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Welcome To Medicine Bow, home of Mark Warren a naturalist, composer, novelist, and director of  Medicine Bow, a ”primitive school of earthlore.”

Books: please visit the “books” page for updates and ordering information  http://medicinebow.net/media/books/ 

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Instructor

 

Mark Warren is a lifelong student of nature and primitive lore. Growing up in the piedmont of Georgia, he was in love with the forest. After being graduated from the University of Georgia in art and chemistry/ pre-med, he served 10 years as naturalist / environmental educator for The Georgia Conservancy and 17 years as wilderness director for High Meadows Camp.

He is the author of Magic from the Woods and The American Wilderness Awards, both activity books in nature study.  In 1980 he designed and taught Georgia’s first statewide environmental education workshops for public schools which reached thousands of teachers.  For this the National Wildlife Federation honored Mark as Georgia’s Conservation Educator of the Year.

Mark’s canoeing experience comes from 25 years of exploring creeks and rivers and whitewater racing.  He has been the Dixie Division Open Canoe Slalom Champion 5 times, and in 1998 became the U.S. National Champion in the Slalom/Downriver combined.

His relationship with bow and arrow is intimate and atavistic, though he no longer chooses to hunt.  Archery is an art to him.  In 1999 Mark won the men’s division of the World Championship Longbow Tournament.

Mark has composed music for the Academy Theater, the Atlanta Symphony, and for public concert, the most recent of which raised money for the Cherokee people of Georgia.

Mark has completed a series of books on his lifework as a naturalist, including hundreds of original activities for teachers and students alike. Each book is richly illustrated and enhanced by definitive photographs.

If you would like to talk more about Medicine Bow, give Mark a call at 706-864-5928 or medicinebow@att.net

Books

 

Secrets of the Forest
(4 volume series)

By Mark Warren

From the author: The Secrets of the Forest series was written with three purposes in mind:

1) To provide clear instructions in primitive survival skills for anyone wanting to better his/her self-sufficiency in wilderness . . . by learning the old Indian ways of living comfortably in the forest.

2) To offer parents, teachers, scout leaders, and outdoor educators a guide to engage their students in Nature . . . at a time when our young ones so desperately need this connection, as does Nature itself.

3) To win over a new generation of environmental advocates who will look after this world.

 

Review:

Secrets of the Forest: The Best Outdoor Education Book I’ve Read

(Review courtesy of Survival Sherpa)


Secrets of the Forest: the Magic and Mystery of Plants and The Lore Of Survival, Volume 1 –
By Mark Warren

Part One (The Magic and Mystery of Plants) covers 100 plants and their uses as food, medicine, cordage fibers, insect repellency, and craft materials. This study of plants is the essential foundation for a true understanding of the skills that follow. Part Two (The Lore of Survival) covers shelter-building, water acquisition & purification, primitive cooking, rope-making, baskets, clothing insulation, rabbit stick technique, traps & snares. Over 200 hands-on projects.

 

Secrets of the Forest: Calling Up the Flame and Feeding the Spirit, Volume 2 – By Mark Warren

Part One (Calling up the Flame) covers match use (for young ones), pyre-building, fuel species, fire-making species, bow-drill, hand-drill, fire-saw, and fire-banking. Part Two (Storytelling & Ceremony) explores the use of stories and ceremony in creating the whole person. Some of this content is borrowed from Native American philosophy and adapted for contemporary application by all ages. Over 100 hands-on projects.

 

Secrets of the Forest, Vol. 3
Part One (Eye to Eye with the Animals of the Wild) covers stalking animals of the wild, tracks & the rigors of tracking, hide-tanning & craft, and snake lore, which examines some of the myths that have grown up around these legless reptiles. Part Two (At Play in the Wild) covers games, some adventurous, some academic, and others for memorable nights around the campfire. All of these games – which became Medicine Bow staples – are responsible for countless, fearful young students learning to feel at home in the woods. Over 150 hands-on projects.

Secrets of the Forest, Vol. 4
Part One (Projectiles) covers making and using the sling, throwing-spear, atlatl, and bow & arrow. Also included are the steelier implements – throwing-knife and tomahawk. Most important in this volume is the art of archery – the refined, handed-down techniques for shooting a bow and arrow accurately, consistently. Part Two (The Blessed Path of Water) explores the dynamics of the open canoe, beginning on calm water and graduating to whitewater. Over 150 hands-on projects.

