"Primitive living allows us to practice living on a model scale. By 'living' I mean that process of procuring our needs for physical and mental well-being, including such things as shelter, fire or energy, water, and vegetable or animal resources. In primitive living we are faced with these needs as realities we must meet. We are faced with the realization that in order for our lives to go onward, we must take from the world around us; like the coyote stalking a mouse, we must kill and use to survive."
--Thomas J. Elpel
Primitive Living as Metaphor
Green University® LLC
Registration: How to Apply
Green University® LLC Immersion Program
Welcome to Green University®! We accept new students twice a year for semester or year-long immersion program:
The fall-winter session begins September 21st, coinciding with the autumn equinox. We recommend attending Rabbitstick Rendezvous immediately before coming into the Green University® LLC community as a good introduction to primitive skills. Autumn is hunting season in Montana, and opportunities abound for processing meat and hides, even without actually hunting. Learn how to skin and butcher deer, tan hides, and make clothing through the fall and winter months. This is the ideal time of year to focus on all crafting skills, developing proficiency at anything from bow and drill fire-starting to basketry and felting. Winters are long in Montana, but mostly sunny and often surprisingly warm during daylight hours. Students often strip down to t-shirts on warm days, whiile burrowing into double sleeping bags on cold nights. Spend the winter crafting your own clothing and gear to be prepared for adventure as we transition into spring.
The spring-summer session begins March 21st, coinciding with the spring equinox. Winter slowly and intermittently loses its grasp here, and trees don't leaf out until mid-May, yet we have many warm sunny days along the way. Early spring is a good time for fall students to wrap up winter crafting projects, and for spring students to tan their first hides. Most years we take a break from skills camp and head out for adventure either locally or farther south.
In May we offer primitive skills programs for public schools through our sister program, Outdoor Wilderness Living School, LLC. Mentoring youths is a great way to refine your own skills! You will be amazed at how much you learn, and at how deeply we immerse the kids into nature. Each season has its own emphasis. Summertime brings more field trips and adventures. Check the Class Schedule for an approximate idea of what's in store throughout the year.
Tuition: $3,000/Semester or $5,400/Year
For a limited time, as we continue to grow Green University® LLC, we are offering special discount pricing: $3,000 per semester or $5,400 per year... which is probably less than it would cost to stay home! Plan on spending another $300 to attend Rabbitstick Rendezvous as a student in September. There may be similar opportunities to attend other gatherings and special classes as well.
Most year-long programs cost at least $9,500 per year and don't include food or lodging, such that students must rent a house and get a job to make ends meet during the program. Green University® LLC, however, is a fully-immersive program. We provide year-round lodging (mostly in primitive shelters and a modernized earthlodge) as well as basic foods, such as roadkilled game (legal here in Montana), plus vegetables, rice and beans, etc., heavily supplemented by dumpster diving and some wild food foraging.
Tuition primarily covers instructor wages, groceries, and mortgage payments on our field camp, with the understanding that you will be able to help out with occassional projects to help earn your keep. Prices are subject to rise at any time. However, we guarantee tuition at the rate advertised when your application is received. Please click on over to our Contact Page and send us a detailed biography of yourself, what skills and ideas you have to contribute to the Green University® LLC immersion program, and what you hope to learn here. We may ask questions to make sure our program is appropriate for you.
For those who are interested, it is often possible to earn back some or all of the Green University® LLC tuition. We may be able to find ways to collaborate on worthwhile projects, varying from producing books and videos to launching green businesses. Some of our past students have made a net profit from their Green University® LLC experience. In our opinion, that's the way the program should work! Please read through our Immersion Program FAQ's for more details about the experience. All participants are required to read and sign our Liability Waiver and Release Form (PDF).
Register online here with PayPal or a credit card,
or send a check or money order to:
Green University, LLC - PO Box 697 - Pony, MT 59747
Work-Trade Program: $4,200/Year
Green University® LLC maintains ultra-low tuition prices through its cooperative nature. You are not here to be our servants, nor do we charge enough to be your servants. Everyone is expected to contribute to the tribe through ongoing projects like gathering firewood or butchering roadkill deer. Bigger projects may require the sustained participation of all hands, as was the case for building the earthlodge.
In addition, there are work-trade positions available to year-long students who wants to trim down the tuition cost through regular assigned work. Cost for the work-trade program is $4,200/year, a savings of $1,200 off the full tuition price.
Expect to spend about one day per week (or an hour or two daily) assisting with ongoing site maintenance and projects. Principle responsibilities include site clean up and organization, managing recyclables, and pasture management, including fence maintenance, rotating sheep or goats through different pastures, making sure water is available at all times, and pulling weeds. To apply, please send us an email to inquire about work-trade availability. Tell us about your background, what you can contribute to the Green University® LLC community, and what you hope to gain from the experience.
To get the most out of Green University® experience, it is helpful to immerse yourself in Tom's many books and videos. The more you know before you get here, the more you will gain from the program. Our conversations become richer and more engaging if we have a common starting point. Check out Tom's books and videos, and you will have a good foundation for asking questions and exploring your interests in depth:
-Foraging the Mountain West
-Participating in Nature
-Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series
-Botany in a Day
-Roadmap to Reality
Stay in Contact
To be notified about upcoming additions and changes to our programs, be sure to "Like" our page on Facebook. We'll keep you posted on the immersion program as well as any specific classes we have on stone masonry, house-building, wilderness survival and botany. In addition, we will invite you along on some of our informal informal canoe trips and walkabouts, so sign up and stay in touch!
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