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Astounding Earth

Classes That Connect


Cultivating Eco-literacy, Sense of Place and deep Nature Connection through Experiential Education and Mentoring.
 

Current Offerings

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Learning the plants around us profoundly changes how one walks through the world.  We offer deep explorations of the amazing and diverse plant life of the Southern Appalachians, their myriad of uses and the extraordinary ways plants shape and are shaped by their ecosystems.    

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Come join us for fun fungi and mushroom walks in the woods. Learn about our one day and multi-day explorations of common mushroom and fungal families with specific attention to positive identification, safety and edible and medicinal species.  

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Interested in the miraculous relationships of life?  Join us for fun-filled days of group learning as we explore 12 incredible natural communities in the region with a broad focus on plants, trees, mushrooms, and the natural processes and cycles they experience. 

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A 25 day, spring through fall immersion program in which we take a deep and transformative dive into our relationships with, knowledge of and reverence for this astounding bioregion. Split into five - 5 day 4 night sessions. 

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Come experience a community of learning and awe as we dive into the fascinating world of Birds.  We offer half day, full day and multi-day classes on bird ID, bird language and behavior, creating bird habitat and more. 

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Interested in hands on experiential activities such as fire making, wild foods, survival shelters, natural cordage, animal observation or activities for teachers and nature connection facilitators? See our various skill offerings.

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Want to get to know the plants, trees, birds, fungi, or which ecosystems are on a particular piece of land?  Want to learn how to create better wildlife habitat or what plants will grow best where?  Interested in an inventory of the species on the land you live on?  Check out our private land consultations.

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Luke offers private and group plant, bird, mushroom and ecology walks, custom experiential and survival skills classes, plant and bird Surveys and more designed for your personal or group needs.  Find out more here. 

Classes by Category

Plants & Trees
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  • Our Magnificent Trees
    Our Magnificent Trees ​ An eight week Intensive; August - October 2020 Asheville, North Carolina Limited to 8 participants ~ Registration is now FULL Tuition is on a sliding scale: $360 - $560. With a special guest instructor for one of our eight sessions: Tyler Lavenburg 8 Wednesdays for a total of approximately 56 hours: I am very excited to once again offer this class focusing entirely on the Trees and Shrubs that make up our local forest ecosystems. This course offers a deep dive into Tree and Shrub Identification in their Natural Habitats. We will explore and appreciate numerous dimensions of our tall standing friends as we travel into the beautiful, unique and wild ecosystems they inhabit. ​ This course has been designed to give you an awesome introduction to our local Appalachian Trees and Shrubs. We take an experiential approach to learning through hands on exploring and examining of each species, the natural communities where they are found and the varying uses of their wood, bark, leaves, sap and blossoms.​ Come join us for this Amazing Course! Topics include: Tree Anatomy and Identification Edible, Medicinal and Craft Uses Mythology of Trees Ecology of Tree Communities Wood Characteristics & Applications Carving and More!
  • Winter Tree I.D. Hike
    Winter Tree I.D. Hike Date: Saturday, January 30th, 2016 Start Time: 10:00 AM Difficulty: Moderate (5-6) Where: Rough Creek Watershed, Canton, NC Hike Leaders: Haley Smith, SAHC AmeriCorps Associate & Luke Cannon, Botanist Cost: This hike is free to the public but registration is REQUIRED. Registration: Is No Longer Open. Have you ever wanted to know what types of trees surround you on a winter day, but struggled to decipher their leafless identities? Botanist and avid naturalist Luke Cannon will accompany us on our first hike of 2016 and provide hikers with tips and skills for identifying deciduous trees in winter. This moderate 4.5-mile hike will take place in the lovely Rough Creek Watershed area, a little-known gem of a trail system that most hikers can’t wait to return to. We will hike through a variety of plant communities, including Montane Oak-Hickory Forest and both Rich and Acidic Cove Forest, giving us an abundance of different species to look at. In addition to learning about trees, we will be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Don’t let the cold get you down--come out hiking with us and use the cool weather as a chance to learn new things! If you would like to join us, contact Haley Smith at: haley@appalachian.org or call (828) 253-0095 ext. 205. SAHC members can register for this hike now; open registration begins January 18th.