As of August 2017 volumes 1 and 2 are available for purchase.

For orders of 6 or more books contact Mark at medicinebow@att.net

Secrets of the Forest: $34.95 per Volume

 

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Two Winters in a Tipi: My Search for the Soul of the Forest. – By Mark Warren

Order Two Winters In a Tipi from Amazon.com Here

A memoir: Follow the life of naturalist Mark Warren for the two years after his small farmhouse in the mountains of Southern Appalachia was struck by lightning. After losing his possessions in the devastating fire that followed, he embarked on a “simpler” life of accountability and appreciation, where every chore made perfect sense and every day carried the promise for intimacy with creatures of the wild.
As he continued his life work as an environmental educator, his tipi in the forest was more than the coziest of homes as it became a symbol of commitment for those who studied under his tutelage. This story offers the past, the parts, and practicality of the tipi, but more than that it offers inspiration for those who seek to understand the natural world as man was meant to know it.

 

Book review of Two Winters In a Tipi: http://www.historynet.com/book-review-two-winters-in-a-tipi-by-mark-warren.htm

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Wyatt Earp, an American Odyssey (a historical novel trilogy) – By Mark Warren

Book one (Adobe Moon) available in November, 2017 from Five Star Publishing

Order  Adobe Moon From Amazon.com Here

Review From “Historical Novel Society”


Adobe Moon
(Book 1, available for pre-order)
After his youth on an Iowa farm, Wyatt Earp is ready to seek his fortunes by his wits
rather than the sweat of his back. In California he meets a Mexican girl, whose philosophy will haunt him for years to come. It is the prophecy of the “adobe moon,” which reminds a man: If you do not achieve your dreams, you must settle for what you have.

After taking menial jobs, Wyatt settles down as a constable in Missouri. When his wife and child die, he sinks into depression where the lines of ethics blur. Wantedby the law he bides his time for a second chance, until in a Kansas cattle town he encounters his destiny as a lawman to be remembered.

Review of Adobe Moon by Dr. Gary Roberts, author of Doc Holliday, the Life and Legend:
“It is plain Mark Warren knows Wyatt Earp’s story. He has researched it long enough, deep enough, and well enough to know it in ways that few others do. He has an historian’s grasp of the story, and in Adobe Moon, Book One in a trilogy of historical novels entitled Wyatt Earp, An American Odyssey, he explores the formative years of Earp’s life that displays an ability to make sense of the wanderings of the Earp family in a part of Wyatt’s life too often given short shrift in the rush to reach Dodge City and Tombstone.

Adobe Moon is not about Wyatt Earp, the fearless, gunfighting marshal, or about Wyatt Earp, the cold-blooded killer hiding behind a badge, or even about Wyatt Earp, the self-aggrandizing con man who lied his way into legend—which have been the dueling images of Earp in most of the literature on the subject, fiction and non-fiction. Adobe Moon is about a boy growing into manhood and trying to make sense of his place in the world. It is a subtle admixture of his confidence, his insecurities, his feelings, and his responses to the forces around him.

Without making it a centerpiece of his story, Warren explores the complexities of his family, allowing the relationships to unfold in the natural flow of the story without intrusive commentary or analysis. The reader sees Wyatt’s father, mother, and brothers through his eyes. The story is raw and hard most of the time, punctuated by circumstances that force him to make decisions. At times he is naïve and even insecure, but he faces choices decisively, if not always wisely. Most of the novel is set in boom towns or on the darker fringes of society from California to the “Hell-on-Wheels” towns of the Union Pacific Railroad to the saloons and brothels from river towns in Illinois to the cattle towns of Kansas.

Although Adobe Moon is fiction, it serves history in at least two ways. First, it carefully maps the young Wyatt Earp’s movements in his early years with useful hypotheses about some of the more important events in his young life including his time in Peoria, Illinois, his tragic marriage to Aurilla Sutherland in Lamar, Missouri, his arrest in the Indian Territory for horse theft and his subsequent escape from jail, to his arrival in Ellsworth, Kansas, and the much disputed events that unfolded there.

