Wilderness Skills Build Confidence and Can Save Your Life

What are wilderness skills, and why do they matter?

Wilderness skills is a vague term that encompasses a wide range of skill sets.  Generally, I like to think of wilderness skills as a hybrid between bushcraft and modern outdoor recreation skills.  Many outdoor recreationist rely heavily on modern tools such as tents, lighters, starter fuels, water filters, and GPS units.  While appropriate gear is important and highly useful, it isn’t always available and it’s subject to damage and malfunction.  This is why I see the knowledge and understanding of wilderness skills, such as: starting and sustaining a fire, building primitive and improved shelters, collecting and purifying water, and knowing how to navigate as essential skills for all outdoor enthusiasts. 

Apart from the safety reasons, having the knowledge of these skills builds confidence which fosters greater enjoyment of outdoor activities.

My experience with wilderness skills

I have been hiking, canoeing, camping, and generally exploring outdoors since childhood.  My family was passionate about spending time outdoors, and I was active in Girl Scouts through high school.  I was very fortunate to be introduced to the outdoors at a young age, and I’m passing that same experience along to my daughter.  Growing up in nature means I always felt comfortable outdoors, and I’ve naturally acquired many outdoors skills through experience and minor mishaps.  Beyond that I earned BS and MS degrees in forestry that provided me an extensive knowledge of plants and ecology, and I’ve worked alongside a survival expert learning from him and teaching others as his assistant.

I’ve carried this initial knowledge base with me and built upon my skills through research, training, and practice. In 2019, I became a certified Wilderness First Responder, which includes both medical and survival skills training for remote wilderness settings.  I now enjoy teaching others basic wilderness skills, which provide them empowering experiences outdoors, and offer them the confidence they need to explore independently or with their families.  

How can you learn these skills?

Practice, practice, practice.  Ultimately, practice and hands-on experience are the best way to learn any new skill.  It helps to have someone guide you initially, by showing you examples and explaining important survival concepts.  Even in a training situation, learning through experience and failure are the most effective methods for building a lasting skill set.  

Over the coming months Butterfly Outdoors will be offering wilderness skills training, instructional videos, and tips for safely exploring outdoors.  We also provide private training and workshops to groups and individuals.

Please connect with us to learn how we can help you learn the skills you need to safely enjoy the outdoors.


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