If civilization as we know it were to be wiped out tomorrow, would you be ready to survive in the wild? If you were to be framed by some conspiratorial government agency and had to go into a hiding in a cave somewhere in the forest, would you know how to fend for yourself? If you were backpacking and a bear ate all of your food, would you know what things to eat from nature?

It’s true that these are rather extreme situations. But it’s what I thought about when I stumbled upon an organization called Trackers NW in Portland. I was surfing the web when their Butchering a Buffalo class caught my eye. It’s not a dream of mine to kill an animal, but I do like fresh meat and that’s what this sounded like. So I went to their website and though the butchering class was full (not like I can afford the $125 fee anyway), they offer a lot of other of classes and nature immersion experiences that sound really fun and also very helpful. The programs teach you simple techniques for sustaining yourself and living off the land: lacto fermentation (which is not cheese making, but seems to be a kind of pickling that they promise is delicious), kayak building, identifying medicinal plants and herbs and stone knife making.

While I’m pretty sure that most of these classes are meant to be a way to get in touch with nature and yourself rather than a worst case scenario guide, you never know when impromptu kayak building skills will come in handy. Trackers NW also offers a wilderness survival program too, which may be more handy. But go find out for yourself. Maybe one day when you’re starving out in the wild and a buffalo comes wandering up out of nowhere, you’ll feel prepared.

Take a look at some good, wholesome apple-pressing fun.