The simple plausibility of his fictional narrative underscores a lesson that historians could well learn from. There are alternatives to the “good guy/bad guy” approach too often insisted upon in biographies that spend more time creating heroes and villains than in understanding their subjects. Here in Warren’s novel the emphasis is plainly on the forces at play in making the man and the qualities of character that determined his responses at each turn of his “broken road” to legend. This is the story of a boy sorting through experiences and making choices, bad ones and good ones, that will determine the man he will be.

Adobe Moon is an absorbing read. Understated, direct, yet somehow reflective and even philosophical, it is easy to forget that this is a novel about an American legend. And that makes it all the more satisfying in the end. In the restless ramblings of the young Wyatt Earp, Warren found clues to the man Earp would be. I will be looking forward to the continuing odyssey of the very human Wyatt Earp, he is revealing. For now, I have much to ponder as a result of reading Adobe Moon.”

Born to the Badge
(Book 2, coming in 2018)
Wyatt Earp builds his reputation as a Kansas peace officer in the storied towns of Wichita and Dodge City. Known for his straight-ahead, no-nonsense demeanor he is both admired and hated, yet respected by almost all who cross his path. His story broadens with the complications of relationships, one with a common-law wife who struggles to overcome her past as a prostitute … the other with a mercurial but loyal Doc Holliday, the tubercular Georgia dentist who knows that he is condemned to a short life.
Still pursuing his dogged fix on becoming something more than a foot-soldier for a town government, Wyatt refines his skills at the gambling tables and bides his time, never realizing that he is moving toward the legend status that awaits him in Arizona.

Promised Land
(Book 3, coming in 2018)
Hoping to start a stage line in the Arizona boom town of Tombstone, Wyatt casts his lot with his brothers as business entrepreneurs. Fate has other plans for the Earps. Serving as a deputy sheriff and then deputy marshal, Wyatt comes up against a network of rustlers/smugglers/stagecoach robbers who have run rampant on the Southwest unchallenged until now. When Wyatt finally accepts his calling as a lawman and makes his bid for the shrievalty of the new county that includes Tombstone, his plans unravel again with an unexpected confrontation behind the O.K. Corral. This fight sets off a chain reaction of assassination attempts on the Earps and ushers Wyatt into a bloody ride across the desert to pass judgment on the men who shot his brothers. Is it an act of justice or revenge? This is a debate that has survived into the twenty-first century.

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Meet the Author

Mark-Warren-2012Mark Warren was named Georgia’s Conservation Educator of the Year by the National Wildlife Federation. A national champion in whitewater canoeing and a winner of the World Championship Longbow Tournament, Warren founded and runs the Medicine Bow Wilderness School in the North Georgia mountains.

Classes

All Classes Offered
At Medicine Bow

(See Schedule Page for class schedule and pricing)


Introduction:

Besides the many workshops open to the public at Medicine Bow, Mark takes his lessons into your school classroom,   elementary, high school and college, or to any interested group.  His most popular traveling program is THE NATIVE AMERICANS , a 90-minute history and demonstration beginning with the first foot set upon North America. He follows the progress of the Indians as they migrated into the new ecosystems that would shape their cultures into the discrete tribes that finally reflected the land, plants, and animals where they settled. He has an abundance of crafts made in the old way. The program eventually focuses on the Cherokee, the people who once walked the trails of Medicine Bow – the people who knew the Nature of this land like no people ever will again. After this class he likes to take his audience outside to see first hand the secrets of the Indians.

Other programs include: Ecology, Design in Nature, Through the Eyes of the Cherokee (a new perspective of familiar grounds), Conservation, Stalking Wild Animals, Plains Indian Sign Language, Animal Tracking, Botany, the Quest for Fire, and Archery Demonstrations.

Weekend Workshops are held at Medicine Bow all through the seasons for students of all ages.

How to sign up for a class: (See Schedule Page for class schedule and pricing)

Each class is filled to its limit (usually 13) by a first-come-first-served receipt of check made payable to Medicine Bow, Ltd. You can reserve a spot by email or phone and that spot will be saved for one week, giving the applicant time to mail in a check. A letter of information and directions is then USPS mailed or emailed to the applicant. A check received after a class fills is, of course, returned in full.  A cancellation 7 full days before the class is also returned in full. For a cancellation made 4 full days before class, 50% is returned or 60% is applied to a future workshop.

