Bio Construction / Natural Building Workshop in Mexico! 

A New Earth Knack International Learning Adventure  November 2022

8 days  November 7 – 14 (Monday – Monday)  limit: 15 students

Join us in Ajusco , Mexico for this adventurous offering.  Hands on learning from foundation to roof! Use naturally sourced local materials and earth centered design concepts. Be part of the building team and learn how to create an affordable, natural home.  You will learn traditional, long lasting building methods, wall and floor adobe recipes, efficient and affordable processes of

construction, alternative home energy choices, repurposing of recycled materials, how to create a living roof, and so much more. Breakfasts and dinners will be provided each day.  We will be hosted on Giselle Beltan’s Rancho El Aile, a historic family therapeutic horse ranch on the outer southern edge of Mexico City at 9,000 feet. Volcanic Pico de Aguila Mountain towers 15,100 above, ready for the adventurous climbers. Horseback riding through the colorful village of Ajusco and the surrounding woodlands that skirt the mountain are available. A lively, bustling market is just down the road, offering an amazing variety of produce and supplies.

$495  breakfast and dinner meals, camping, classes, materials, and bath facilities.

Transportation from (Nov. 6th by  2pm) and return (Nov 15)  to Benito Juarez International Airport provided for additional shuttle and driver costs

2021 Earth Knack Experiences for the 21st Century 

Independent Living Skills … More Important Now Than Ever  

Hands- On, In- Person Instruction … More Important Now Than Ever 

Lighthearted Positive Teachings …  More Important Now Than Ever

Top Quality Instruction … Our Specialty Since 1990! 

Offering some new 2021 Earth Knack 

Classes and Programs!

 Outdoor Living Immersion / Work Trade

June 1-30       July 1-30      August 1-30      You can choose 1 , 2 or 3 months

Earth Centered Living

co instructed with Ann Drucker and Mike Foltmer, Robin Blankenship

Delight in wild foods, experience fire hearth cooking,  make earth remedies, make a  deerskin pouch. Beauty and strength of ‘Bear Medicine’ is a  focus for this program.
3 days  June 4-6 

Into the Heart of the Buffalo

American Bison Processing Class  

Co instructed by Kevin Off, Daniel Blea, Mike Foltmer Robin Blankenship

You will participate in the entire processing of a Bison!
5 days  June 7 – 11

Natural Fibers Fantastic Class

Co instructed by Bill Oliphant and  Robin Blankenship

Learn to work with Yucca, Nettle, Milkweed and  Dogbane plant fibers as well as Alpaca and Llama fleece and Sheep and Buffalo wool.
5 days     June 13-17 

Paleo Bread Baking with Natural Leavening 

Wild Plants Uses 

Personal Health Care Plant Preparations

and Solstice Feast and Celebration!

Co instructed by Alma Carel and  Robin Blankenship

Some look out and see nothing to eat or use. You won’t be one of those after you prepare, enjoy and process these plants in a multitude of edible and useful ways.
3 days   June 18, 19, 20    

Archery Camp for Families  

Co instructed by Jim Langell and Robin Blankenship

Spend time outdoors learning fun, useful skills with your child! Bow and arrow making, shooting instruction, archery scavenger hunts, cook on the fire, fishing.
5 days    June 21 -25  

Teen Survival and Primitive Skills Adventure Camp

Co instructed by Clark Patton and Robin Blankenship

Get the full Earth Knack experience!
7 days   June 24-30 

Horse and Buggy Hitching and….

“A Trigger a day” (a Dojo Turnbull quote)

Join Trigger and Robin to discover the joy and methods of olde tyme transportation!
1 day    July 2 

Ancestral Fire Making Techniques

Instructed by Robin Blankenship

Learn several methods of making fire using natural materials.
Some pioneer style and survival fire making will also be shown.
1 day    July 3 

Stone Tools    Flintknapping 101

instructed by Robin Blankenship

Rocks as tools: very old tech!  Make effective “stone age” tools.
Haft an obsidian blade onto a handle with pitch glue and sinew. 1 day  July 5   monday  

Throwing Tomahawk and Knife Making Class   

Metallurgy, Blacksmithing, Welding

Co instructed by Mike Stewart, Kevin Off, Robin Blankenship
Out of arrows? No worries! Throw that hawk or knife and still put meat in the pot!
3 days   July 9, 10, 11

Pioneer Style  and Natural Process Soap Making

Co instructed by Matie Belle Lakish and  Robin Blankenship

Several ways to make your own soap: Pioneer style, hot process, cold process, melt and pour, make lye from ashes, Yucca root, Clematis, Bouncing Bet plant suds!
3 days   July 16, 17, 18

Buckskin and Fur Sewing and Design

instructed by Robin Blankenship

Learn how to work with natural leather to make lovely garments and accessories.
2 days    July 24 & 25 

Green River Canoe

Set Adrift on the Green and Travel into Deep Time guided and instructed by Robin Blankenship

 Besides a geyser, sandy beach camping, canyon hikes & cliff jumps, we dig river bank clay for pottery, collect agate for stone tools, make baskets, & identify canyonlands flora and fauna.
7 days   August 1- 7   

New Offering June 2020 Outdoor Living Immersion / Work Trade

This new, unique opportunity replaces our traditional internship for the summer 2020 season.

How wild can you go?   Begins June 1st

Cheryl Nachtrieb (Saturday and Sunday)
Natural Dyes Spinning Weaving

Jim Langell (Friday –Monday)
Bows Arrows Archery Quivers Arm Gaurds and Finger Tabs

Cattail Bob Seebeck (Sunday and Monday)
Survival Plants Practical Edible Plants

“Papa” Dean Smith (Friday –Monday)
Blacksmithing Fire Making Traditional Basketry

Robin Blankenship (Friday – Monday)
Pottery: Clay Preparation, Cooking Pot Construction, Primitive Firing Felt Making with Animal Fibers Earth Pigment Paints Hide Preparation for Traditional Brain Tanning Horse and Buggy Hitchin’!

Andrew Naugle (Friday – Monday)
Wild Edible/Medicinal Plants Cord / String / Rope Making from Plants Animal Tracking. Bird Language Fire Making

Doug Dahl (Friday – Sunday)
Stone Tool Making Flint Knapping Mechanics / Demonstrations

Joe Henson (Saturday and Sunday)
Basic Forge Use Metal Work on the Anvil Roasting Fork Project Knife Making More Advanced Blacksmithing Techniques

Bill Oliphant (Friday – Monday)
Wood Carving Fire Making Traditional Camp Skills

Mike Foltmer (Friday – Monday)
Parfleche (Rawhide) Work Quill Wrapping Techniques Leatherworking Deer Toe Rattle Primitive Water Containers

Jose Villa (Sunday)
(30 year USDA bee researcher) Bee Behavior Discussion / Lecture Concerns and Responsibilities of Backyard Homesteader / Hobbyist Bee Keeping

Ryan Johns (Friday – Monday)
Homestead Style Butchering Over the Hearth Chicken Cooking Techniques Tree Top Rapelling Staion (AMGA certified climbing instructor)

Pierre Couvillion (Friday – Monday)
(Founder of Santosha School) Ancient Tribal Massage (Thai, Indian, Chinese), Movement Therapy (yoga for all body ages/ types), Inner Technology (breathing techniques), Chanting /Foods/ Herbs drawing on Ayurveda “Knowledge of life”.

Franco and Jessica Catinella
Camp Dinner Chefs Outdoor Kids Cooking for Kids

Chris Steen
Rocket Stove Design / Technology Traditional Adobe Plasters

“Ranger” Jeff Wolin
Preservation, Conservation, Cultural/Social/Historical Awareness: The Importance of Our National Park System and Public Lands Favorite Camp Musician!


