Mission and Impact

With a focused vision, we work daily to achieve a cultural intervention that will bring back into our modern lives a necessary and healthy relationship between our human communities and the natural world.

Over the past several years we have experienced some exciting milestones in our vision of service to our community.

As we celebrate our local achievements and two decades of local nature connection and community building, we are sowing seeds to build our organization’s reach beyond Tompkins County and to expand nature access opportunities to more families in need.

Providing more opportunities for people to get outside exploring nature and learning the skills of sustenance and thriving that have served our ancestors since the dawn of time is core to our mission.

In 2014 we expanded our mission to our youngest community members with the founding of the Ithaca Forest Preschool, one of the first Forest Preschools in the country!

Seeing a need to have more naturalists on the ground and more nature enthusiasts in children’s lives as role models, we also created adult Wilderness Skills Intensives and Certification programs for both professionals and neighborhood naturalists alike.

We also expanded teen leadership offerings in response to teens speaking up about continuing on their journey after outgrowing younger-aged programs. This resulted in a popular Counselor in Training track, new overnight camps, and expanded youth employment opportunities.

In 2015, having realized long-standing sustainability goals, we shifted more organizational focus on building a more inclusive and social justice-oriented program model. This started with our Nature Access for All campaign and continues today. Since then, we have distributed up to $30,000 annually in scholarship funding and have provided free or reduced-cost programming to over 20% of all Primitive Pursuits program participants. 

We continue in our work of offering unforgettable adventures and life-affirming experiences for all and we are grateful for the support of our community.

If you are interested in joining us as a volunteer, sponsor, donor or simply an advocate out in the world, we welcome your involvement and look forward to connecting.

 …and we hope to see you in the woods!


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.

Primitive Pursuits has been one of the highlights of our sons’ learning, and a joy to our whole family.”

J.M., Homeschool Parent