Ecological Intelligence

Ecological intelligence pervades all aspects of our living Earth. It guides all of the interrelations that make life possible. It moves through and animates plants and animals. It guides the rise and fall of forests and mountain ranges and the breakdown of plant material to form rich soil.

Whether we realize it or not who we are and the ways we act in the world are influenced by the many interconnections with all of the other beings within our inhabited ecosystems. If we spend most of our time interfacing the world from within human-built techno-industrial ecosystems, who are we? How do we act towards the world? What happens when we intentionally immerse ourselves in wild places where the patterns and influence of ecological intelligence are more easily accessible?

From the beginning the soul is bound for the sacred, and bound for a sacrifice that reveals
a hidden abundance and gifts intended to be brought to the community.
— Michael Meade, The Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of the Soul

Initiatory Journeys

Initiation is a living force that guides our integration within the ecosystems of knowledge that sustain us on all levels, but in our culture we have little understanding of the process of initiation. Without the renewal of real and true initiatory practices we will remain in an adolescent stage of development as a species and continue to relate to the world in unhealthy, distorted ways.

Traditional cultures, integrated with the land, recognize that to be healthy, we as humans must also allow ourselves to be guided by ecological intelligence. Rituals of initiation ensure that we are tuned into and can understand the ways these forces make us who we are in relation to the lands and ecosystems in which we live.

weaving ourselves back into the Earth community

On each of these trips, traversing the vibrant landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, we call upon our bioregional plant teachers, each a living embodiment of ecological intelligence, to help guide us as we navigate our way through life in a culture that has forgotten its ties to the land and other-than-human intelligence.

We explore and experience new ways of being and thinking rooted in and specific to who we are as people living in this place at this time in history. Through plant-based ceremonies, song, communion, and prayer we weave ourselves back into the Earth community as we restore our awareness of and presence within the myriad connections that make life possible.

Thomas Berry told us that in order to invent new sustainable human cultures we must root our efforts not in our rational minds but in revelatory visions that sprout from the depths of the human psyche and from our encounters with the mysteries of the natural world.
— Bill Plotkin, "Inscendence—The Key to the Great Work of Our Time: A Soulcentric View of Thomas Berry’s Work"
My time in the desert with the School of Forest Medicine’s plant teacher immersion trip was honestly one of the major turning points of my life this far. I experienced such deep healing and learned of a new way of being from the plants and the simplicity of life I was able to experience for the first time. Almost 2 years after that trip, the lessons that came to me there are continuing to unfold and guide my life on an almost daily basis, and I can say that since that time, my life was set on an entirely new course.
— Yaeli

What to Expect

The School of Forest Medicine’s Plant Teacher Immersion Trips are not just for “plant people” but for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of life here on Earth. On these trips we:

  • participate in embodied experiences of essential interconnectedness that broaden our capacities of perception.

  • remember and awaken to ways of being that respect and honor the dignity of all beings.

  • let go of old stories, remember who we are, and find a deeper gratitude for life.

  • find real and deep community with others who share our passion for the wild.

  • receive gifts to share with our community as we work to build the foundations of a renewed, intact culture.

  • prepare the ground for generative and life-affirming human interactions as we navigate our current planetary crises.

Trip Details

  • Led by Scott Kloos, each trip is limited to 12 participants.

  • We start at 8am. You will need to arrive in the evening of the day before the trip starts to set up camp.

  • To prepare each of us for these initiatory journeys and to enhance our ability to go even deeper as a group, we are adding a series of four online Zoom meetings to each trip. After signing up each participant will also receive a bottle of each of the Plant Teacher Extracts with which we will work. This will allow us to enter the journey familiar with each other, the plants, and with the initiatory processes that will unfold.

  • We will do our best to facilitate rides for those coming from outside of the Pacific Northwest bioregion.


Please be aware that we are not seeking comfort in the woods. We will be actively working to get ourselves out of our comfort zones to help open ourselves up for healing and learning. You may be expected to sit in the hot desert sun for hours at a time, be in the rain for days, have your normal sleeping patterns altered, and/or spend lots of time in cars driving on bumpy dirt roads. We will engage in deep ceremony and sometimes intense sharing circles. Before signing up be sure that you are comfortable with this type of work. There also will be no dogs, alcohol, cannabis, or guests allowed, and you will be asked to sign both a liability waiver and a wildcrafting agreement.


  • To register, add relevant trip to cart. If you'd like to pay by check or cash, please email us via our Contact Page specifying which trip or trips you would like to attend and your preferred payment method. Payment in full is required to reserve your spot. Payment plans are available.

  • As we approach each trip's start date, we will send directions and detailed information on what to bring and how to prepare for the trip.

  • If for some reason you cannot make a trip after submitting your payment, we will issue a refund only if we are able to find someone else to take your spot. No refunds will be issued within 2 weeks of the departure date of each trip.

The plant teacher immersions provided me with opportunities to nature and to self. A new intimacy with nature brought deeper connection to the natural world. New curiosities and questioning revealed unexplored ways of thinking and created positive change.
— Doug

Plant Teacher Immersion Trips for 2019

Medicine Mountain Pilgrimage

Plant Teacher Immersion Trip
Ochoco Mountains
Ceremonial Focus: Earth
The Plants: Red Baneberry, Kishwoof (Gray's Lovage), Western Peony, Dogbane
Online Meetings: 6-9pm May 21, Jun 4, Jun 18, Jul 2
Dates: July 17-21, 2019

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High Desert Odyssey

Plant Teacher Immersion Trip
the Steens and Pueblo Mountains
Ceremonial Focus: Fire
The Plants: Western Juniper, Quaking Aspen, Yellow Pond-lily, Sagebrush, Green Ephedra
Online Meetings: 6-9pm May 28, Jun 11, Jun 25, Jul 9
Dates: Aug 3-9, 2019

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