Birds
  • Our Magnificent Trees
    Our Magnificent Trees ​ An eight week Intensive; August - October 2020 Asheville, North Carolina Limited to 8 participants ~ Registration is now FULL Tuition is on a sliding scale: $360 - $560. With a special guest instructor for one of our eight sessions: Tyler Lavenburg 8 Wednesdays for a total of approximately 56 hours: I am very excited to once again offer this class focusing entirely on the Trees and Shrubs that make up our local forest ecosystems. This course offers a deep dive into Tree and Shrub Identification in their Natural Habitats. We will explore and appreciate numerous dimensions of our tall standing friends as we travel into the beautiful, unique and wild ecosystems they inhabit. ​ This course has been designed to give you an awesome introduction to our local Appalachian Trees and Shrubs. We take an experiential approach to learning through hands on exploring and examining of each species, the natural communities where they are found and the varying uses of their wood, bark, leaves, sap and blossoms.​ Come join us for this Amazing Course! Topics include: Tree Anatomy and Identification Edible, Medicinal and Craft Uses Mythology of Trees Ecology of Tree Communities Wood Characteristics & Applications Carving and More!
  • Winter Tree I.D. Hike
    Winter Tree I.D. Hike Date: Saturday, January 30th, 2016 Start Time: 10:00 AM Difficulty: Moderate (5-6) Where: Rough Creek Watershed, Canton, NC Hike Leaders: Haley Smith, SAHC AmeriCorps Associate & Luke Cannon, Botanist Cost: This hike is free to the public but registration is REQUIRED. Registration: Is No Longer Open. Have you ever wanted to know what types of trees surround you on a winter day, but struggled to decipher their leafless identities? Botanist and avid naturalist Luke Cannon will accompany us on our first hike of 2016 and provide hikers with tips and skills for identifying deciduous trees in winter. This moderate 4.5-mile hike will take place in the lovely Rough Creek Watershed area, a little-known gem of a trail system that most hikers can’t wait to return to. We will hike through a variety of plant communities, including Montane Oak-Hickory Forest and both Rich and Acidic Cove Forest, giving us an abundance of different species to look at. In addition to learning about trees, we will be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Don’t let the cold get you down--come out hiking with us and use the cool weather as a chance to learn new things! If you would like to join us, contact Haley Smith at: haley@appalachian.org or call (828) 253-0095 ext. 205. SAHC members can register for this hike now; open registration begins January 18th.
Mushrooms
Image by Kalineri
  • Our Magnificent Trees
    Our Magnificent Trees ​ An eight week Intensive; August - October 2020 Asheville, North Carolina Limited to 8 participants ~ Registration is now FULL Tuition is on a sliding scale: $360 - $560. With a special guest instructor for one of our eight sessions: Tyler Lavenburg 8 Wednesdays for a total of approximately 56 hours: I am very excited to once again offer this class focusing entirely on the Trees and Shrubs that make up our local forest ecosystems. This course offers a deep dive into Tree and Shrub Identification in their Natural Habitats. We will explore and appreciate numerous dimensions of our tall standing friends as we travel into the beautiful, unique and wild ecosystems they inhabit. ​ This course has been designed to give you an awesome introduction to our local Appalachian Trees and Shrubs. We take an experiential approach to learning through hands on exploring and examining of each species, the natural communities where they are found and the varying uses of their wood, bark, leaves, sap and blossoms.​ Come join us for this Amazing Course! Topics include: Tree Anatomy and Identification Edible, Medicinal and Craft Uses Mythology of Trees Ecology of Tree Communities Wood Characteristics & Applications Carving and More!
  • Winter Tree I.D. Hike
    Winter Tree I.D. Hike Date: Saturday, January 30th, 2016 Start Time: 10:00 AM Difficulty: Moderate (5-6) Where: Rough Creek Watershed, Canton, NC Hike Leaders: Haley Smith, SAHC AmeriCorps Associate & Luke Cannon, Botanist Cost: This hike is free to the public but registration is REQUIRED. Registration: Is No Longer Open. Have you ever wanted to know what types of trees surround you on a winter day, but struggled to decipher their leafless identities? Botanist and avid naturalist Luke Cannon will accompany us on our first hike of 2016 and provide hikers with tips and skills for identifying deciduous trees in winter. This moderate 4.5-mile hike will take place in the lovely Rough Creek Watershed area, a little-known gem of a trail system that most hikers can’t wait to return to. We will hike through a variety of plant communities, including Montane Oak-Hickory Forest and both Rich and Acidic Cove Forest, giving us an abundance of different species to look at. In addition to learning about trees, we will be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Don’t let the cold get you down--come out hiking with us and use the cool weather as a chance to learn new things! If you would like to join us, contact Haley Smith at: haley@appalachian.org or call (828) 253-0095 ext. 205. SAHC members can register for this hike now; open registration begins January 18th.
