Becoming Kin: Tending Relationship with the Natural World
June 4 – July 1, 2022
June 4 – July 1, 2022
with Noël Vietor and Fletcher Tucker
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Since time immemorial, human beings have lived in meaningful and reciprocal relationship with the lands upon which they dwelt, and in collaborative communion with their other-than-human kin — plants, animals, fungi, stones, and more.

In more recent history, however, the dominant cultures of the globe have propelled narratives of human supremacy to justify the grave degradation and exploitation of the earth. This sea change has resulted in innumerable tragedies and has left so many of us in a state of bewilderment, grief, and painful isolation from the living world.

But we were born to belong to this earth. And even though the threads of interconnection that bind us to the land and all our wild relations may be frayed, they remain unbroken.

If we embrace this view, questions emerge:

  • How can we begin to mend our ancient and essential relationship with the natural world?
  • What does it mean to cultivate intimacy and integrity with a landscape within this age of colonization and climate change?
  • How can we renew a paradigm in which humans are a beneficial force of nature?
  • What might it feel like to share some kinship again with the oak tree and the creek?

Over the course of our month together, we will approach these questions with humility and curiosity. Taking a generalist's approach, we will introduce philosophies, modalities of awareness, crafts, and skills that can reconnect us with the land and our other-than-human kin. We will explore diverse pathways of participation and presence with the natural world to uncover meaning, nourish our human wholeness, and sense into our innate belonging to the earth.

The enchanted grounds of Esalen, and the surrounding wilderness, will be our place of practice and our primary teacher. Acknowledging Big Sur to be the ancestral lands of the Esselen Tribe, we will endeavor to behave as reverent and respectful guests on sacred land. Expanding our circle of respect, affinity, and awareness beyond the human, we will make space for the birds, flowers, and all the other beings to join our cohort. We will tend to the earth, ourselves, and the threads of kinship between us all.

Areas of focus will include:

  • Natural awareness – Engaging practices to cultivate mindful, somatic and sensory awareness in the natural world
  • Foundational ecological knowledge – Exploring the stories and patterns of the land and other-than-human kin in Big Sur, as well as more fundamental biology and botany to better understand any place
  • Ecophilosophy & critical inquiry – Discovering poetry, prose, and perspectives on humanity’s place within nature. Examining questions of colonization, appropriation, and integrity with place
  • Wildcrafts & skills – Introductions to pan-ancestral traditions of foraging and crafting for food, medicine, utility, and beauty – including ethics and sustainability practices
  • Relational practice –  Utilizing Gestalt practices from the Esalen lineage, including group check-ins, to help us connect with ourselves, each other, and the land

This workshop will consist of numerous, outdoor, hands-on, physical practices and a great deal of walking, including two long-form hikes. Various hiking abilities can be accommodated, bearing in mind that our long hikes are approximately seven miles in length over uneven and often steep terrain. Participants must be able and willing to sit on the ground, work/learn outside in all weathers, and get a little dirty.

A $40 parks/permit and materials fee will be added.

Noël Vietor

Noël Vietor

As co-founder of Wildtender, Noël Vietor is dedicated to helping people build meaningful relationships with the self, the earth, and the community. Having found healing and a sense of belonging while hiking the Big Sur wild, Noël is honored to create this opportunity for others through Wildtender’s immersive wilderness programs.

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Fletcher Tucker

Fletcher Tucker

Wildtender co-founder Fletcher Tucker is a devoted student and teacher of California natural history, awareness traditions, ancestral skills, and wisdom and trail-craft. Fletcher is committed to re-connecting human beings in body, mind, and spirit with wild nature and our more-than-human relations.

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Workshop Schedule

More activities can be found on our open class schedule.

See general schedule information including arrival, departure and meal times.

Accommodations & Tuition

Click Register Now to view availability of accommodations and all-inclusive, program-specific tuition. Please note that not all accommodation levels are available for every workshop and additional faculty fees may apply.

We offer scholarship funds for those with financial need. Learn more.

Accommodations & Tuition

For this workshop, you will register and pay for accommodations and tuition in two separate steps.

First, sign up and pay tuition directly to

Second, click Book Accommodations from this page and enter the password to complete your reservation to stay at Esalen.

Prices for accommodations include your lodging, meals, open classes, and use of the baths and other facilities. View partner program accommodations pricing.

COVID Update

All guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

In addition to proof of vaccination, all guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective January 7, 2022 in response to the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant, all guests and faculty will provide proof of negative PCR, NAAT, or antigen test results at time of check-in. The test must be taken within 72 hours nd results must come from a laboratory or healthcare provider.Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective December 15 in accordance with new guidance from Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Health, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are required to wear masks in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, for the next four weeks (December 15, 2021 through January 15, 2022). Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective November 19, 2021, in accordance with new guidance from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are no longer required to wear masks indoors on campus. Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Starting November 5, 2021, due to substantial levels of COVID-19 transmission in Monterey County, a mask mandate established by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will go into effect. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

All guests will be required to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival starting September 3, 2021. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Masks are no longer mandated indoors or outdoors, except during massage sessions. Guests are not required to provide testing or vaccination verification before arriving on campus. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

All-inclusive Pricing
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