Wednesday, June 23, 2021
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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Wilderness survival, archery, blacksmithing, kayak building, fishing, or animal tracking! Students come to Trackers to learn skills forgotten or ignored in modern life. They feel compelled to engage with the primal physical world, not a digital representation of it.

These hands-on skills bring mental puzzles. You carve wood that doesn’t have perfect grain. You make a fire in wet conditions. Crafting leads to craftiness—a capacity for thoughtful strategy to navigate a complex world. Even more important is that the deer is not a coded object in an online game. As you track the doe, she forces you to understand that she too has a passion to live, breathe, and survive.

This all leads to the “invisible skill” of Trackers—our version of Outdoor Leadership. We teach a means of community stewardship that has existed since humans first walked the planet. At Trackers, the best leaders are actual “trackers”—individuals who deftly listen to the land they care for and the people they serve.

This ability is not gained just by following a textbook or teacher. Each student needs challenges that only the diversity of nature and forest craft can bring about. I know excellent leaders who are accomplished at negotiating the human world, but it is a rare leader whose personal intelligence also extends into the more-than-human world. Such individuals are guided by a radical awareness and profound empathy.

At Trackers, this version of Outdoor Leadership makes our courses and community greater than the sum of the skills we teach. Yet it is often invisible, threaded through the ongoing experiences of our students and families.

After much internal conversation at Trackers, we realize we need to do even more to nurture this “invisible skill” in our future leaders, the younger members of our community. Over the next year, the majority of our teen mentoring programs will feature a greater emphasis on Outdoor Leadership training.

Central to many upcoming courses is a dialogue with our Apprentices that addresses these deeper qualities of Outdoor Leadership. This includes our Rangers, Wilders, Mariners, Artisans, and Archery apprenticeships, along with our Homeschool Outdoor and After School programs for middle and high school age students.

Our goal is to foster the next generation of teachers and leaders for Trackers and beyond. We seek to grow a community through awareness, empathy, and strategies for equity. We hope to show our Teen Apprentices how tracking the deer leads us all to greater care for our shared village and the Earth on which we live.

Tony Deis
Trackers Earth, Founder


We wanted to update Portland, Oregon parents regarding details about the upcoming eclipse.

Of course, we do anticipate several species of aliens from various exoplanets to invade. And that is the day time traveling Arnold Schwarzenegger tells us Skynet is set to go online… not to mention all the Mega-Werewolves.

But beyond those things, we expect the day to go generally well. First off, the health and safety of our campers is our priority. And while we may not be experts of satire (see above), we are professionals at working with kids for over 10 summers during all kinds of natural events and weather. When times call for it, we adapt.

Our site schedule is optimized to travel away from the path of totality. Our coordinators always monitor the traffic report and subspace channels throughout the day. Site Supervisors communicate regularly with Coordinators and Away Teams to seek out alternate routes to and from our sites. Parents can help us by planning extra time for their commute in the morning and flexibility for return times of our buses in the afternoon. Remember when packing, a towel is about the most massively useful thing any interstellar Camper can carry.

Finally, and most awesomely, Trackers is prepared to supply free eclipse glasses for all our campers and staff so they safely observe this once (or twice) in a lifetime event. We carefully researched which glasses we purchased to be certain they are ISO and CE certified—the certification recommended by NASA. Plus, they are approved by Galactic Empress Xiaton, who plans on invading the earth with her fleet of Space Battlestars during the height of the eclipse. But don’t worry, we have faith the Planet Express team will save us.

All this, and campers will be able to bring the glasses home as a keepsake.

Our goal is to prepare kids to thrive with nature in all types of weather and natural events. We learn important outdoor skills by being prepared. Meanwhile, our Zombie Survival Camp will ply their new skills to defeat the coming hordes of Mega-Werewolves.

And it could be cloudy, because… Oregon.

Chris Codino (and all the Trackers staff)
Administrative Director

Glory to Skynet as our Future Robot Overlord!