Apprenticeships

image-trackmud-W-200pxDo you want to learn about which plants can help you to boost your immune system, or how to make rope out of plants?

Have you ever wondered what animal left those tracks on the muddy trail?

If you want to learn about herbalism, plant medicine, plant identification and even more about plants, or learn about wildlife and ecosystems and how to track animals: Earth Tracks offers two apprenticeship programs that allow you to fully immerse yourself in the subject for one weekend a month with like-minded peers for 8 months (Wild Plants Apprenticeship) or 10 months (Wildlife Tracking Apprenticeship).

Our apprenticeship programs are designed to give you a structure and series of dates that you can fit into your busy schedule. These weekends are times that you can let go of “modern life” and dive deeply into your study of the natural world.  At Earth Tracks we strive to create a strong mentoring community of folks who are passionate about connecting to the earth in a deep and powerful way.

As each weekend passes our connections to ourselves, each other, and the natural world grow stronger. We begin to see and experience the world in an ancient and powerful way.  We are part of nature and nature is a part of us.   By learning to read the subtle and not-so-subtle clues that the natural world is continually sending us, we begin to see our role in this web of life and how we can use our own personal gifts to create balance and harmony (both internally and externally).  We understand that people lead busy lives and it can be hard to carve out the time to connect with the natural world; by committing to these weekends you can plan ahead and immerse yourself in a powerful holistic program that balances both scientific knowledge and intuitive wisdom.

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During our weekends, we camp together on our land and share food, stories, and laughter around the fire. On some of the weekends there will also be time in the evenings spent continuing our learning and understanding of the subject matter through workshop time and discussions.  This is a time for us to unwind together, tell our ‘story of the day’ and continue our learning and research from our time in the field.  It is these times where the connections in our group grow and many lasting friendships have formed.

These Apprenticeship programs are geared towards people of all ages and experience levels. You can tailor your experience by joining us just for the weekends or adding extra depth to your experience by diving deep into each area of study through ‘take-home assignments’ and community projects.  We are here to support, guide, and mentor you on this learning journey.

We want to make our apprenticeships as accessible as possible, so if you’d like to work out a payment plan, please let us know.

Are you looking to deepen img-fiddleheads-200pxyour understanding of how to use plants in your daily lives for food, medicine and crafts?

Do you find it hard to find the time to fit this into your busy life?

Would you like to deepen your connection to the plant world with a group of other people who share your interests and love for nature?

If so, then the Wild Plants Apprenticeship program is for you. This program is all about learning ways to bring plants into your everyday life.  By joining us in this experience you will learn how to properly identify plants, as well as how to ethically harvest, preserve, prepare and eat, and preserve them. You will also learn about how to make medicine and crafts (such baskets, glue, cordage, art, etc.) and how to become a steward of the land—and much more.   Many of the plants that we use can be found around your homes no matter where you live.   By joining this program, you will be entering into a community of people who are dedicated to learning from both a scientific and intuitive way of working with plants.

Each weekend that we spend together is designed to build upon the previous one as you continue to develop and nurture your relationship to not only the plants, but to nature as a whole.  At the completion of this program you will be well on your way to embodying many of the skills necessary to be competent and confident using plants for food, medicine, and crafts.  There is no other program like this in Ontario and we look forward to offering this powerful and transformative experience every year.

2017 Schedule

    • April 29th & 30th  Intro Weekend—Identification, ethics, etc.
    • May 20th & 21st Wild Edible Plants
    • June 24th & 25th  Trees, Caretaking, and Land Stewardship
    • July 8th & 9th   Medicinal Plants
    • August 19th & 20th  The Spirit of Plants
    • September 9th & 10th  Utilitarian Uses of Plants: Cordage, baskets, etc.
    • November 4th & 5th   Roots: Harvest, Storage, and Preparation
    • November 25th & 26th  Herbal Medicine-Making

Check out this two-page PDF file for more information.

This 8-month apprenticeship is $2,000 + HST (10% discount if the $500 deposit is paid before February 17th).  A payment plan is possible so please contact us at info@earthtracks.ca for more information or to register.

  • “What an amazing journey of growth this apprenticeship has been! I now feel much more familiar with the plants around me. I have harvested violet greens, made tinctures with red clover flowers, cooked wild leek soup and used yarrow to stop the bleeding of my wounds. These are just a few of my new plant friends. The apprenticeship with Earth Tracks allowed me the focused time and mentoring to get to know the plants around me, through the seasons. I am more comfortable harvesting them, eating them, preparing them and even communicating with them!”

    Alex Thomson
    Alex Thomson
  • “The Wild Plants Apprenticeship program was a monthly highlight for me. I loved being exposed to the many facets and faces of the plant world. It is so much richer and majestic than I could have imagined.”

    Judy Lipp
    Judy Lipp
  • “I thoroughly enjoyed my time each and every weekend. Meeting and learning from like-minded people is very inspiring, refreshing and very important to me in my life.  And I am truly grateful that Alexis has provided this.  I now see the world in a whole new light and plants through a new lens which will help to guide me for life.  I am looking forward to staying connected to the people I have met.  Thank you all.”

    Tyler Davis
    Tyler Davis

How would you like to image-animal-staring-250pxwalk outside and be able to see the ecological links that hold this natural system in balance?

How would you like to walk out your front door and begin to read the clues left by the animals, just as easily as you would read the morning newspaper?

Everything in nature is a ‘track’: a message or calling card that we can read and use to gain an understanding of the pattern and flow of the natural world.  The Wildlife Tracking Apprenticeship program is designed to open your eyes to the tracks and sign of the wildlife that live all around us.   Through this program we consciously blend the many skillsets required to become a competent tracker.  We pay close attention to both the science and art of tracking, and give students the time and experiences to learn about tracking and natural history in a holistic way.

