About Earth Connection

Earth Connection is an outdoor school which was founded in March of 1997 by Tim MacWelch. We are a licensed and insured business in Virginia. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Our mission is to teach our students how to be comfortable and feel at home in the wilderness; and to understand the resources and history around them.

Our school teaches modern, historically and prehistorically based skills in a way that makes them relevant to modern people. We welcome students who are with us to learn skills that will keep them safe in the wilderness and students who are here to learn more about the lives of their ancestors.

Directions to our location are given out AFTER registration in a class. There are no travel directions posted on this website.


Founder and Head Instructor of The Earth Connection School

Tim MacWelch is the founder and head instructor of The Earth Connection School. He has been a student of primitive skills for over twenty five years now, studying wilderness survival and primitive technologies with most of the top schools and instructors in the east. Tim's favorite primitive skill is friction fire.

Tim has been professionally teaching wilderness survival and primitive technology since he founded Earth Connection in the spring of 1997. He has been working with kids through his own youth workshops to schools, church groups, the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and other youth groups since 1995. Tim is the author of two survival books that have been on the New York Times Best Sellers list, Prepare For Anything and the Hunting & Gathering Survival Manual.

Guest Instructors

Rick "Hue" Hueston is an explorer and naturalist of a different breed. Class adventures with him are a mixture of blind discovery and carefully thought out instruction. He uses a self-developed method for teaching that centers on the traditional Native American Medicine Wheel as metaphor. He is a curious naturalist exploring our natural world with predator vision, awareness and intuition. For the most part, he is a self-taught and self-effacing person whose chief interests in life has been to break free of society’s current technological paradigm, gain degrees of natural knowledge and slip into nature’s simplicity. Recently retired from military service, he has personal adventures and professional teaching experience that range the full spectrum of nature’s biomes. Hueston's specialties include Land Navigation and Animal Tracking.

Wes Massey focuses on experiential training as his teaching foundation, spending much of his free time in the Mountains and Piedmont areas of NC practicing primitive and wilderness survival skills. A rigorous teacher and practitioner of primitive/wilderness skills, Wes validates the techniques in simulated survival situations BEFORE he teaches them. Wes sets the highest standards for skill and technique validation, reproducible results, and historical authenticity. He specializes in friction fire techniques, making even the "fire plow" look deceptively easy. Among his teachers, Wes has received extensive training and mentoring from Tim MacWelch and Rick (Hue) Hueston.

Rick Pyle is teaching the Emergency Medical Series for us. He is a professional paramedic in a busy metropolitan area in Virginia.

Where Have You Seen Us?

In addition to volunteering at many Boy Scout events over the years, Earth Connection has been featured in Conde Nast Traveller Magazine, the Washington Post newspaper and several local publications. We appeared on the National Geographic Today news program teaching reporter Kristin Whiting how to make a friction fire, and she got it (Jan. 18, 2001). We have also been featured live on Good Morning America teaching Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Tony Perkins the Weatherman how to make friction fire with the Bow Drill (Jan. 23, 2001). We were sponsored by Men's Journal to provide workshops at Camp Jeep 2001 (July 26-28, 2001). Earth Connection was back again at Camp Jeep 2003 (June 26-28, 2003) sponsored this time by Men's Journal and Rolling Stone Magazine. We have 3 outdoor videos on MonkeySee.com that you can watch for free any time.

Why Go to Earth Connection Courses?

Earth Connection's courses provide the following valuable benefits to our students:

  • Earth Connection is a small, streamlined business with the ability to provide priceless, lifesaving skills at prices well below our competition. We try harder and we pour more into our classes that the "Name-Brand Schools".
  • Our curriculum is compartmentalized, to allow you to select and combine the subjects that suit your needs and interests.
  • Even if our students have received extensive survival training, our innovative survival techniques will provide them with additional new survival strategies. These new skills will give our students even more tactics to survive.
  • All of our courses provide students with a written manual on the skills covered in that course, so that everyone has consistent information to study during the course and to review afterward.
  • Earth Connection's curriculum is designed to pack many new skills and skill practice time into every class. We don't believe in scamming our students with useless filler. There's no marching around or busywork on our classes. If you want to go hiking to fill up a day, you can do that yourself for free. It won't happen on our clock. We pack into 2 or 3 days the amount that other guys stretch out over a week. So you cover the same ( or probably much more ) information at a fraction of their cost!
  • "The class isn't over when you go home!" We care about our students and their progress. The door is always open for further study, for your questions and to help you join the local and global Primitive Skills community.

Course Information

All of our courses are designed to offer hands-on instruction and coaching in outdoor skills and primitive technology. Class size is always limited to provide a personalized class and plenty of individual attention.

All courses are adult level courses for adult participants, 18 and older. To join us for a class, we must have your registration form and tuition at least 3 days before the first day of the course. Please go to our registration page for more information and a printable application form. You can now CHECK FOR LAST MINUTE CANCELLATIONS in our classes, which would provide you with a last minute space in that class. Please call or email for class openings.

Directions to our location are given out AFTER registration in a class. There are no travel directions posted on this website.

Daily Schedule

All of our courses are run on a predetermined schedule. The days are spent learning in our camp, practicing the skills that have just been taught, and doing exercises to reinforce these skills. On overnight courses, there is usually a subject or two taught after dinner, and then the rest of the evening is spent around the campfire. Students are NOT expected haul water, chop wood or do any other school chores during our courses. They are only responsible for washing their own dishes and cleaning up after themselves. However, we always appreciate a little extra help when we need it.

Class Times

One day courses run from 9 am to 4 pm. Our longer courses run from 9 am to about 7 pm on the first day, 8 am to 7 pm during the course, and 8 am to 4 pm on the final day. A few breaks are also included in each day.


Students will need to provide their own meals and water for all of our courses, with the exception of the Primitive Cooking course. There will be a 30 minute break for lunch on our one day classes. We recommend that students bring food that they can prepare easily while camping. Please contact us if you have any questions.