|Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Portal
Thomas J. Elpel
PO Box 697
Pony, MT 59747
Thomas J. Elpel
"Nothing about Elpel is ordinary. At 51, he says he held down a regular job for perhaps one year in his life. He didn't go to college. He writes books that he publishes himself through his own Pony-based publishing house called HOPS Press. His books, "Botany in a Day," "Foraging the Mountain West," and "Green Prosperity," are popular enough that he can support himself. The books have also supported his venture of buying a piece of land south of Cardwell where he teaches kids and adults survivalist skills with mountains to the east. The programs are called OWLS (Outdoor Wilderness Living School) and Green University."
-- Susan Dunlap, The Montana Standard
Programs & Classes
I love information and ideas, and I love sharing and exchanging with other people. I get excited about a new recipe for a wild plant, or a new way to identify it. I get equally excited about new ideas about construction methods and building low-cost, high-efficiency homes. I am interested in everything from Stone Age living skills to stone masonry, from self-sufficiency to global sustainability, politics, and changing the world. I love working with anyone who is enthusiastic about almost anything, and teaching is my favorite way to expand my own education. I find that everyone has something to teach, and I can learn something from a ten-year-old as easily as from a instructor with years more experience than myself.
Stone Age Skills for Kids
Working with kids in nature is the most rewarding work I do. Young people are hungry to connect with the real world and often deprived of the opportunity to experience it. Even here in rural Montana, kids grow up immersed in an electronic, mental world, in danger of never discovering what's outside the back door. Many of our young people have lived here all their lives, yet never hiked up to a nearby mountain lake or even camped out overnight, except on their own lawns. These kids come alive when we take them out of the classroom and back into the real world, engaged in primitive skills and nature awareness through our Ancient Living Skills Programs at OWLS.
I started offering basic wilderness survival skills classes for adults in 1991 through our original business, Hollowtop Outdoor Primitive School, LLC. These early classes were mostly workshops on specific skills, such as hide-tanning, basketry, or basic survival skills, such as fire-making and shelter construction. These classes were hobby classes, taking a back seat to my primary career as an author and publisher. However, working with people and sharing ideas has always been deeply satisfying, so I kept the hobby business going, slowly evolving it over the years, offering wilderness skills along with a smattering of sustainable living skills, such as stone masonry classes.
Looking for life-changing resources? Check out these books by Thomas J. Elpel: