WilderSkills is a youth outdoor education program, founded as a branch of California Survival School, that helps kids and teens reconnect with the earth and become outdoor adventure capable through developing both modern and primitive wilderness skills.
Founded in 2013 by Dan Baird and Laura Stein, Wilderskills programs cover a range of skills, from fire-by-friction and traditional navigation, to ancient crafts and techniques for making tools and blending into the woods. Our programs are divided into three aspects – Ancient Skills, Wild Adventure, Deep Connection.
Wilderskills is based in California. Summer camp programs take place at multiple locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Saratoga, Redwood City, and Livermore California. See course pages for more details.
Dan began sharing his love for the outdoors and primitive living technologies professionally in 2004 as a back-country wilderness survival guide and primitive skills instructor with Anasazi Foundation, leading multi-week primitive living expeditions for teens and adults through the high desert and mountains of northern Arizona.
Dan has since lived and traveled in places as far reaching as Romania, Mexico, Venezuela, Hawaii and Tanzania to learn and teach primitive living skills, culminating in the foundation of California Survival School in 2012 and WilderSkills Outdoor Adventure programs in 2013. In addition to his expertise as a primitive survival skills instructor and outdoor guide, Dan is also a DHS/FEMA/EMI nationally certified C.E.R.T (Community Emergency Response Team) training instructor through the National Emergency Training Center and a Medical Wilderness First Responder. Today, Dan loves having the opportunity to make primitive skills and nature awareness learning opportunities available to thousands of people across California each year via California Survival School and WilderSkills primitive adventure programs.
Laura has been studying and instructing primitive wilderness survival more than a decade and is highly experienced at working with youth and families in outdoor settings. Her approach in teaching primitive skills and nature awareness draws on Tom Brown, Jr. and Jon Young’s Coyote Mentoring principles of questioning, storytelling, and adventuring, to inspire students towards seeking out their own nature experiences. In addition to sharing her primitive skills expertise as an instructor for California Survival School, Laura is also a Wilderness EMT and holds degrees in Tourism & Hospitality Management and Environmental Studies from Temple University. She is also proud to be a co-founder of WilderSkills youth adventure programs.(WilderSkills.Com).
Born and raised barefoot on the North Short of Oahu, Nikki Sterman grew up with a deep love and respect for natural spaces and traditional living skills. In 2011, Nikki moved to the mainland to work as a licensed primitive skills instructor and back-country guide in the Tonto National Forest for the ANASAZI Foundation. It was in the desert that Nikki truly developed her passion for teaching primitive living skills, as well as plant medicine. After years of teaching experiential survival skills on the trail at ANASAZI, Nikki attended the SouthWest Institute of Healing Arts for formal study in Western Herbalism. Nikki now works as an Herbalist in Long Beach, CA, and is a primitive living skills instructor for both the WilderSkills Outdoor Adventure programs as well as California Survival School.