Robin’s New Book Release! How to Play in the Woods

How_to_Play_in_the_Woods_imageHow To Play In The Woods, a new book release by Peregrine Books, Gibbs Smith Publishing, was written and illustrated by Robin Blankenship. The book hit shelves in April, and is also available on Amazon and through Barnes and Noble.

As described on the Amazon site: ” This book is filled with skills, games, and activities for back-to-nature adventures and camping trips. It is great for all ages and abilities, from children to adults, and is a must-have for anyone working with scouts or youth groups. How to Play in the Woods is also a handy reference book for campers and outdoor enthusiasts who need to brush up on basic survival skills…….. This book encourages and motivates readers to be interactive with nature, to be free from prescribed schedules, and to just play and enjoy outdoors while relearning the wisdom and ways of our ancestors. …”

Robin says, “Even though we know it’s good to get ourselves outside, with all the convenient and easy modern distractions available in the indoor environment, it’s tough to make the outdoor choice. How To Play In The Woods gives so many easy and accessible activities and ideas about how to have fun out there, that it won’t take readers long to feel the motivation to head out the door.

Besides health and enjoyment, I really wanted to remind readers of the unified relationship humans have had with nature throughout most of history, how it has formed who we are physically and mentally, and the rich heritage of living skills amassed by our ancestors. Ancient technologies are just as magical and amazing as modern technologies, and reincorporating a few of them back into our modern lifestyle would go a long way in re mediating many of our modern environmental and personal health maladies. Greater appreciation for this planet that sustains us and the wisdom of our ancestors is a lovely side effect of ‘getting out there’… and rubs off on our youth.

Have fun playing in the woods!”

Please share this post! Also, you can help get the book known by calling your local book store. Ask them to order a copy in today! Even if you don’t purchase the book directly from them, they will get it out on the shelf and more folks will see it. Visiting a National Park this season? Or a natural history museum? Ask them to carry the book in their gift shop.

Have fun playing in the woods! All the best, Robin


Our 25th Anniversary! Wow! An Invitation and 2015 Earth Knack News

Posted by: Robin Blankenship                           Date: March 14, 2015

Earth Knack Gathering in Denver

2015 marks the 25th year of Earth Knack programming! Who ever imagined rubbing two sticks together would go this far?

01 15 EKGathering HidesWe will celebrate this milestone June 25-30 during the Earth Knack Family Gathering! This year, the gathering will be held in the south Denver area and we hope it will help all our Earth Knack family and friends–past, present, and future–more easily attend. It will be fun to return to the Front Range, where we ran our June gatherings for Earth Knack’s first ten years! Many of our long-time Earth Knack instructors reside in this part of Colorado, so we are calling our top-quality instructional team together for this event.

Drover and Beth Hall, founders of Sarqit Outdoor Living School, are co-hosting this event with Earth Knack, and have found a beautiful location for the camp at Happy Dog Ranch, a therapeutic horse ranch that borders Chatfield State Park in Littleton, Colorado. Camp set-up is Thursday June 25 (the perfect date for a 25th anniversary!), with classes running all day and Monday, June 26-29. Camp closing and pack-up happen on Tuesday, June 30.

Please visit for specific information and full logistics for our 25th Annual Family Gathering program and how you can prepare to attend! You can find Earth Knack’s 2015 programming, instructor profiles, and upcoming classes and events at


New Additions to the Earth Knack Team

Sam and Jillian Liebl, Earth Knack internship graduates, have joined the Earth Knack team in 2015 and have implemented a satellite Earth Knack program in Salida, Colorado. They are bringing quality adult primitive skills classes to the Salida community and also launching a new kids program over the coming spring break  called Earth Kids Camp. The response to their camp has been terrific so far, and their weekend adult fire making classes have been well attended over the last month.

Jillian is also responsible for the wonderful new calendar listing on our Earth Knack web page, and the production of our 2015 class schedule brochure. See our online class schedule for all Salida class dates.


