54. Ecological Awareness and the Wildlife Web - Interview with Thomas J. Elpel


How can we reestablish our fundamental connection with nature, in the context of a culture so thoroughly disconnected from the ecosystems that sustain it?

According to Thomas J. Elpel, founder of Green University and the Outdoor Wilderness Living School, it starts by empowering people of all ages to learn to read the external signals and cues we receive from our environment; to discover how to tune in to the frequency of Mother Nature, always buzzing all around us no matter what kind of landscape we find ourselves moving through.

For episode 54 of the Good Life Revival Podcast, I had the pleasure of chatting with Tom to learn more about his latest project, the “dynamic ecology card game” called Wildlife Web.


“Wildlife Web simulates the dynamics of a real world ecosystem with astonishing accuracy. With fifty animals to choose from, players can become anything from a mouse to a moose or a bird to a bear, each foraging or hunting for food to mate and reproduce while trying not to become food themselves. The game is fun, competitive, and addictive!”

Beyond this latest project, Tom is also the author of more than half a dozen books on topics ranging from botany, to natural building, to wilderness survival skills and more. He is perhaps best known for his indispensable Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification, a book that I cannot recommend highly enough to folks interested in learning to identify plants.

We had a great conversation about the card game and the challenges of teaching ecological literacy; we explored some of Tom’s experiences as a wilderness living instructor; and we also touched upon some other common threads of interest along the way, like frugal living, and how and why to try to escape the rat race of modern society.

If you think Wildlife Web sounds as cool as I do, I hope you’ll join me in backing it on Kickstarter so that it will become a reality! EDIT: I just got word that the project has been fully funded! Still, you can and should preorder a copy today!

Stream and download episode 54 at the top of the page, or listen through iTunesStitcher, or Google Play. 

To apply for my spring 2019 Wild Food Mentorship, click here. Space is limited and these spots will fill up quickly! The deadline is February 28, 2019.

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