EST. 2017 Oakland, CA

Diversity, Equality, Inclusivity, and Environmentalism... those were the founding principles of Black Oak Wilderness School when it was established in 2017, and they continue to be the masthead of our work now. We believe that all people deserve a relationship with nature, and that having access to an education focused on building that relationship is what will lead us towards a healthier future for our planet and our global culture. 

There are three branches to our educational tree at BOWS. The first and most important is our work providing UC approved outdoor and experiential elective education courses to high schools serving students from under represented communities. The second branch is our extracurricular teen leadership and mentorship programs. The third branch is our work educating adults and families in sustainable alternative and traditional living skills.

High School Electives

Our primary goal is to bring outdoor and experiential learning to public high schools serving under represented communities. We do, however, offer our programs to all schools public, charter, and private with the understanding that profits from those programs go directly to supporting students who would not otherwise have access to this type of education. That support is divided into both our high school programs and scholarships in our teen leadership programs with a focus on POC, Indigenous, and LBGTQ students. All our classes can be UC certified by participating schools and are highly focused on STEAM learning.

Interested in bringing our programs to your school?


Our teen extracurriculars have been very popular and this year we are expanding to serve communities all over the Bay Area from Marin to Santa Cruz. Teens have the option of joining our full school year weekend program Fox Walkers or taking individual classes offered at local parks or our facility in the East Bay. These classes include the projects that we offer in our school electives and much, much more. 

Fox Walkers meets one weekend per month to go camping at one our fantastic educational sites, state and national parks, or public lands to learn about wilderness survival, traditional skills and outdoor leadership.


Our adult education programs are open to adults and families looking for a little adventure, a little education, and a lot of fun in the outdoors. Our team of expert instructors run a full range of classes in traditional living skills, wilderness survival, nature connection, and crafting.

A percentage of each ticket payment constitutes a contribution to providing education to under represented youth in our high school electives, teen mentorship programs, and our yearly donation to indigenous rights organizations all over the country. Classes range from single day workshops, to weekend camping, and even to full year educator apprenticeships.

BOWS is a queer owned and operated business. We welcome students of all race, nationality, sex, gender, religion, sexual preference, relationship style, age, and ability. Nature is for everyone.

Created, licensed, and copyrighted by

Dane Nelson

Black Oak Wilderness School Incorporated

Established November 2017

  • Instagram - White Circle
  • Facebook - White Circle