Joe Blevis is a mentor, naturalist, survivalist, and tracker, and is a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR). For the last 5 years, he has been working with children, adults, and families helping them reconnect with the natural world. Originally from New Jersey, Joe discovered his passion for earth living skills while living in Montana, and eventually pursued that passion by becoming a student of Tom Brown Jr. and the Tracker School in 2009. After finishing a full-time internship at the Tracker School, he began to work with other primitive skills programs across the country, such as Twin Eagles Wilderness School, The Children of the Earth Foundation, and the Whidbey Institute.
Over the last several years, Joe has lead classes with homeschoolers, private and public schools, and summer camps. He has created programs such as "The Primitive Living Skills" series at the Nature Place Day Camp in NY, and "Forest Fridays" in NJ, to encourage children and adults to develop life long skills and a relationship to the earth. Joe's style of teaching encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to step out of their comfort zone and explore new things, while maintaining a healthy awareness in their everyday lives. As a teacher, his goal is to pass down these ancient skills, accompanied by a sense of wonder, curiosity, reverence, and connection to the Earth.
Schedule a Private Class or Program
If you are interested in scheduling a private program with Joe Blevis at The New Weis Center for your school, homeschool group, Scout troop, private party, family or friends, please Contact Us.
Earth Living Skills is a collective of experienced instructors who provide hands-on enrichment programs, where they share earth living skills such as awareness and connection in nature, how to build shelter using materials found in nature, how to find and purify water, how to make fire with friction, and how to find food off the landscape.
For more about Earth Living Skills, please visit:
Primitive Skills Classes with Joe Blevis from Earth Living Skills
"reconnecting with ancient ways"
Payment: Payment is due upon registration and is non-refundable. If you are unable to attend, you may come to the class on another scheduled date.
Parking: drive through the outer gate and park near the main building.
Children under 18: must be accompanied by an adult. If the adult is not registering, they may wait in our main building or picnic grove during the class.
Sunday, August 5, 4:00pm-6:30pm - Fire Building-Part 2
The bow drill is one of the most reliable ways to create fire by friction. In this program, participants who have worked with the bow drill fire making method in the past, will now be making their own personal bow drill kits, from start to finish. We will be going into detailed description of each individual part, which materials to work with/avoid, as well as perfecting the technical aspects of the bow drill technique. Includes the use of knives/tools; all materials will be included, and the kits will be yours to take home and continue working with.
For a list of other classes that Joe teaches, please scroll down. If you'd like to request one of those classes, please let us know!
Additional Classes Coming Soon
If you are interested in scheduling one of these classes for your family, friends or group, please let us know!
Meet Our Local Plants
Come join us as we explore The New Weis Center's property and surrounding lands, and get first hand experience meeting and interacting with the local plants. We will be studying, drawing, photographing, and eating plants, as well as learning about some medicinal qualities and utilitarian purposes - such as which plant fibers work best for rope making, or which trees have good bark for baskets. We will also identify some poisonous plants, and talk about their hazards. Suggested to bring a notebook, pencil and a camera/cell phone (for pictures only).
Making Cordage & Natural Fiber Processing
Knowing how to make strong, durable rope was an essential skill for our ancestors. Take a moment and think about all the uses of ropes, strings, and threads in our modern, everyday use; your clothing, the dog's leash, shoelaces, and bags are only a few examples. When dealing with a primitive living situation, the list of practical uses for good cordage is virtually endless. In this program, we'll be working with a simple reverse-wrap cordage making method. Once everyone is up to speed with that, we will get some hands-on experience processing local plants into usable fibers. All materials included.
Shelter is your top priority in a survival situation, and one of the most empowering skills to possess. In this program we'll cover the basics of shelter, ranging from the clothes on your back to the hands-on experience of building a primitive shelter. The debris hut, if built correctly, will keep you warm and dry even on the coldest nights, and cool and protected on the hottest days. Together we'll build a one-person debris hut without any man-made materials. After we are done enjoying it, we'll return the materials back to the Earth, and leave our work area better than we found it.
Movement & Awareness in the Forest
When we move through a town or city, we move at a certain pace, we pay attention to certain things, and we dress to match our environment. However, when we move in the forest, we need to make some serious adjustments - especially if we want to observe or study wildlife. By learning how to move silently through the landscape, you will feel more at home and relaxed anytime you venture outdoors.
Awareness is the greatest physical skill that one could possess. In this modern day, very few of us take the time to slow down, open up our senses, and pay rapt attention to the present moment. This Awareness class will focus on slowing down our body and mind, and opening up our other senses to connect with things that are usually overlooked.
Fire Building-Part 1
Fire is one of the greatest tools that humans can possess. Whether it's used to treat your water and cook your food, or warm your shelter and provide light to work by, the possibilities and uses of fire are endless. If you've ever spent a night camping without a fire, you'll surely feel the lack of its presence. In this program, we'll cover topics ranging from scouting a proper location, proper material collection, structure building, and fire safety. Participants will even have the opportunity to work with the bow drill fire-making method, as well as a few other primitive methods.
Making Coal Burned Bowls
Coal burning is the art of using fire to create vessels of all shapes and sizes. Perhaps you'd like to coal burn a spoon or ladle to serve your food with. Or maybe you and your family are burning out a canoe for a lifetime of fishing and exploration. In this class, we'll be focusing on simple, coal burned bowls. If done correctly, these vessels can last a lifetime, and easily be used to transport and treat water, as well as serve food. No prior experience necessary. All tools, materials and supplies will be provided.