Meet Tim “Primitim” Swanson, Outdoor Instructor

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“I was born outside. Being outside in nature has always been my main interest. I wasn’t into sports or video games; I just wanted to be outside catching bugs, learning about animals, plants, and tracking.”

Tim ‘Primitim’ Swanson has been focused on living a life outdoors since before he can remember. He is one of those lucky few who was born with a purpose—to connect people with nature and help them see the power of nature to heal.

This season, Tim is leading our Art of Fire workshops, helping students feel comfortable making fire with primitive methods like the bow drill, and leading foraging and acorn processing classes to help our community learn about edible wild food’s ability to heal and promote health. We thought it would be fun to share a bit more about who Tim is and why, exactly, he loves the outdoors so very much.

Living a Life of Purpose Outdoors

Tim grew up in the small town of Pepperell, northwest of Boston. As anyone who has ever been out to Pepperell, Groton, or Dunstable will know, it’s pretty easy to get outdoors in an area that has more woods than people. In Tim’s own words,

“I was born outside. Being outside in nature has always been my main interest. I wasn’t into sports or video games; I just wanted to be outside catching bugs, learning about animals, plants, and tracking.”

For college l, Tim enrolled in the University of Maine’s Adventure Therapy and Adventure Education Leadership program, earning a dual degree that would empower him to spend his life working outdoors. He’s been leading groups and teaching wilderness skills since his freshman year, gaining experience as a guide, as a teacher, and as a student of the wilderness.

Tim has earned a host of certificates and qualifications, including Wilderness First Responder, Avalanche Rescue, and Leave No Trace Master Educator, among others. These allow him to share his love for the outdoors with our community, helping others form their own relationships with the woods.

But even after all his training and years of teaching others about primitive survival techniques, his connection to the outdoors is something everyone can relate to.

“Every time I get out in the woods, my anxiety and my stress just go away. I’m happy and I’m safe… I feel comfortable.”

3 Skills Every Beginner Outdoors-person Should Learn, according to Tim:

  1. Awareness and thankfulness: “I like to start all my workshops with a circle of gratitude. I have everyone say their name and one thing they are thankful for. I think it helps people connect and appreciate something, so they can focus and be aware how they feel when they are outside.

  2. Learn how to keep yourself warm with shelter or fire.

  3. Learn what to put in your body, how to feed and water yourself.

Learn from Tim “Primitim” in an upcoming workshop

This Spring (2019), Tim is teaching the Art of Fire and Shelter Building courses, as well as some upcoming foraging classes. He’s looking forward to sharing how edible wild foods can promote health, how to keep yourself alive through the art of fire and shelter building, and helping people find their own relationship with the outdoors.