Ecology
  • Our Magnificent Trees
    Our Magnificent Trees ​ An eight week Intensive; August - October 2020 Asheville, North Carolina Limited to 8 participants ~ Registration is now FULL Tuition is on a sliding scale: $360 - $560. With a special guest instructor for one of our eight sessions: Tyler Lavenburg 8 Wednesdays for a total of approximately 56 hours: I am very excited to once again offer this class focusing entirely on the Trees and Shrubs that make up our local forest ecosystems. This course offers a deep dive into Tree and Shrub Identification in their Natural Habitats. We will explore and appreciate numerous dimensions of our tall standing friends as we travel into the beautiful, unique and wild ecosystems they inhabit. ​ This course has been designed to give you an awesome introduction to our local Appalachian Trees and Shrubs. We take an experiential approach to learning through hands on exploring and examining of each species, the natural communities where they are found and the varying uses of their wood, bark, leaves, sap and blossoms.​ Come join us for this Amazing Course! Topics include: Tree Anatomy and Identification Edible, Medicinal and Craft Uses Mythology of Trees Ecology of Tree Communities Wood Characteristics & Applications Carving and More!
  • Winter Tree I.D. Hike
    Winter Tree I.D. Hike Date: Saturday, January 30th, 2016 Start Time: 10:00 AM Difficulty: Moderate (5-6) Where: Rough Creek Watershed, Canton, NC Hike Leaders: Haley Smith, SAHC AmeriCorps Associate & Luke Cannon, Botanist Cost: This hike is free to the public but registration is REQUIRED. Registration: Is No Longer Open. Have you ever wanted to know what types of trees surround you on a winter day, but struggled to decipher their leafless identities? Botanist and avid naturalist Luke Cannon will accompany us on our first hike of 2016 and provide hikers with tips and skills for identifying deciduous trees in winter. This moderate 4.5-mile hike will take place in the lovely Rough Creek Watershed area, a little-known gem of a trail system that most hikers can’t wait to return to. We will hike through a variety of plant communities, including Montane Oak-Hickory Forest and both Rich and Acidic Cove Forest, giving us an abundance of different species to look at. In addition to learning about trees, we will be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Don’t let the cold get you down--come out hiking with us and use the cool weather as a chance to learn new things! If you would like to join us, contact Haley Smith at: haley@appalachian.org or call (828) 253-0095 ext. 205. SAHC members can register for this hike now; open registration begins January 18th.
Earth Skills
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  • Our Magnificent Trees
    Our Magnificent Trees ​ An eight week Intensive; August - October 2020 Asheville, North Carolina Limited to 8 participants ~ Registration is now FULL Tuition is on a sliding scale: $360 - $560. With a special guest instructor for one of our eight sessions: Tyler Lavenburg 8 Wednesdays for a total of approximately 56 hours: I am very excited to once again offer this class focusing entirely on the Trees and Shrubs that make up our local forest ecosystems. This course offers a deep dive into Tree and Shrub Identification in their Natural Habitats. We will explore and appreciate numerous dimensions of our tall standing friends as we travel into the beautiful, unique and wild ecosystems they inhabit. ​ This course has been designed to give you an awesome introduction to our local Appalachian Trees and Shrubs. We take an experiential approach to learning through hands on exploring and examining of each species, the natural communities where they are found and the varying uses of their wood, bark, leaves, sap and blossoms.​ Come join us for this Amazing Course! Topics include: Tree Anatomy and Identification Edible, Medicinal and Craft Uses Mythology of Trees Ecology of Tree Communities Wood Characteristics & Applications Carving and More!
  • Winter Tree I.D. Hike