Public classes run 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Medicine Bow, where lasting friendships are made around the campfire. A student brings knife, notebook, rain gear, sack lunch, and water bottle. For archery and knife/hawk students, equipment is provided.

Individual Class Overview

TRACKING- In this class you will learn what a specific print looks like for a given animal; for example, you will know how to distinguish a gray fox from a bobcat from a red fox etc.  This study will involve most of the tracks you will encounter in southern Appalachia (95%).  But in the wild, tracks are often not crisp; so it is important to understand track patterns.  Broadly speaking, there are about 7 ways that 4-leggeds move.  In the tracking class, you’ll learn them by doing them and thereby see with your own eyes the resulting track patterns.  Not only can this enable you to identify the trackee, but it can aid in interpreting what cause-and-effect situation your particular animal is experiencing.  Each animal, you see, has a preferred gait.  When that animal deviates from its norm, the story becomes more interesting.  You will also actually track in a “tracking team” and learn the many nuances that the earth can reveal as an animal leaves clues on dirt, leaves, sticks, rocks, sand, plants, standing trees, and logs. (See the magazine article: “Footprints Across the Landscape” in the Media section.)

MEDICINE- (Read the section on Wild Foods below.)  The medicinal plants that you will learn can be used to resolve stomachache, fever, poison ivy, headache, skin rash, wasp sting, external bleeding, pain, topical infection, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, sinusitis, bronchitis, and annoying insects.

WILD FOODS- Since the beginning of animal life, the earth has provided food.  But we humans have moved to an illusory dimension, seeing foods “originate” in stores.  And so we have lost an instinct that anthropologists believe once guided humans to foods effortlessly (just like wild animals today).  Without that instinct we are quite vulnerable in a scenario of random foraging.  Many plants have developed serious poisons over time as a way of protecting themselves.  Neither can a survivalist expect to be guided benevolently to edible plants by watching the eating habits of wild animals.  This does not work.  So there is no alternative today but to study.  This class accelerates your life study of wild foods by having positive identifications in the wild with a teacher. (See the magazine article: Eighteen Plants, Eighteen Allies.”)

SURVIVAL SKILLS What was once common knowledge to all Native Americans is now a seemingly esoteric knowledge to most, because modern man and woman appear not to need the raw strength, the skills, and the academics of nature.  It is true that most will never be thrust into an emergency survival situation in this time as we know it.  Or is that true?  Could our structure of subsistence collapse?  If so, we may have no recourse but to return to the most basic of skills.  That alone is a practical rationale for survival skills.  (Imagine that beginning tomorrow, for the remainder of your life, you would have not a single store at which to shop.  Every need must come from nature.  This was the way life once was.)  But even if that tragic and traumatic event should not crash upon your life, there are two poignant reasons to learn these skills.  1. Self-reliance (and self-esteem) soars.  2.  Your relationship with the natural world matures, fulfilling a critical piece of your physical and spiritual life.  In this course, you will learn about shelter, fire, food, cooking, hunting, snares & traps, water purification, tools, and plant medicines.  These skills are taught in a complete manner but suggested as accumulative projects until you are ready to undertake a self-imposed survival trip.  Up until that point, your camping trips will become more memorable adventures as you complement your wilderness time with your newly learned skills.

BASKETS- Berry baskets of spring tulip tree bark (makes a good arrow quiver too) and acorn-leaching baskets of grape vine.

ARROWS- Shafts of river cane heat-straightened and fletched with wild feathers.  Hardwood foreshaft and nock inserts.  Points of stone, antler, bone, or shell.

BOWLS- Wooden bowl burned out by fire using a hot coal and blow tube of plant stem.

STALKING-This demanding art is beneficial to body and mind in much the way Tai Chi is.  But this skill brings you close to wild animals, whether you are observer, photographer, or hunter.  The Indians learned this skill from animals.  You will learn to emulate the fluidity of fox, the quiet foot placement of deer, and the patience of heron.  Most of the animals people wish to see (both predator and prey) have lost their capacity for color vision (except for birds) in order to isolate their vision on movement.  Stalking teaches you the trick of invisible movement.  The rewards will be stories of animal encounters you will tell and remember for all your life.

