Connecting with PA Wilderness Skills

Supporting Pennsylvania state parks, forests and wilderness is what HBF Outdoors is all about. Inspiring people to get outside and enjoy the many spots throughout our state is my motivation. And connecting with like-minded people is my goal.

Located an hour from my home in the State College area is PA Wilderness Skills, an organization focused on teaching you basic outdoor and survival skills. Throughout the year they host various courses and seminars. This September they are hosting a bushcraft gathering called Uitwaaien. I’m looking forward to attending this four day event with my friend and teacher Stephen Kinney, social media friend Dan Wowak, and meeting up with other like-minded people who want to learn and advance in their outdoor skills.

I recently connected with Art Dawes, the founder of PA Wilderness Skills and look forward to connecting face to face to collaborate and partner up to get people outside, educated and equipped.

PA Wilderness Skills

I grew up next to the woods and spent almost every evening after school messing around in them. I spent a little time in scouts growing up, but the real thing that gave me my addiction to learning survival skills was an elective I took in 9th grade. We learned about survival and tried out what we learned. I remember trying to get a fire going on the front lawn in front of our junior high building and taking a day trip in the middle of winter to try our skills out.

After high school, I didn’t do much practicing or learning about survival/primitive skills. In fact, I didn’t really even think about it much at all anymore; other interests had taken their place. The only time I came close was when I went camping or hiking, but by then it had become all about the gear and gadgets.

A couple of years ago, when survival TV was just starting, I saw an episode of a show called Man vs. Wild. While it was entertaining, it just didn’t seem real or focused on real survival skills. Then, I saw a show called SurvivorMan starring Les Stroud. Now that was the real deal! Alone in the wilderness with very limited modern equipment! I was hooked on gaining survival/primitive skills again. After SurvivorMan, there was Dual Survival starring Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin. That show was just fuel for the survival fire I had found again. A flood of survival shows followed, but none captured the realness of knowing survival skills like SurvivorMan and Dual Survival did for me. That didn’t mean I didn’t watch the others just to get a fix, though.

After that, I watched every episode of every survival show I could find and a ton of YouTube videos on the subject. Then in 2014, I found out that Dave Canterbury from Dual Survival had an outdoor school where he taught survival skills, and it was only in Ohio! I attended two classes at Dave’s Pathfinder School, basic and intermediate. I learned a lot from those classes, especially the first one. While I felt pretty confident in my outdoor skills before the class, the basic class showed me ways to do the things I already knew how to do but ten times better and easier.

Since then, I’ve started my own YouTube channel with a decent following. I do a few demonstrations for local youth organizations, including a primitive fire demo at a youth outdoor expo every year. I also talk to youth groups like 4-H and scouts about safety and being prepared when heading into the woods.

I’m a firm believer that you should never stop learning. Since my first survival classes at the Pathfinder School, I’ve taken classes with Randall’s Adventure & Training and I’ve recently been given a great opportunity to be an instructor alongside Creek Stewart at Escape the Woods. I’m always looking to learn new things and pass on what I’ve learned. Learning and teaching are two things I love, and I don’t plan on stopping either anytime soon!

For more information about PA Wilderness Skills


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