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MailTribune.com
  • Year of living primitively

    Five young people push their edges as forest caretakers in the mud, rain and snow above Ashland
  • Living close to the earth sometimes means wearing it. Fortunately, Katie Buttermore, Steven Cossin, Dirk Minton, Amanda Smith and Sam Forti don't mind a little mud.
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  • Living close to the earth sometimes means wearing it. Fortunately, Katie Buttermore, Steven Cossin, Dirk Minton, Amanda Smith and Sam Forti don't mind a little mud.
    The five 20somethings are halfway through a year they're spending as caretakers of EarthTeach Park, on 1,680 forested acres east of Ashland. Six months into their tenure, all five say they are happy and healthy, spirits undampened by rain, snow, mud and the absence of Netflix.
    The all-seasons Caretaker Program, brainchild of Coyote Trails School of Nature founder Joe Kreuzman, gives students what he calls "dirt time," the chance to learn self-reliance and practice primitive skills such as tracking, trapping and flint-knapping, which they turn around and teach to others.
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