About - PA Wilderness Skills

About PA Wilderness Skills and Me

About Me

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.

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.

After that, I started my own YouTube channel to try and pass on the things I've learned. I wanted to do something different from the main stream survival YouTube channels. So I created a series of videos using a good, but inexpensive knife for survival and bushcraft skills and activities, a 7" Old Hickory butcher knife. After I finished that series I continued to make videos targeting the inexperienced and unprepared. I try not to cut corners and shorten a video just to make it more entertaining. My channel is dedicated to providing good instruction on how to do the task or skill with as many details as necessary. I continue to add new videos as time permits. Although, not as often as I'd like.

I also teach hands-on classes locally based on some of the needs I saw in the community. Outdoor activities are huge in this area, but I'm constantly reading about lost hikers or seeing people headed to the woods unprepared. My main class was built around the idea of educating the unprepared and giving them the skills to spend an unexpected night in the woods.

I currently do free demonstrations for local youth organizations, including "PA Wilds Child" day and the summer festival at Black Moshannon State park. I also talk to youth groups like 4-H and scouts about safety and being prepared when heading into the woods. I also put together a program for a local home school group. I taught the kids different survival and wilderness skills each Wednesday morning for eight weeks. Since then I've put together even more great lessons for any local youth organization that wants me to come out.

I've also been working with a great group of instructors I met while teaching at Escape the Woods Survival Challenge alongside Creek Stewart. Wilderness Introduction, Training & Survival (WITS) Outdoors is our group. We teach survival skills in a friendly, low stress environment. WITS Outdoors is a great place for beginners and even the more experienced to pick up a lot of great wilderness/outdoor skills.

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 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!