MeSimple Learning Series in Boulder



On April 25, I will be joining a team of speakers in Boulder, Colorado, for an E-Town seminar entitled Tapping the Potential of Nature and Simplicity. Scott Edwards, creator of the MeSimple Learning Series, designed this seminar and has invited me to speak about Outdoor Living and Nature Immersion. Please tune in or attend. More information at

Enjoy the spring and please do whatever you can to get to the Earth Knack 25th Anniversary celebration June 25–30, near Denver, Colorado.

It’s been a great ride! Buckets of gratitude to the great big Earth Knack family……….

Love, Robin

EARTH KIDS Spring Break Camp!

Posted by: Jillian Liebl                               Date: March 12, 2015

We’ve been getting a great response in the last few days from Salida parents about our upcoming EARTH KIDS Spring Break Camp! Boy, oh boy, are we going to have fun: archery, natural pigments, stone tools, friction fire, plant walks, silly stories and songs… Yippee! We can hardly contain our excitement.



Making pottery with natural clay at Wintercount 2015.

EARTH KIDS will be held in Salida March 23-27 from 8 am to 3 pm each day. Full week registration is just $225, or you can choose one or more days to come for $50 per day. Check out our jam-packed, fun-filled course schedule here: EARTH KIDS Spring Break Camp Schedule 2015.

Camp is filling up quickly, so complete your registration as soon as possible hereYou can save 10% when you register early–by the end of the day TOMORROW, Friday, March 13.

Email Jillian with any questions: jillianliebl [at] gmail [dot] com.


Boys enraptured with soap-making at Wintercount 2015.


A Quarter Century, Gee Golly!

Posted: Monday, February 9, 2015          By: Robin Blankenship

Holy cow! It’s hard to believe that it was 25 years ago that Earth Knack came to be. I’m so excited to share that we have one heck of a quarter-century celebration in the works for this summer: the 25th Annual Earth Knack Gathering! We’re reeling in an awesome catch of Earth Knack staff and guest instructors to make this event top-notch. A family-friendly five days of archery, atl-atl, blacksmithing, basketry, pottery, fire-making, outdoor cooking, plant-fiber cordage, wild edibles, medicinal plants, beekeeping, natural gardening, soap-making, natural building, livestock, flintknapping, hide tanning…What more could you want?!

For the first time in quite a few years, Earth Knack is bringing the gathering back to the Front Range. We’re pleased to announce that this year’s event will take place June 25 to June 30 in the pristine pastures of Happy Dog Ranch in Littleton, CO. Camp will be within a stone’s throw of scenic Chatfield State Park and Reservoir, giving the illusion that you’ve escaped from hectic city life–though if you live in Denver, you’re still just a few minutes from home. You can even take a break from primitive skills and bring the whole family to ride horses at Stockton’s Plum Creek Stables, just down the road.

This event wouldn’t be possible without a partnership with our friends Drover and Beth Hall of Sarqit Outdoor Living School.

We can’t wait to see you there! Visit for details and registration.


A sneak peek of the site! Drover, Robin, and Sam talk logistics.



Earth Knack Expands to Salida

Posted: Monday, February 2, 2015         By: Robin Blankenship

We are so excited to let everyone know that Earth Knack is expanding course offerings beyond the school site in Crestone! Sam and Jillian Liebl, who joined the Earth Knack team in December 2014, have begun in earnest, with a series of friction fire courses in January and February. They even got a nice write-up in The Mountain Mail!

The next friction fire course in Salida will be held Saturday, February 28. We will meet at Riverside Park at noon, and the course should end by 3 pm. Tuition is $20 per person. Please bring a knife if you have one.


Rafael holds fire even on the dampest day!


Sam watches as Teresa blows her tinder bundle into flames!


Sam helps Jamie, age 7.


Leslie, Barry, and Sam work together.


A great end to a great class! Mark, Leslie, Sam, Mike, and Jaime are the proud parents of one awesome fire!


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"Primitive living skills for the 21st century"