FIRE–  The magic of fire-by-friction is unique.  A kind of humble power comes with the accomplishment of this skill.  It is quite a feeling to stand before a dead tree of your careful choosing and know that the two of you are about to conspire in the creation of fire.  Some survival schools put a low priority on fire as an essential component of staying alive.  At Medicine Bow, I afford it a high rank for two reasons.  In late summer and early fall when chiggers are still active but nights are cool, it is pure misery to subject yourself to a debris hut for sleeping.  An excessive number of chigger bites can truly affect your state of mind.  Also, fire gives a positive psychological comfort to the camper.  This cannot be over-rated.  Methods taught include the hand drill and the bow drill, not to mention EVERYTHING you ever need to know about constructing your pyre of wood.  You will learn about the types of trees that swallowed fire (can make fire) and those that did not.  And you will learn which types of wood are best for the burning as your fire reaches its different phases.

HISTORY- I take many programs into schools, scouts, or other groups.  The most asked-for program has been THE NATIVE AMERICANS in which I demonstrate many handmade crafts and skills of the old ways.  The story begins with the first human foot set upon North America and from there branches out into the 500 resulting tribes.  What created these discrete tribes?  The land itself.  Each mini-environment placed its influences upon the new native settlers.  The program delves into culture, living skills, and tribal philosophy, which offers the opportunity to compare ancient values to our contemporary attitudes toward our environment.  This 1 ½ hour seminar can be followed by an outside tour of THE SECRETS OF THE INDIANS, a hands-on exploration that brings the magic of history into the familiar components of your backyard.  In walking your land during this part of the program, you encounter the same resources that shaped the lives of people who first lived on “your land”.

BOTANY This is the heart and soul of Medicine Bow, because all the skills taught start with a knowledge of plants.  A comprehensive study of plant anatomy (in which you begin composing your personal life-study book of botany) prepares the student for extensive field study.  This program is tailored for all ages.  From this first class a student is prepared to continue his/her life study of plants and their uses as food, medicine, and craft material.  By walking in the field with a teacher who can eliminate the guesswork of plant identification, your competency in plant study accelerates so much beyond solo study.  But eventually it is your solo study that instills in you the sense of really knowing your plants.

ECOLOGY- Another program brought to a group, ecology is not, as many believe, a way to treat the Earth, but a science (a process) that has been in place since the  beginning of time.  It is a study of inter-relationships between the Earth’s puzzle pieces.  Ecology is the science that taught humans by example to embrace conservation, recycling, etc.  This is a good indoor program to be followed by outdoor time.  Before conservation can be truly embraced by a student, an understanding of ecology is a must  –  as is the human place in that intricate puzzle.

WILDLIFE-Medicine Bow has no captive animals, because it is a wildlife sanctuary.  But it affords wonderful opportunities for animal study (see tracking, stalking).  Birds are plentiful for a program based on our winged friends.  Some of the other animal residents include: white-tailed deer, raccoon, bobcat, red and gray fox, coyote, squirrel, black bear, white-footed mouse, cottontail rabbit, cougar, dozens of species of snakes, etc.

DESIGN IN NATURE- This program is well-suited for indoors or out and provides a lot of excitement for those who like riddles.  Everything that exists in nature is displaying its “temporary end result” of centuries of evolutionary experiment.  Because a design exists today, it boasts a certain success in its architecture.  So from my box of natural goods we try to reconstruct that animal’s or plant’s need for that design. The other aspect of this study that is fun to consider is this: everything that humans “invent” can usually be found first in nature.  Two examples for you:  1) the zipper comes from a feather.  Look at the soft filaments of a feather under a magnifier as you separate two adjoining sections.  And you can hear it unzip.  2)  Tick trefoil is a plant you might not know unless in fruit.  You’ll know its little green, triangular seeds that stick to your pants and socks.   As you pull them off your are removing the “hooked” side of Velcro from the “loop” side (your clothes).

INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE- The tribes of the Great Plains developed a way to communicate with the hands because they were migratory (following bison) and in their travels always coming into contact with tribes who spoke a different tongue. This quiet language then became helpful in times of stealth, such as warring raids and hunting. The language is beautiful and easy to learn with a teacher who can explain to you why a certain sign took on its meaning. Like making fire, it contains a kind of power that you will feel expand your sense of self. It’s also a lot of fun.

 

THE OLD WEST PEACE OFFICER I have offered this class to American history courses in schools because it has been one of the most important interests in my life. After 40 years of study, seminars, private meetings with top historians in the field, and my travels to the historic places in the West, I can offer a fresh perspective of history versus American mythology. The American frontier was unique to the history of the world and offered an interesting stage for those who would take part. Of course great tragedies underlie this westward expansion: the demise of the bison and the Indians and the disregard for the land as resources were chiseled from the earth. But an unparalleled adventure was ripe for the person willing to follow the frontier. I find none more compelling than he who pinned on a badge to bring order out of chaos. For some it was more than just a job. My specialty is the life and times of Wyatt Earp.

CONSERVATION- I harbor the opinion that conservation cannot be taught. It must be logically appreciated by first exposing people to the treasures of nature. But this class certainly has its place, because today people are so removed from their true sources (in nature) that they might never conceive of the ways they can practice conservation once the obligation blossoms inside them. This class is recommended for school students and adults who are ready to assume some degree of stewardship toward the Earth. The course addresses energy consumption, water quality, solid waste, recycling, animal rights, lifestyles, consumerism, philosophies, air quality, food, … in ways that apply to our daily lives. The program ends with the challenge of a commitment by each student.

LEGENDS- Storytelling once used as its canvas the curl of flames against the black of night to free the imagination of the listener. The lessons, allegories, and warnings hidden in these stories were an integral part of tribal education. (This bond between storyteller and story painter has been replaced by the TV/VCR/video game screen.) Stories told over the campfire at Medicine Bow are designed to teach a lesson, whether that be the proper form for an archer’s release or the concepts of honor and courage.

ARCHERY- I have pursued many techniques of shooting and believe I have gravitated to a very fine method of teaching; in fact, I consider Medicine Bow’s class the best course of its kind. It is for beginner, intermediate, and near-expert. I am a dedicated archer, though I choose not to hunt. Archery is an art to me. In this course you will learn direct shots (the hunter’s shot), clout shots (once used in castle siege, lots of fun and beautiful to watch), and lob shots (once used for signaling). You will learn to shoot at stationary and moving targets, two very different techniques. Indian and old English styles will be covered. All gear is provided, but if you have your own you should bring it. Besides this class, Medicine Bow offers a monthly adventure for archers who would like to try to win the Silver Arrow at an Archery Rendezvous. All ages 7 and up and all skill levels are welcome as we use a handicap system.

PARENT/CHILD DAYS – Most of Medicine Bow’s adventures are designed for quality family interaction in a beautiful environment. These gatherings are an excellent opportunity for those who are just now learning to spend time in the forest and who are seeking the know-how to do it on their own. The activities are varied: sometimes centering around archery, Native American games, original Medicine Bow games, or certain aspects of nature study or survival skills. Families can attend in any combination: Dad/son, Dad/daughter, Dad/all kids, Mom/son, Mom/ daughter, Mom/all kids, or everybody come at once. No pets please. We recommend as a minimum age: 7.

TEACHER WORKSHOPS –I will travel to your school to help your teachers discover ways to incorporate environmental education into their curricula with a minimum of effort.  Part of this is learning to make the most of your school grounds. It is true that not every teacher is adept at presenting value choices in environmental education. But at the very least, every teacher should be visibly engaged in some aspect of environmental conscientiousness; for the teachers are role models who have a golden opportunity to help reverse the momentum of a culture disengaging itself from a reverence toward nature. No matter how removed a person may “seem” to be from the natural world, we all still depend on it as critically as did the people who had to live closer to the land on a day-to-day basis.

If you would like to talk more about Medicine Bow, give me a call at

706-864-5928 or medicinebow@att.net

– Mark Warren – Director Medicine Bow Ltd.

104 Medicine Bow
Dahlonega, Georgia 30533
(706)864-5928