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This is a list of some of the most popular activities and skills that we offer at Buffalo Cove. This list is certainly not exhaustive--we are always learning and doing our best to create programs that meet the needs of our participants--but we hope that it helps to give you an idea of what our programs look like and what we can offer in our custom programs. Our Adult Workshop Archive is a record of the workshops we have taught in the past.

Outdoor Adventure:

  • Orienteering – Learn to use a map and compass to navigate across the land. Additionally, this activity provides for a wonderful time in the backcountry, filled with many teachable moments about the natural world around us.

  • Low Ropes Course/ Group Initiatives – Become a team! Work your way through specially designed challenges together! These challenges focus on transforming a group of individuals into an efficient, cooperative, “well oiled” team.

  • Multi-Day Trekking – Carry all you need to live on your back. We do these treks from many different angles, from easy hiking with modern gear to a true “survival” experience with as little gear as the group chooses, and everything in between. We also can design a trek based on a specific time period or culture within these mountains to gain a “historical perspective.”

  • Low Impact Camping – Enjoy the backwoods of the mountains without bringing pollution or excessive damage to a pristine area. Learn and practice the techniques used in the contemporary school of “leave no trace” ethics. Understand your influence on the natural world around you and see the need for deliberate decisions.

  • River Canoeing – Experience the “path of least resistance” through these mountains. Learn from the plants and animals that share these liquid trails with you and your canoe. This can be a basic, one-day excursion or several days of progressive learning in paddling techniques, river rescue, and riverine ecology.

  • White Water Rafting – This is for those who want a low-skill, fun day on the river. Great for reducing stress, producing comradery, and just plain ol’ fun!

Ancient Ways:

  • Edible and Medicinal Plants – Learn basic botany and hone your observational skills through the lessons of the plant world. We will take to the woods and get to know the myriad resources provided by the flora of these mountains.

  • Fire – Gain an understanding on the gift of fire. Learn to create it proficiently, using material from the land, in several different ways--starting with one match and possibly ending by rubbing two sticks together. It’s up to you! Experience fire's use as a tool, as a comfort, and as a life saver.

  • Tracking – Gain the skills and techniques used to interpret signs left behind. This can include both print identification and following trails.

  • Wilderness Survival – What does it take to survive in the woods? We can show you! We can cover both the mental side of survival and the many skills that make wilderness survival possible.

  • Basketry – Gather your materials from the woods, prepare them with your hands, and make containers that are both functional and beautiful. We teach several types of basket-making depending on the materials available and the time of year.

  • Blending and Flowing – Disappear into your surroundings. Fall into the prevailing natural rhythms so you don’t attract attention to yourself. We cover the movement, mind set, appearance, and other “tricks of the trade” to move as a non- threatening part of the woods. Great for nature observation, relaxation, and hunting.

  • Fibers and Cordage – The earth provides us with all kinds of fibers from both plants and animals. Learn to recognize, harvest, and then shape these into elements necessary for survival.

  • Flint Knapping – One of the necessary elements of long-term wilderness survival is the ability to shape stone into functional cutting tools. We can show you this, and much more.

  • Open Fire Cooking – After learning to create and care for fire, cooking with it is one of the many skills made available to you. However, there are tried and true methods to do this--let us show you!

  • Tool Creation and Use – Use stone, bone, shells, wood, antler, fiber, fire, and many more resources from the woods to do what sets us apart from the rest of the Animal Kingdom: create and use tools. The list of tools is endless and the skills involved in their creation and use are many. This includes ancient weapons used for hunting and warfare. It’s up to you what we get in to.

  • Leathercraft and Hide Tanning – Make things of function and beauty from leather. And for those of you who want it, make leather from raw animal skins using the ancient method of brain tanning.

  • Prehistoric Living – Learn these ancient skills and apply them by taking them to the “field.” We can do this on many different levels, depending on the goals of the group. To read about and study prehistoric cultures is not enough – we can help apply an experiential element to the study of all of our pasts.


Back to the Basics:

  • Homesteading Skills - How do we make our lives more meaningfully connected to the land? Explore the skills of domestic animal care, how to process your own meat and veggies, the skills involved in heating your house with wood (felling and processing firewood), and much more!  Let us help you design sustainable systems that make sense at your home and in your life.

  • Traditional Archery – Experience a skill that has been crucial to the existence of our ancestors and is still in practice today. We use traditional bows and a vast array of lessons to teach the techniques needed to become a proficient and safe archer. We also can take the bow and arrow to the next level by building our own equipment.

  • Organic Gardening – Where do our veggies come from? We have two organic gardens on-site in base camp, both of which employ different gardening styles or use as educational examples, from Cherokee mounds, to intensive raised beds.

  • Traditional Woodworking – Use the tools of our fore fathers to create with wood. Learn how care for, use, and move efficiently with hand tools. The possibilities of products are endless.

  • Woodslore and Bushcraft – These skills were once the common knowledge of all people who lived close to the land. They include safe use of and care for knives and axes, knots and lashings, traps, hunting, shelters...basically creating what you need straight from the woods by using a handful of basic skills and lots of understanding.

  • Fishing – We can learn the basics around our pond at camp (creating our gear and learning the skills) or we can move into the wild waters of the surrounding mountains and “stalk” the mighty trout.

  • Appalachian Frontier Living and History – These mountains are rich in cultural history. Learn about the different peoples that have moved through and still inhabit these mountains through their skills, crafts, stories, and social culture.

  • Storytelling – There’s nothing better than sitting around a warm campfire and sharing stories with friends. We have a bunch of old and new stories to share but can also work with you in your ability to share stories.


Nature Studies:

  • Botany – Learn they way that modern science looks at plants. Develop vocabulary of common terms that will aid you in plant identification while increasing your observation skills. Then, use this new knowledge in challenges, games, and learning new plants.

  • Animal Studies – How do the animals live around here? Learn to figure this out while increasing your knowledge about local animal habits and lifestyles.

  • Watershed Studies – Where does your water come from? How can you tell if a stream is healthy? Just how important is our duty to maintain clean water? Get into water, look at it from all angles, learn its ways and capabilities.

  • Mountain Ecology – The Southern Appalachians hold one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. Just how do all of the elements and variables fit together? We will take a hands-on look at this ecosystem and learn about it from a very up close and personal perspective.

  • Environmental Ethics – As humans, how do we fit in to the natural world? We need to evaluate this question over and over. We hope to have an impact on how you impact the world around you.

Campers and staff hiking along a creek
two campers wearing packs and smiling at each other
campers and staff in canoes on a river
a camper tending a fire
fiber crafts on a table
animal tracks in the snow
two wooden spoons
two hands holding a seedling
campers holding bows
a camper holding an armful of yarrow
Nathan hugging a baby goat
a path in the woods
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