Reconnecting with the Natural World: November
November 28 - December 2, 2022
Immerse yourself and your family into the ways of our ancestors as we learn to slow down, act fast, quiet the body and mind and reconnect with the natural world. Join Mohonk’s Naturalist Michael Ridolfo as he teaches time-tested principles of tracking and wildlife observation, authentic survival skills and more. This program has something to offer to everyone, from the urbanite to the seasoned naturalist. After this week, you will see the natural world with a new set of eyes and a quiver of new tools.
Save 15% on your rate when you book our special Reconnecting with the Natural World offer!
Availability is limited. For reservations, please call .
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28
The Human Blueprint: Reclaiming our Nature Connection
During this brief gathering we will learn about the legacy our ancestors gifted to us in the forms of tracking and awareness, survival skills, and complex and effective social structures. We’ll have a nature display to evoke questions and conversation. This will be educational and fun for the entire family.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29
Tracking: Reading the Stories in the Earth
We have been tracking as long as we’ve been human. Some anthropologists and neuroscientists propose that tracking is what has allowed our brains to develop into the immensely complex logical and creative tools they are today. We’ll begin with some clear print identification and move into tracking of situations, moments in time, and even ourselves. 1 mile, easy pace, all are welcome.
Our Native Heritage
The last ice age began to recede here approximately 14,000 years ago and archaeological evidence has shown stone tools dating back 11,500 years in numerous rock shelters in this vicinity. This is a subject that evokes a deep discussion regarding culture, topography, ecology, climate and our predecessors’ deep connection to the land, all of which we will address. 2-3miles. Moderate pace.
Please join naturalist Michael Ridolfo for this fun and engaging survival skill. There will be a required 10-minute safety orientation before the event. Limit 30. Sign up required-no earlier than 24 hours in advance. Please call 845-256-2186 to sign up. No late admittance. Ages 13 and up. Closed-toe shoes required.
The Galapagos Islands of Ecuador
Charles Darwin’s voyage on the HMS Beagle to the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador changed the way we look and understand the world of nature around us today. Come island hop with historian Bob Ulrich on an adventure that will get into the plant life, bird life, sea life, and those amazing Galapagos Tortoises- some over 200 years old! We will learn that Darwin’s famous words were not “Survival of the Fittest,” but something even more meaningful…
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30
Fox Walk: The Way of our Ancestors
Learn how moving efficiently in nature helps to pattern our brains for expanded awareness and our bodies for balance, agility, and strength. Shifting to our ancestral gait makes us instantly quieter in the woods and enables a more intimate perspective into the natural world. 1 mile, easy pace, all are welcome.
Mohonk Geology Tour
Join Michael Ridolfo, Mohonk’s Naturalist, as he shares his vast knowledge of the geologic and glacial history of the Shawangunk Mountains and its environs.
2 miles, moderate pace, all are welcome.
Predator and Prey
Please join Michael as we learn about this ancient relationship and its effect on the habitats in which the animals live and beyond. 2 Miles. Moderate pace.
Join the founding editor of People.com Stephen Silverman, as he tells of the turning points that made the Catskills so vital to the development of America through his book “The Catskills, Its History, and How it Changed America”. Stephen Silverman comes to Mohonk as a twenty-year veteran of Time Inc. and has had his work published in Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Times, The Times (London), Vogue, and The Washington Post.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1
The Art of Aidless Navigation
Our predecessors had no modern technology yet could travel through varied and unfamiliar terrain and always find their way home. With the elements of nature as our guides we’ll learn how to navigate effectively without map, compass, or electronics.
Friction Fire Workshop
What are human beings without fire? The “domestication” of fire was a major turning point in the history of our species. It provided us with light at night, heat in the winter, the ability to cook food and purify water, make pottery, and keep predators away. It also gave us a place to gather and tell our stories, sing songs, and became central to a myriad of sacred ceremonies. Today, fire making has become a toxic mix of lighter fluid, trash and wet wood, often smoky, ineffective, and downright silly. This workshop will include the basics of fire building such as the selection of proper material, building fire structures, and the different lighting methods including fire by friction. Everything we use will be from our immediate environment. Be the hero of your next campout.
Coal Burning Workshop
Coal burning is a simple technique that can be used to make everything from spoons to canoes. Using coals from a fire as a carving tool, we will make spoons that not only are unique in their appearance, but also teach you how to form a vessel using only natural materials. This class will also teach basic knife safety and technique. Students will go home with their own handmade cedar spoon.
Film Screening with Live Score: Microcosmos
Join us as we celebrate some of our planet’s smallest creatures in the cinematic nature documentary Microcosmos, described by the New York Times as a “breathtaking reminder that Mother Nature remains the greatest special effects wizard of all.” Performing live music is Tenth Intervention’s Hajnal Pivnick, violin and Dorian Wallace, synthesizer/piano. Using synthesizers, string fx, drum machines, and looping, they create mesmerizing and unexpected live sonic landscapes to films ranging from the classics to the obscure.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2
The Five Voices of the Birds
Do birds really talk? Consider that birds have been on the planet for approximately eighty million years and that they possess enhanced vocal and auditory apparatus. Surely these adaptations have allowed them to remain a viable life form, and their complex vocabularies have been instrumental in this success. Here we will learn not only who is vocalizing but reach into the question of why, and, just as important, what this can teach us about ourselves, and our relations with the natural world. 1 mile, easy pace, all are welcome.
Michael Ridolfo is the Mohonk Mountain House naturalist. After 20 years of rock climbing, ice climbing, mountain biking, skiing, winter mountaineering, nature photography, writing, and music, he began practicing the art of tracking, wilderness survival, and the native mentoring model. This journey has evolved into teaching children and adults how to deepen their relationship with the natural world. In 1999, he founded Wilderness Mind (now The Earthtime Project), a school dedicated to preserving the ancient arts of tracking and nature awareness.
Zach Fisher is a Primitive Technologist, Educator, Outdoor Guide and Artist living in the Hudson Valley, NY. He has studied at Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School since 2010 and has taught with numerous organizations in the Northeast, West Coast, and the Caribbean. He is the founder and head instructor of Vulpes Wild Arts, Co-Founder of Earth Living Skills (earthlivingskills.com), a registered NY State Guide and a certified Wilderness First Responder. His goal as a teacher and guide is to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for our wild landscapes and the lives that they encompass. By sharing these experiences, he feels that we can shift not only our perspectives, but also our relationship as part of the natural world.
Stephen M. Silverman is the author of 13 books, including The Catskills: Its History and How It Changed America; Funny Ladies: 100 Years of Great Comediennes; Where There’s a Will: Who Inherited What and Why; and his latest, The Amusement Park: 900 Years of Thrills and Spills, and the Dreamers and Schemers Who Built Them. Stephen’s work has appeared in Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Times of London, Smithsonian, Vogue, the Washington Post, and on TBS. The founding editor of People Magazine’s website, he is a 20-year veteran of Time Inc., and for nine years taught cultural affairs reporting and writing at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
After receiving a degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, Bob Ulrich served two years in the Army Security Agency for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War era. He then returned to college to obtain an MBA from Columbia University and spent 30 years working for IBM in electronic component development, manufacturing, and procurement. Bob’s love for history is self-taught and came about after his retirement when he discovered programs like the Mohonk Distinguished Speakers Series. His unique story-telling is supported by a large collection of illustrations and photographs both from personal “road trips” to battle sites and museums. Now a regular at Mohonk, Bob also presents his lectures at colleges and universities across the Hudson Valley.
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