tried to answer them. Good luck on the village and boot camp and all. Love. Peace.
 
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