Rewilding 101 Class Fall 2019

This forum is for people attending the class Rewilding 101, taught by Peter Bauer, in fall of 2019. It’s intended to include discussion about topics from the homework. It makes sense (to me) to have it in one spot rather than try and find existing threads that fit the homework and adding to those.


Week 1 Homework element: “What is the ecological role of Homo sapiens?”
Here’s some starting list of our evolved characteristics:
Tenderers - tending of foods, fires, lands, each other
Dispersers - we move around easily and we take things with us
Omnivores -
Sensory - since we are both predator and prey we have sensitive brain-bodies that alert us to danger, maybe that’s literally everything alive though (just different)
Makers - we create tools for tending and for general life supports


Yesss, all those things. I’d say we’re here to care for the land through deep connection to it—by tending, planting back (both deliberately and not, as when we harvest nettle stalks and the seeds naturally drop in the process), working with fire on the ground, pooping seedy poop. Maintaining resilience and connection in many directions.


At our last class I noticed that there might be other environmental educators and parents who were interested in subjects pertaining to rewilding and environmental ed. I’m just curious who else out there is a teacher (I am) and/or parent (I am not). I thought it might be nice to connect those of us with this interest for maybe some future discussions?

Just to give my history, I started working with young folks about 15 years ago as a preschool teacher. 5 years ago I started working for a forest school in Olympia, WA called ACORNS. I helped found their preschool program and also worked one day a week with homeschool kids aged 5 to 15. I spent this last summer working as a coordinator and lead instructor for Trackers Earth (which outside of time with the kids, was a really rough and negative experience).

Just looking to connect some community ties that may be beneficial and interesting to those of us working in or thinking about environmental education.


I appreciate there is a class for this. I am curious why omnivores would need to be on this list, though. Some do well with foraging for food from plants without use of animals still. Omnivorism is not needed for sustainability in living.

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I know we can’t see our identities here…if we all reply to the group emails we can share the environmental educator bit (I am also in the EE world).


In trying to sort out what the ecological role of homo sapiens, I was thinking about behaviors that shape ecological niche. I didn’t fill it in after the word “Omnivore” because I was reviewing other omnivores and thinking through THEIR niches - like pigs, bears, raccoons, opossums, skunks, some birds…anyway, I’m not sure what our eating habits are like is affecting the ecological role as much as some of the others. I’m new at looking through this new lens.

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I don’t see where we would all reply to group emails. Can I learn how to be involved with that?

It is clear to me that the ecological role is really affected with what our eating habits are like.

Hi Frankprimalanswers - the email list I mentioned is based on folks talking the Rewilding 101 Class this fall, if you’re in the Portland area you can take the class next time it’s offered!

Hi Mindy,

This post caught my attention when it first came up, but I have hesitated to ask the burning questions that arose at that time as it seemed they might be way too personal. But now that the subject of poop has become high priority for me, seeing as it is one of the most basic ways that we animals participate in the world around us, I am going to go ahead and ask. If I am out of line please let me know.

What kind of fruit are you eating whose seeds are not digestible, yet pass through your system without great discomfort?

This is the one that could be overly delicate: From some of your posts I had guessed that you are living in a city—What kinds of places do you find to poop seedy poop without getting in trouble with the law, for one thing, and just in general dealing with this subject that has become so difficult in the world as it is today?

Any information at all is very welcome, even if kept very general. Thank you.

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Eileen, ha! I’m so happy you’re asking me about my poop, this is a great question. :slight_smile: I do live in a city, on grid, in a home with the usual kind of toilet, so I poop into fresh water most of the time. What a waste all around. A composting toilet at home would be great but I haven’t made that happen yet. I do poop in composting toilets elsewhere sometimes, so at least some of my poop is getting to the earth in a good way.

My comment about pooping seedy poop wasn’t about me, incidentally, but about one of the many roles humans (can) play in the world ecologically. I also mentioned tending land with fire, which is something I have yet to involve myself with or learn much about (but plan to at some point).

Thank you for the question! I love thinking about these things and am happy to be reminded how bizarre it is to poop into a flush toilet.

This is one attraction to living apart from city life, where people might live simple, primitive, and wild lives without control of authorities over how they do that. So, in a sustainable way for living with that, there can return to natural ways for humans to be in this world, with connection for it that has been lost to most with civilization. It would not work as well in a city, though with familiarity there can be foraging for what to eat, but not returning to the earth, and it may not be enough to be free from participating in the money system, having a “civilized” place to dwell, and buying things from stores.


Thank you very much for replying—you could have just ignored such impertinence. Of course at first I was disappointed that you didn’t have the answers, but now I can see that was just my old fearful, civilized self, still desperately wishing for easy answers to hard questions.

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