About Us

Since 1999 it has been our mission to steward the health of our community by fostering life-long relationships with the natural world through exceptional mentoring and nature education. 

Primitive Pursuits is a non-profit 4-H program in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County. We provide leadership and place-based wilderness skills education to toddlers, youth, teens and adults throughout our geographical region.  

Each year hundreds of diverse youth from Tompkins County and beyond reconnect with the natural world through our year-round nature immersion programs and mentorship from our talented and dedicated staff.

Land Acknowledgement and Responsibility:

The Primitive Pursuits team recognizes that the land where we live and work exists within the territory of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ (Cayuga Nation). We acknowledge the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy for their enduring stewardship of this place throughout the centuries and still today. We recognize a responsibility to learn about this history while also educating newer generations about how to live in good relation to the earth and with our neighbors. This learning and relationship building is ongoing and we welcome guidance and feedback along the way.

An Enduring Mission:

For over 20 years it has been our mission to steward the health of our community by fostering life-long relationships with the natural world through exceptional mentoring and nature education. During this time our understanding about the value of nature connection has been affirmed again and again by a growing body of evidence connecting time in nature to human health and well-being.

Through our mission, we work daily to achieve a cultural intervention that will bring back into our modern lives a necessary and healthy relationship with the natural world and within our human communities. 

Who We Are:

We share experience teaching in primary schools and universities as well as other wilderness education programs. Our curriculum has helped to shape college degree programs and is available in print.

Our interests include birding, tree lore and cultivation, bow-making, primitive technology, winter survival, permaculture, and animal tracking. More importantly all members of our staff share a passion for teaching skills that strengthen our relationship with each other and nature.