Weekly lessons in wilderness survival, wildlife tracking, foraging, bird & animal communication, & other essential skills!
Sign up as a pioneer member and start enhancing your outdoor skills today!
*One or more video lessons per week in an essential outdoor skill like wilderness survival, wildlife tracking, foraging for wild plants, bird language & animal communication, backpacking/camping tips, and other related topics
*Access to the Naturalist Speak Community where you can post images, videos and stories on a range of outdoor topics, as well as respond to others' posts and answer challenge questions that are posed to community members
*Early access to podcasts and other content as well as additional learning materials that are only available to members
Take Your Outdoor Skills To the Next Level...
My name is Lee Burton, founder and owner of Naturalist Studies and adjunct instructor at several leading universities. I grew up in small town Texas where my father and other relatives took me fishing and taught me how to hunt. I developed a love for almost anything involving the outdoors, whether it was catching a fish in a wooded canyon stream, or traversing a steep slope to sneak up on an unsuspecting deer.
But when I became an adult, I realized I didn't know near as much about the outdoors as I thought I did. So I began studying everything I could about the natural world to learn as much as possible about animals, plants, and ecology in general, becoming a master naturalist along the way.
That path led me to travel the world, visiting some of the most remote places on the planet in Asia, Africa, and South America to see first hand what nature had to offer and how people interacted with it. Those experiences were amazing, and I saw and learned things that most people will never see.
But I wasn't satisfied.
When I returned home, I still had this itch that needed scratching. It was great to learn ABOUT nature, but I wanted to interact with it, to learn more hands-on skills, to CONNECT and have a relationship with it. So I doubled-down and started taking courses and reading books on ancient skills, sometimes referred to as 'Traditional Ecological Knowledge' (TEK) which included pursuits like animal tracking, bird language, foraging, and wilderness survival.
And that changed EVERYTHING!
Rather than just viewing nature through the lens of an observer, I was experiencing it first hand. Perhaps more importantly, I began to realize that I was actually part of the story, one that was unfolding around me every time I stepped outside, even in my own back yard. My own experiences were so much more rewarding, and I wanted to find a way to share that with others.
I had always enjoyed teaching, so I played around with the idea of starting an outdoor school. But there were a lot of established schools already, and I wanted to reach more people than just my local community. So I started developing a few online lessons to see how it might be done. And to my great surprise, not only was it doable, but it actually offered some great advantages. So I finished the course materials and taught a class to a group of university students and held my breath...and then the feedback came in.
I was astounded. The reviews were off the charts. Many students said it was their favorite course they had ever taken. Why? Because in an online environment you can visually show the essentials of what someone needs to know and you aren't limited to a 'once only viewing.' While in-person classes are great, you typically only get a few hours of instruction and then are left to your own devices. With online learning, you can return to watch it over and over again, reinforcing the understanding while picking up new aspects each time.
To be fair, you can't simply watch something online and then become an expert at it. Just like reading a book or instruction manual, you have to go out and practice the skills or do your homework so to speak, and then repeat it until it sticks. But if you are willing to put in the 'dirt time', then you CAN and WILL become proficient in outdoor skills.
After that first semester, I taught the course again at several other universities, getting the same positive feedback each time. I knew I was onto something, so I founded Naturalist Studies with the intention of offering the same valuable content to the public.
And now I've made those learning materials available on a membership basis that delivers content to you each week, giving you the opportunity to watch on your own time, share questions and comments with with other participants, and practice what you have learned before moving onto the next lesson. The Ultimate Outdoorsman combines multiple subjects like wilderness survival, wildlife tracking, foraging for wild plants, and animal language, and more into one program at an incredible value. Taught by expert instructors with years of experience in the field, it is the most comprehensive online learning program for outdoor skills!
Improve Your Survival & Backcountry Skills so You Can Handle Anything Nature Throws at You!
Learn the Art of Wildlife Tracking and Start Finding Animals Faster!
Start Harvesting Nutritious Wild Plants and Gain Access to an Unlimited Emergency Food Supply!
Understand animal communication and when birds are warning you of predators nearby!
You'll get one or more instructional videos each week from one of the following topics:
Learning essential survival skills is necessary to dealing with emergency situations in the outdoors that could threaten your safety and those with you. Like the famous scouts, pioneers, and mountain men of of the past who old had an intimate knowledge of the natural world that allowed them to subsist on the land and thrive in hostile conditions, you'll learn a variety of techniques that will enable you to handle adversity whether it happens on a nearby hiking trail or deep in remote country including:
- Avoiding dangerous survival situations
- Starting fire, finding/purifying water, and building emergency shelters
- Navigating using a compass and topographical map
- Getting lost and methods for finding your way out or signaling for rescue
- Staying warm and avoiding heat exhausting/ dehydration
- Making cordage, tying knots, and using a knife
Wildlife Tracks & Sign
Knowing how to recognize animal tracks and sign is key to understanding the wildlife that is in the area, including perceiving what it was doing and when it was there, and how to find (or avoid) it. Just as indigenous peoples are taught at a young age how to interpret the clues left behind by animals, you too will learn the skills to be able to confidently identify, age, and follow a wide variety of mammal, bird, reptile, and amphibian tracks and trails through:
- Understanding track morphology, features, and characteristics
- Reading gaits and interpreting associated behaviors
- Aging tracks and sign
- Following animal paths and trailing wildlife
- Interpreting scat and pellet, and predation remains
- Recognizing other animal sign like feeding, bedding, marking etc.
