Origins-9 Month Program

18 and up.
Sat, 01/25/2020 - 10:00am
Nine months, over 30 class days of training,  one course a month ending with a week long stone age living trip. 
Engage yourself in your landscape and material culture in a whole new way. Immerse yourself in a handmade life.
Origins is a nine month program devoted to studying, making, and using the tools needed to meet your basic needs.  Our focus is not the short term survival scenario, but a long term relationship of living with the land. We meet once a month for classes varying for a weekend to a week, from January to October.
This course applies to the farmer, the hunter, the adventurer, and the naturalist. It is a study in meeting your material needs with your own two hands utilizing materials gleaned from the landscape, be it a basket for storing or harvesting food or a shelter roofed and insulated with natural thatch. We accelerate students gradually through the process of learning to craft and create, complimented by a study path focused on our living landscape.
We use the skills, tools, and knowledge as we grow it. At the end of the program we will leave the modern world behind for a full week of living in a shelter we build, with tools we made, and food we have harvested. We enjoy a week in the stone age; having no metal, no paper, no plastic, and no glass.  It is timeless, simple, and authentic.
The program will begin with an introduction weekend where students will integrate with the basic understandings and skills that are covered throughout the course, lay out the rest of the program, and help students to personalize their course of study.  Materials, skills, and resources will be introduced and then we will get to work, starting projects to be continued throughout the course.

The program then strings together a series of Roots Classes, one a month:

2020 Dates

Intro Weekend- Jan 25-26th
Bow Making and Arrow Making- Feb 29th- March 5th 
Tracking and Awareness Plus Hunting Day (Begins one day early for Origins Students to cover hunting 3 days total) June 12- Jun 14
Flint Knapping-July 11-12
Foraging  Aug 1
Wet Felting- Aug 2nd
Origins Weekend- September 11-13 - Pemmican and Jerky Making, Gathering and Storing Wild Edibles, Shelter
Origins Primitive Living Trip- October 4th-10th





When you add all of these classes up, plus homework assignments each student will have made: 
  • A handmade wooden bow as heavy in draw as they can shoot well.
  • Flint Knapped knives, scrapers, drills, saws and more.
  • Bone knives, arrowheads, and awls.
  • A collection of small game arrows and quiver.
  • Gourd canteen and bark kettle.
  • Soap stone cooking vessel or oil lamp.
  • Pecked and Ground Adzes or Axes from Green Stone or local basalt.
  • Rawhide and willow pack baskets.
  • Advanced natural cordage.
  • A drop spindle.
  • A tanned pelt.
  • A hand felted blanket or article of clothing.
  • A grass sleeping pad.
  • A friction fire kit.
  • And of course odds and ends too multiple to list.
These are the items, and any other stone age tools that students have made, that will be brought on the wilderness living trip, this and the clothing on our backs. Our trip will take place the first week of October and we will use our tools to create shelter, carry water, cook our meals, harvest and process wild edibles, work on projects of our choice with all stone tools, and hunt.
Students who have a Vermont State Hunting License and Archery Tags and who have put in the time needed to become effective with their weapons, will be able to hunt for rabbit and hare, ruffed grouse, gray squirrel, wild turkey, and if they are ready, white tailed deer.

In the time between each class students will be given assignments to complete before the next class focused on building skills in application, and on naturalist studies that pertain to species important to our work.

"Completing the Origins Program through the Roots School was easily my greatest professional development experience to date. Having studied as an architect and builder with strong interests in the origins of tool development and technology, Roots was able to provide me with invaluable hands-on immersion that allowed me to test notions of theory into practice.

I am also an educator and have been able to adapt these experiences and know-how successfully, and with positive outcomes, in the classroom. In a world of ever growing specialization these skills help me to stand out among my colleagues, and further have helped to develop my own voice and interests as a designer. Since taking the program I have advanced in my position at the workplace, due in no small part to the confidence I gained at Roots developing applied traditional skills and re-imagining them to my contemporary context.

The outdoor element of the Roots programming also helped develop in me a great awareness and sensitivity to the natural world that I have fortunately been able to apply through the lens of environmentalism and in a practical way by co-leading outdoor trips with my own students - - an aspect of education that I have only now been able to access. I highly recommend the Roots programs and instructors to anyone with interest in traditional skills, outdoor leadership, survival training, herbalism, and safe wild edible harvesting."

Jose, UT

Requirements for Students
This is a rigorous program. It will require enthusiasm, time commitment, hard work and personal skills development. In order to step into this program you must be willing to make room in your life for changes in order to include skills and the natural world into your day to day existence. We ask students to commit to being at all courses, completing the home study, practice, and projects, and to be fully invested in the arc of the program.
We recommend that students take Core Skills or Wilderness Survival Immersion Project before Origins, although it is not required. We are happy to talk to people about whether or not this program is right for them, and to suggest a book or two to check out before the start of the program.
Tuition and Registration
If you add of these classes together the price would be $3900, we are offering it at $3330 or if you register and deposit before the early registration deadline for $3000.
Early Registration Discounted Tuition: To receive the early registration discounted tuition of $3000, a deposit of $500 must be received and fully paid by November 15th.
Tuition: After November 15th, tuition is $3300. Enclose $500.00 non-refundable deposit with your registration which is due no later than Jan 1st.  If we have not received 6 applicants by this time we will not run the program. Full payment of the balance is expected on the first day of class unless arrangements for a Payment Plan or Grant have been made at the time of registration.
Payment Plans: Payment Plans are available by request. Payment Plan Policy: Please know that if you sign up for a payment plan and drop out midway through the course you are still responsible for the remainder of your balance. If you do not complete your payments on schedule late fees will be assessed.  Please contact us if you would like to discuss a personal and flexible, payment plan
Refund Policy: Tuition minus the deposit is refundable up to one month before the beginning of the program.

Grants: Qualifying Vermont residents may apply for Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, (VSAC) non-degree grants. Be aware that VSAC begins its funding cycle in June and January of each year and awards grants on a first-come-first-serve basis while funds last. Please apply early!  Students who apply for VSAC grants are asked to submit $500.00 non-refundable deposit with your registration form. When the grant is issued at the start of the program, we will refund whatever amount of your deposit is in excess of the tuition.  VSAC application forms may be obtained from Vermont Student Assistance Corporation: 1-800-882-4166 or write P.O. Box 2000, Champlain Mill, Winooski, VT 05404-2601.


Recurring Dates: 
Sunday, March 2, 2014 (All day)

Register Online!


Directions, Gear & Logistics

Logistical information about what to bring for your class, camping during overnight courses, directions and so forth can be found here.

Registration Forms

Online registrations are preferred, but registration by mail is accepted. Either proceed online above, or mail in the forms below with a check for the deposit.