Thomas Elpel

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since Oct 17, 2014
Thomas J. Elpel had the rare opportunity as a child to spend hundreds of hours with his grandmother exploring the hills and meadows of Montana. Tom’s grandmother helped him to learn about the native plants and native skills, igniting a passion for nature that has inspired Tom ever since.
Tom is the director of Green University, LLC and Outdoor Wilderness Living School (OWLS) in Pony, Montana, and the author of several books, including Participating in Nature, Botany in a Day, Direct Pointing to Real Wealth, Roadmap to Reality, Living Homes, and his first children’s book, Shanleya’s Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids Ages 9 to 99. He has also produced a video titled “Slipform Stone Masonry,” as well as four volumes in the “Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series”.
Pony, Montana
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Recent posts by Thomas Elpel

Hi Heather!

Thanks for putting yourself out there. I'm 53, on the upper end of your ten-year acceptable range.

I started my homestead and permaculture projects young... built a passive solar stone and log home without a mortgage thirty years ago, and later installed solar panels to run the meter backwards. I was married for 21 years and raised four children, who are all out of the nest. My marriage ended a decade ago.

Being self-employed with few bills has given me oodles of freedom to pursue my dreams as a homesteader, writer, and adventurer, and I'm super easy to get along with. That would seem like an asset in dating, but not really. I'm so deeply rooted here that it is challenging to create a new life with a new partner when I already have an established home and career. I've been off the dating sites for some time, but if I were to sign up for one, I would look at a Latina dating site. You are definitely a 10 on my chart!

Please take a look and reach out if you want to connect:

I hope you find what you are looking for wherever that may be...



4 months ago

You're son will love the card game, and he will kick your butt. The deck includes rules for several games, including:

- Memory
- Slap Flower
- Crazy Flowers
- Wildflower Rummy
- Shanleya's Harvest (based on the story in the book)

Here's the link:

Shanleya's Quest Game



1 year ago

I'm glad you enjoyed the book!

Have you played the card game too?

I'll have a sequel book and game out shortly, covering eight more plant families:

Shanleya's Quest 2: Botany Adventure at the Fallen Tree

I will also be teaching at Paul's PDC this June, so come join the fun!


Thomas J. Elpel

1 year ago
Hey, I'm new to the badges, etc., but I do know plants and foraging, so please fire away with any questions you have.

My book Botany in a Day is used worldwide for plant identification based on plant family characteristics. For example, when you know that plants of the Mustard family have 4 petals and 6 stamens (4 tall, 2 short), then you can recognize 3,000+ species of plants around the world as mustards, and they are all edible. It's pretty simple, so I also wrote a kids version of the book called Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids Ages 9 to 99, plus a related plant identification card game. And for serious foragers, I wrote Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat. Here are the links:

Botany in a Day:
Shanleya's Quest:'s_Quest.htm
Foraging the Mountain West:

Let me know if I can do anything to help!

2 years ago
It really depends on the players. In my experience, the competitive spirit is strongest playing with other adults. I bet your son will be ready for it when he is old enough to read the cards. :)
2 years ago

Yes, you will have a great opportunity to practice while your kids are young. Wildlife Web is a fun adult game, and it can be highly competitive when players try to eat each other before anyone can reproduce. Practice now, knowing your kids will have an innate aptitude for the game when they come of age in the not-to-distant future. Maybe you will stand a chance! :)
2 years ago
Thanks so much for all your support Jocelyn and Karl!

I am really excited about Wildlife Web. It has been in development for nearly six years, so it is thrilling seeing it come to life!

Thanks again!
2 years ago

Are you looking for a fun and engaging way to get kids excited about nature? Wildlife Web provides a unique opportunity to participate in the web of life, designed for kids ages 9 to 99.

Do you want to be a mountain lion, deer, or elk? Created by author and educator Thomas J. Elpel, this surprisingly realistic game enables players to experience life as any of 50 different wild animals.

Join the quest to eat, find a mate, stay alive, and reproduce. Wildlife Web is an exciting, dynamic game of strategy where adventure, luck, and cunning provide hours of fun for family and friends.

Check out the Early Bird Special and be first in line to save big on this revolutionary new game!

See the complete Wildlife Web description on!

Wildlife Web simulates the dynamics of a real world ecosystem with astonishing accuracy. With fifty animals to choose from, players can become anything from a mouse to a moose or a bird to a bear, each foraging or hunting for food to mate and reproduce while trying not to become food themselves. The game is fun, competitive, and addictive!  

See the complete Wildlife Web description on!
2 years ago
Shanleya's Quest is now available in Spanish!

Available from HOPS Press, LLC:
La Búsqueda de Shanleya: Una aventura botánica para niños de 9 a 99 años

Shanleya's Quest is also available as an ebook via Amazon Kindle:

English ebook

Spanish ebook

4 years ago

Great story. Thanks for sharing!


Thomas J. Elpel
4 years ago