Foraging for Wild Plants
Eating 'off-the-land' entails a lot more than just finding a few leafy greens that are edible or locating some ripe fruit; a true outdoorsman knows the ins and outs of getting access to plant resources that are available at their fingertips when they need them. You'll learn to avail yourself of nutritious wild foods present in your own back yard, nearby green space, or wilderness by:
- Learning the most essential staple foods indigenous people relied upon
- Knowing correct habitats to locate desired species
- Identifying plants using appropriate characteristics/keys
- Avoiding dangerous lookalikes that are poisonous
- Recognizing what time of year to harvest particular species
- Understanding steps required in processing what you bring home
Bird Language & Animal Communication
People of virtually every hunter-gatherer culture understood the meaning behind songbird vocalizations and other communications, and how to tune into the messages that were being broadcast about what was happening on the landscape around them. You will learn how to increase your situational awareness through interpreting the meaning behind what birds and other animals are ‘saying’ by:
- Knowing how to distinguish between baseline and non-baseline behaviors
- Deciphering alarm calls and identifying potential aerial threats
- Identifying the whereabouts and movements of dangerous ground predators
- Understanding methods to conceal your presence while hunting and get close to wildlife
- Recognizing the true nature of silence in the forest and how to use that to your advantage
- Interpreting the communication web that exists between all animals
A well-rounded outdoorsman draws upon a wide array of skills that he or she can call upon as the situation demands. There is no limit to the amount of useful knowledge that can be acquired, and hence some additional topics that may be referenced during weekly lessons (among others) include:
- Selecting backcountry gear and clothing recommendations
- Setting up campsites and choosing overnight locations
- Predicting the weather based on 'in-the-field' observations
- Performing sense meditations that enhance your outdoor experiences
- Maintaining your physical health and well-being in remote country
- Keeping a positive attitude and good psychology when things go wrong
What Others Have to Say
"This is, without question, one of the most comprehensive and detailed programs available. I have been studying bushcraft, wilderness survival, and general outdoor skills for over 25 years, teaching those skills for over 15 years. I was very pleased with the incredible detail...the program will allow the student to become very confident in their knowledge of outdoor skills."
— Keith Farrar, Instructor at The School of Self-Reliance
"I did not realize how successful I became with the content of this program until I took one of my fellow environmental police officers with me. As I explained to him what I was looking at with the deer tracks, he simply looked at me in amazement and said 'Where did you learn all of this?' It was at this moment that I realized I had obtained a skillset that a senior game warden did not possess."
— Adam Brightman
"The foraging program gave me so many opportunities to grow my skills in an outdoor field and after taking it, I've shown people all sorts of plants and what you can do with them...people enjoy it so much when I tell them what delicious plants you can find in the wild!"
— Grace Harris
"Bird language was mind blowing for me. I learned how birds communicate using vocalizations, movements, body language, and flight patterns to identify the location of dangerous predators. It will change your outdoor experiences forever!"
— Martin Ack
We're so sure that you'll love The Ultimate Outdoorsman Membership that we're offering an outrageous guarantee: You have 30 days after your membership starts to change your mind and ask for a refund. No hassle, no questions asked, no hard feelings!
Meet Your Instructors
Lee Burton is the owner of Naturalist Studies, an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida, Texas A&M, and the University of Idaho teaching courses in animal behavior and communication. He is also the former director for Conservation Centers for Species Survival and has been profiled on Steve Rinella's Meateater podcast. He has led field programs in North and Central America, and is a Master Naturalist as well as being certified in Wildlife Track and Sign by Cybertracker North America.
Lee mentored under Jon Young (founder of Wilderness Awareness School) and is recognized as a Bird Language Leaders Instructor.
Matthew Hunter is the creator of three outdoor education courses in wilderness survival and foraging, and lived off the land for several months in remote country to hone his skills. He has also spent years researching these topics, incorporating the latest scientific principles and field tested techniques into his teachings.
He has filmed over 150 videos about edible wild plants and outdoor skills, and regularly leads plant walks in his local area. He also maintains a foraging blog, and is the author of Sonoran Desert Foraging, a book that is set to be published in 2023.
Frequently Asked Questions
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