Hello!  I am Mara, the founder of this project Crow’s Nest Wildcraft.

Crow’s Nest started as just me, travelling and sharing skills.  It has grown to encompass more facilitators and differing skillsets.  From Crow’s Nest was also birthed Limina Collective.  A new website is being developed now to reflect these exciting transitions and to bring more education to this website.

UPDATE: After a year of working on education-tailoured website design, a new website is about to launch by the end of April, 2021!

As this work grows, it is increasingly important to be clear about where the teachings of outdoor skills and ancient craft come from, at every turn.  While skills are intrinsic to humanity worldwide, they take on important – and sometimes, proprietary – roles in differing cultures.

It is of paramount importance that outdoor skills are taught in alignment with a teacher’s lineage and ancestry, and that what is shared is always shared with permission –  not cultural appropriation, but rather cultural appropriateness: the consensual and empowering sharing of knowledge between cultures.

The education in online and group settings at Crow’s Nest is that available for public sharing.  We offer these skills and crafts as mediums for cross-cultural communication and community building.

The Crow’s Nest has a twofold meaning: it is a region and trail system, and it is a lookout on the mast of a boat. For years, I migrated seasonally between this region and my sailboat: between Sinixt and Salish territories, respectively.

I learned to live on land and water, by trail and by boat.  The skills needed to live remotely brought sustenance on many levels. More than simply survival, they were deeply healing.

I created Crow’s Nest to share these skills: connecting people to the wild and cultivating an embodied sense of belonging.

This work is artisanal – not traditional. As a settler on this continent, I do not operate within an intact lineage of my own to call it traditional, and so I save that word for others to use.

As such, I refrain from using methods and aesthetics that carry cultural appropriation or theft of Indigenous teachings.  The hide tanning methods taught through Crow’s Nest are mainly Scottish and eastern European.  The herbal medicine is in the Traditional Western Herbalism school.  First Nations and BIPOC facilitators of Crow’s Nest events teach from their respective lineages, and share knowledge with protocol.

Wild skills are intrinsic to all human cultures, but as mediums of community connection, they carry specific sanctity within specific cultures.  I look to my own ancestry for guidance and meaning for this, and aim to provide space for others to do the same.  In the Hide Tanning Immersion program, we each research the hide tanning methods of our ancestral lineages and unearth how these came to be displaced.  I strive to use this project as a tool towards decolonizing all my relationships: to people, to culture, and to place.

Biography, hide tanning and herbal medicine

Crow’s Nest Wildcraft

Workshop locations

Workshops take place in British Columbia as well as in online education offerings. I have taken up the Wandering Tanner style of pre-industrial Europe, an epoch in which tanners were freelance artisans who travelled from farm to farm, town to town and set up shop for brief periods of time, before moving on.
To request a workshop in your area, contact me at crowsnest.wildcraft@gmail.com.

Cortes Island

My workshop space in Whaletown on Cortes Island, on the territories of the Homalco, Klahoose, and Tla’amin Nations. This is where my apothecary and tannery reside. Workshops here are multi-day events, with camping or lodging available for off-island travellers.

Fraser Common Farm Cooperative

Fraser Common Farm Coop is a longstanding intergenerational farming collective outside of Vancouver, BC on Matsqui Nation territory, a Sto:Lo nation. FCFC grows produce, raises sheep, and steers a local seed-saving project. I am honoured to be a part of the larger farm membership network, and I host workshops here in the Lower Mainland at the crossroads of many communities.

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Crow's Nest Wildcraft

List of available workshops