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 and Black Oak Wilderness School.

Established November 2017

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Founder and chief instructor of Black Oak Wilderness School.

Dane has over 15 years of experience teaching in nature. For the past 11 years he has focused primarily on wilderness survival and traditional living skills with the mission of changing how people interact with the natural world. He started Black Oak Wilderness School in November of 2017 to make wilderness education more accessible and to shift the culture around survival to make it more inclusive. He worked as an instructor and program director at Trackers Earth from 2010- 2016. He is a NOLS certified WFR (Wilderness First Responder), a licensed back country guide, and an experienced educational director. He is also a trained chef, musician, notable story teller, and craftsman. You can find his handmade knives in the BOWS online shop.

A white non-binary queer, has been fascinated by what wild lands can teach us since his youth on a cattle ranch in Texas, riding horses and picking wild blackberries. He learned (and taught) traditional earth skills at Sienna Ranch from 2012-2017. Nowadays he is a dog walker in the Oakland hills and in his downtime practices archery and leather crafting. He is fond of playing the acoustic guitar and always looking for the next great climbing tree. Hunter has been with BOWS since 2018 and teaches queer classes, wilderness survival, acorn processing, and is a talented blacksmith.

Hunter Rook


CA certified Naturalist, born and raised in the Redwood rainforests of California. Meshach has spent most of his life outside exploring and developing a relationship with nature, care taking homesteads, attending skills gatherings/workshops and  formal wilderness education. He has worked as a Wilderness Ed and Survival Skills instructor in schools, teaches workshops on his own and assists in teaching ancestral living skills. His skill sets include fire craft, blacksmithing and archery. He has been with Black Oak Wilderness School since 2018. He teaches survival classes and POC centered classes.