What counts as wilderness is not determined by the
absence of people, but by the relationship between people and place.
—Jack Turner, philosopher
There is no such thing as a wilderness that doesn’t include humans. Humans are nature, just as trees are nature, birds are nature – all beings who call this place home are nature. All nature thrives with relational tending.
Since the moment Silvae Spiritus evolved from a business name into a physical place, many people have asked us how they can help or waxed poetic about yielding an axe for “an honest day’s work.” We often struggled to find ways to invite helpers to support our considerable daily efforts, as our understanding of what this place needs to thrive has been an ongoing learning evolution. Three years in, we are starting to recognize this land’s cycles, the effect of outlier events, what is needed to support this land’s health, and when.
We realized that we (Travis and Leigha and our more-than-human family members), this land we call Silvae Spiritus and the beings who call this place home, and our Silvae Spiritus guests would all benefit from intentional gathering for reciprocal tending. As we are held, so we hold. Thus, the Nourish series was born.
Nourish event projects at Silvae Spiritus might include:
- tree planting
- clearing storm-felled trees and branches and processing them into firewood
- going on “stick walks” to gather tinder and kindling for the upcoming winter of sauna fires
- building benches to add mindful and bodyful places to rest and notice along the trails
- removing diseased trees that are beyond tending, so that the neighboring trees maintain health
- creating way-finding signage
- prepping the earth for next season’s garden
- building seasonal outdoor showers for retreat participants
- building tall planters outside The Lounge for an accessible sensory garden
- establishing trails
- tending controlled burns
- repairing what needs repair
- native plant planting
If you have experience that applies to any of the upcoming projects, have tools to use while on-site, or simply have enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, we invite you to join us!
Upcoming Nourish Events
Nourish 01: A Community Land-Tending Day
Sunday, October 15, 2023
12 noon – 6pm*
*Dinner and Sauna to follow
Our inaugural Nourish event!
After last winter’s massive snowfall, during which many heavy, wet snow events were followed by a thick coating of ice, many trees couldn’t recover. By the time Nourish 01 is upon us, the forest understory will have thinned significantly, and the fallen trees and branches will be both accessible and dry – perfect for firewood processing and rustic log-bench making. Tending to this treefall is essential to prevent wildfire conditions in the future, but keeping enough undisturbed to serve as winter shelter for wildlife. We will be working with chainsaws, axes, loppers, and a log splitter, and welcome volunteers to bring their own tools – participants can also go tool-less and bring work gloves and a willingness to pull branches into clearings and cutting areas, or simply gather tinder and kindling.
For those more inclined toward carpentry, we are hoping to build raised garden beds for our sensory / medicine garden.
For those wishing to lend their skills toward gardening, we’d like to prep the enclosed orchard garden for next year’s herbs and vegetables.
Nourish events are always free, and are followed by dinner and a sauna session with neighboring bonfire for those choosing to not partake in the thermic cycle. Registration required for all participants. Donations toward operating costs are gratefully accepted, but never expected.