Heron is our signature program, taking place on Larch Hill Conservation Area in Amherst for more than 10 years. Hundreds of homeschoolers have taken the challenge of the Heron, and have developed their nature awareness and wilderness living skills; many have become Swift Eagles!
“That was the awesome-est Heron I’ve ever had!” exclaimed Xavier as he came out of the woods…traipsing through 2 feet of snow!
Curriculum covered is seasonal according to the natural laws and cycles of nature. For the development of wilderness living skills, it is necessary that we follow the rhythms of the Earth by harvesting materials and creating our earthen wares in the proper season.
WHO: Ages 7+
WHERE: Amherst, Massachusetts
WHEN: Fridays, 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.; Fall (12-week), Winter (8-week) & Spring (10-week) sessions
HOW MUCH: $50-$65/class, sliding scale + $10 for Handbook/Journal (required–same can be used for all 3 seasons) + $10 for T-shirt (required only for Spring session; not available during Fall & Winter)
Parents of Heron participants say…
“Our 9 yo daughter had been having a hard time last winter. We had just removed her from a school where there was a lot of stress and unkindness and then she had a severe fracture of her leg while skiing. It was a blow to her confidence and we watched her, for the first time, worrying that the world might be an unsafe place. Heron welcomed her into the fold and the group even pulled her through the woods on a sled so she could continue non-weightbearing with her fractured leg.
The first day I dropped her off it was sub-zero winter weather and I left many phone numbers sure that she would need to be picked up early. Quite the contrary—-when I came at pickup time she was the last one to leave and kept playing and talking with the happy group while the parents shivered miserably in the parking lot. It is a magical program where everyone is special. For our daughter it was more—she learned to feel safe in the world again, to trust her body and her knowledge and be empowered again. Thank you Frank and all the amazing leaders there!”
“All I know is that she has matured a lot this past year. I’m sure this is, in part, due to Heron, as well as other factors.”
“Sebastian is always trying to identify plants now.”
“He loves to fox walk now. Also, he’s been on the lookout for ticks and poison ivy.”
“She learned: how to identify poison ivy and plantain, cordage, carving the right way, how to “fox walk,” how to pass a tool or a weapon safely.”
“Your ceremony and the kids reminded me of who I want to be and how I want to be living my life every day. It helped me within myself to remember all of his many many strengths, as I tend to focus on what needs ‘fixing.'”
“I was so excited when my son was old enough and we found out about Heron, as he could then join his sisters in the outstanding experience that Earthwork programs provide for kids. (As homeschoolers it is always great when all your children can participate in the same class, especially when you live far away from the activity, as we do). I was a little nervous about how my son would do, though as he isn’t as ‘outdoorsy’ as his sisters. As a true testament to the wonder of Earthwork Programs, he loved Heron as much as they did! Frank, and all the wonderful staff he employs, impart their vast knowledge and skills with the kids making for an unforgettable experience.”