They give many short length day or weekend classes, even a pdc, but I am mainly wondering about the 9 month wilderness certification program. For what I'm looking for it seems a little more focused on the wilderness survival than on horticulture, but I'm still very intrigued. Any information or opinions appreciated!
This is the list of faculty for the course: Jason Knight, Filip Tkaczyk, Heather Swift, Dave Scott, Karen Sherwood, Frank Sherwood, Chris Kenworthy, Allan Sande, and Adam Rawson. I haven't heard of any of them but maybe someone could verify that at least some are qualified teachers. Thanks
I have started their long-distance naturalist program called Kamana. The founder of the school, Jon Young, seems to be legit and there are some interviews with him that Ive seen through the Kamana site.
I've been out to alderleaf and I've visited at great length with many of the students. I cannot comment on their wilderness training stuff, but I can say that their idea of permaculture is downright lame. I also know that more than half of their wilderness students dropped out. I remember that they said there was an ecovillage there - I guess their idea of an ecovillage is two double wide trailers and two shacks made with conventional T-111 siding.
If you are seeking permaculture skills, damn near anything else would be better. And cheaper.
If you are seeking wilderness skills, I cannot help but think you can find better with very little effort.
I've attended and loved classes I've taken with the Wilderness Awareness School and hear great things about their 9-month Anake Outdoor School www.AnakeOutdoorSchool.com (Alderleaf's program is based on this and many of Alderleaf's staff were trained and are graduates of the Anake Outdoor School).
Found this on judysbook.com about Alderleaf Wilderness College from a former student:
"Although Alderleaf Wilderness College did have some knowledgeable instructors and interns who loved teaching the curriculum and genuinely cared about teaching the students, I was largely disappointed with the school. My expectation was to learn extensive skills for wilderness survival and sustainability, however I ended up leaving the program after a few months.
Even after an interview, several phone conversations, and reading the website information in detail, certain information was misrepresented. Alderleaf's history, class format, and instruction were among the most notable. Upper management, the most senior of instructors, were often unavailable and engaged in unethical business practices.
Instruction outside of the classroom setting for off campus students was hard to obtain, and a lot of the curriculum was expected to be learned outside of the class without the assistance of an instructor. The program attempted to teach too many subjects within too short a time. The result was an untimely sequence of events that was not thorough enough to gain adequate understanding. I don’t know if their have been any changes since I left Alderleaf's 2011-2012 Wilderness Certification Program, but my advice to you is to visit the college in person and make sure the curriculum represents what you really intend to learn.
Yes, note that Alderleaf is different from Wilderness Awareness School, and Kamana is part of WAS not Alderleaf.
I visited alderleaf and found it nice. I sat in on a guest lecture on Forest Gardening by Jenny Pell, which was great. I liked their garden fencing design - short double fence so that the entire garden is surrounded by a chicken run, and the chickens eat the weeds/bugs before they get into the garden. Also, with two fences close together, the deer don't want to hop inside, even though they could easily get over the 3-4 ft height. It's still a new program, and they're trying things out… good folks.
From my impression, they're basically trying to do what WAS does but without the spiritual component that comes along with the Jon Young wilderness lineage. Personally, I can't afford to spend the kind of money that either of them are asking for in their programs, to learn primitive skills and connect with nature. That's what finding a spot to live free off grid for a year is good for…