Our weekends take place in Southern Ontario (Grey and Dufferin County – 8 weekends) and Algonquin Park (2 weekends). We travel to a variety of habitats and have a theme (ex. Track and Sign, Gaits and Track Patterns, Ecology and Landscape Tracking, etc.) that guides our learning during our time together. Through the study of tracking we also learn about the ecology and relationships that the animals have to the natural world. Our skills as naturalists and trackers grow and we begin to recognize patterns and connections in the web of life.

In previous years, the Wildlife Tracking Apprenticeship program has had people from all walks of life join us—teachers, outdoor educators, small business owners, factory workers, wildlife biologists, doctors, homeschooling parents, and many more.

This program is not only about image-porcupinetree-200pxlearning about the wildlife that lives in Ontario, but also learning about our entire eco-system and how it works together. These skills and experiences can then be shared with our communities through our work, our stories, and our passion and desire to help others see and experience nature in a deep and powerful way.

2017-2018 Schedule

  • May 13th & 14th – Orangeville Area
  • June 17th & 18th – Grey County
  • July 29th & 3oth – Grey County
  • August 26th & 27th – Algonquin Area
  • September 16th & 17th – Orangeville Area
  • October 28th & 29th – Grey County
  • December 2nd & 3rd – Orangeville Area
  • January 20th & 21st – Grey County
  • February 3rd & 4th – Algonquin Area
  • March 3rd & 4th – Grey County

Click here to see a video of Alexis describing the Wildlife Tracking Apprenticeship program in more detail.

Click here to view more program details in PDF format.

This 10-month apprenticeship is $2,100 (+HST). A payment plan is available. There is a 10% early bird discount if you register before March 15th. Please email info@earthtracks.ca for more information or to register.

  • "To say that Earth Track's Tracking Apprenticeship is a great experience would be putting it lightly.  I learned, not just about the physical aspects of tracking, but also that tracking is about so much more.  It is about connecting deeply with nature which reflects to us who we are, helps us to become more self-aware, opens our eyes to the unseen and guides us in this incredible journey which we call life."

    Nauman Naeem
    Nauman Naeem
  • "My original purpose for taking the course was to improve my tracking skills from a would-be hunter's perspective.  As the months progressed, I discovered that I was absorbing a huge amount of information that I had never expected.  In addition to tracking, I was able to expand my knowledge of plants, trees and birds.  I was glad I had the chance to be around such an experienced and knowledgeable instructor, and I learned a lot not only from Alexis, but from my fellow apprentices as well."

    Steve Macmillan
    Steve Macmillan
  • "On the last day of my tracking apprenticeship, my group was presented with a “grand finale” tracking mystery composed by nature herself.  Fortunately, Alexis had orchestrated ten months of valuable experiences and learning opportunities to prepare us for the arrangement that lay ahead.  We would need to apply track and sign identification, gait analysis, kill site analysis, and awareness training.  Through careful observation and discussion, we were able to weave together the details of a fantastic predator prey chase between a fox and a hare.  It was a celebration of the art and science of tracking.  This is one of many highlights in the tracking apprenticeship program with Alexis Burnett.  I highly recommend this program!"

    Tamara Anderson
    Tamara Anderson

We also offer a second-year (‘Ring 2’) program for graduates of our apprenticeship programs.  This program runs concurrently with the first year program.  It provides a platform for you to take your learning to another level and continue to increase your skills and mentoring experience.

During this time the second-year students continue to work on their own personal goals as it relates to Wildlife Tracking or Working with Plants.  They also work with Alexis behind the scenes to experience how the apprenticeship program works and the planning, execution, and feedback that is required to make this program a success.  Students will learn how our mentoring system works and receive training in the 8 Shields model of mentoring.

Our second-year apprentices have learned a lot through their experiences, and they are well on their way to embodying the skills and attributes it takes to guide others on this journey.

The 2nd year tracking program at Earth Tracks was an amazing experience! The difference between the first year and second year could be likened to the difference between learning to walk and learning to ride a bicycle. As first year participant I gained a new perspective and a new footing in the world of track and sign. As a second year participant I used my “footing” to propel me with momentum and maneuverability through the landscape. I couldn’t recommend it any more highly!

Upcoming Events
  1. Algonquin Weekend Wildlife Tracking Class 2017

    August 26 @ 9:00 am - August 27 @ 5:00 pm EDT
  2. Utilitarian Uses of Plants Workshop 2017

    September 9 @ 9:00 am - September 10 @ 5:00 pm EDT
Testimonials
  • Alexis is an ideal teacher and mentor, deeply knowledgeable, but with an engaging and accessible way of meeting you exactly where you're at, with tons of respect for every student and their own experiences and needs.
    Malgosia HalliopMalgosia Halliop
  • [The apprenticeship program] is a great hands-on program. It has a great balance between brain learning and heart learning.
    2015 Apprentice
  • Alexis' mentoring is respectful, humble and passionate. He cares so much about the plants and this brought a feeling of wonder and joy to our weekend adventures. He is very skilled with adult learners, keeping things light and fun while allowing for focused questioning and study too.
    Alex ThomsonAlex Thomson
  • I feel I learned so much throughout my experience here and I often tell others, taking the Plants Apprenticeship program has had a profound effect on my life. The careful ethics and the heart/spirit centered approach to working with plants will inform my learning for many years to come. I feel so grateful to have had this opportunity to have had Alexis be my teacher.
    2015 Apprentice
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