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Located in Vilas, North Carolina on approximately 50 acres of forest, meadow, creeks, coves, ridges, and valleys, High Country Forest Wild is a nature-based, experiential, cross-curricular educational program which encourages curiosity and exploration in an all-outdoors environment with supported risk-taking and emphasis on life skills.

Children ages 3-14 years old are all welcome to attend High Country Forest Wild.

Child wearing a mask climbs a tree.


Forest school is both a learning philosophy and a physical environment.


The philosophy is experiential, nature-based, child-centered, and collaborative, focusing on outdoor experience that encourages curiosity and exploration. At forest school, kids learn about water and Cherokee history and physics and Pablo Neruda and cycles of life and tools and mathematical modeling... it's all part of a holistic education (cross-curricular). We will teach environmental lessons, outdoor skills, foraging, fire-building, shelter-building, natural and cultural history with a focus on social justice, plus games, hiking, reading, poetry, journalling, and unstructured exploratory time.


Students build interpersonal skills like teamwork, communication, cooperation, and problem-solving. They are exposed to other children of different ages and given the opportunity to reach conflict resolution with careful supervision by adults. Forest schools help lower obesity rates in children by encouraging and allowing active outdoor play and movement.


Children may explore climbing trees, using metal tools, and lighting a fire. Instructors help students assess risks and benefits so their decisions are informed. Risk-taking builds independence, resilience, and self-esteem in young people that will improve their judgment as they grow.

Explore More from HC Forest Wild

Learn about how and what we teach at HC Forest Wild.

Meet our current staff members and explore our alumni staff page.

What to pay, when to pay, and how to pay.

Find our weeks of operation, the learning themes, and days we are closed.

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