    Winter Tree I.D. Hike Date: Saturday, January 30th, 2016 Start Time: 10:00 AM Difficulty: Moderate (5-6) Where: Rough Creek Watershed, Canton, NC Hike Leaders: Haley Smith, SAHC AmeriCorps Associate & Luke Cannon, Botanist Cost: This hike is free to the public but registration is REQUIRED. Registration: Is No Longer Open. Have you ever wanted to know what types of trees surround you on a winter day, but struggled to decipher their leafless identities? Botanist and avid naturalist Luke Cannon will accompany us on our first hike of 2016 and provide hikers with tips and skills for identifying deciduous trees in winter. This moderate 4.5-mile hike will take place in the lovely Rough Creek Watershed area, a little-known gem of a trail system that most hikers can’t wait to return to. We will hike through a variety of plant communities, including Montane Oak-Hickory Forest and both Rich and Acidic Cove Forest, giving us an abundance of different species to look at. In addition to learning about trees, we will be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Don’t let the cold get you down--come out hiking with us and use the cool weather as a chance to learn new things! If you would like to join us, contact Haley Smith at: haley@appalachian.org or call (828) 253-0095 ext. 205. SAHC members can register for this hike now; open registration begins January 18th.
Previous Classes
  • Our Magnificent Trees
    Our Magnificent Trees ​ An eight week Intensive; August - October 2020 Asheville, North Carolina Limited to 8 participants ~ Registration is now FULL Tuition is on a sliding scale: $360 - $560. With a special guest instructor for one of our eight sessions: Tyler Lavenburg 8 Wednesdays for a total of approximately 56 hours: I am very excited to once again offer this class focusing entirely on the Trees and Shrubs that make up our local forest ecosystems. This course offers a deep dive into Tree and Shrub Identification in their Natural Habitats. We will explore and appreciate numerous dimensions of our tall standing friends as we travel into the beautiful, unique and wild ecosystems they inhabit. ​ This course has been designed to give you an awesome introduction to our local Appalachian Trees and Shrubs. We take an experiential approach to learning through hands on exploring and examining of each species, the natural communities where they are found and the varying uses of their wood, bark, leaves, sap and blossoms.​ Come join us for this Amazing Course! Topics include: Tree Anatomy and Identification Edible, Medicinal and Craft Uses Mythology of Trees Ecology of Tree Communities Wood Characteristics & Applications Carving and More!
  • Winter Tree I.D. Hike
    Winter Tree I.D. Hike Date: Saturday, January 30th, 2016 Start Time: 10:00 AM Difficulty: Moderate (5-6) Where: Rough Creek Watershed, Canton, NC Hike Leaders: Haley Smith, SAHC AmeriCorps Associate & Luke Cannon, Botanist Cost: This hike is free to the public but registration is REQUIRED. Registration: Is No Longer Open. Have you ever wanted to know what types of trees surround you on a winter day, but struggled to decipher their leafless identities? Botanist and avid naturalist Luke Cannon will accompany us on our first hike of 2016 and provide hikers with tips and skills for identifying deciduous trees in winter. This moderate 4.5-mile hike will take place in the lovely Rough Creek Watershed area, a little-known gem of a trail system that most hikers can’t wait to return to. We will hike through a variety of plant communities, including Montane Oak-Hickory Forest and both Rich and Acidic Cove Forest, giving us an abundance of different species to look at. In addition to learning about trees, we will be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Don’t let the cold get you down--come out hiking with us and use the cool weather as a chance to learn new things! If you would like to join us, contact Haley Smith at: haley@appalachian.org or call (828) 253-0095 ext. 205. SAHC members can register for this hike now; open registration begins January 18th.
Foggy Forest

COVID-19 Policy & Refunds: 
 

 Being out in Nature and sharing the Wilds with others feels more important and rejuvenating

than ever for many of us right now.  I am currently limiting all of my classes to 6 to 14 participants each to allow us to navigate the woods and trails at distances that feel safe

for each participant.  Participants are welcome to wear masks if desired.

If any class is canceled due to the pandemic before the start date, I'll offer a full refund. Additionally, if you need to cancel before the program start date due to being adversely

impacted by COVID-19 (illness, caring for sick family members, etc.), I will offer a full refund.


I feel confident that these courses will continue to be health generating experiences that strengthen personal health and eco-literacy, enhance awareness, and deepen connection

to the world around us. I look forward to sharing time in the Wilds!  

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