LONGMONT, Colo. (KDVR) — Tucked away among the trees in rural Longmont is a land that modern time has forgotten — and that’s exactly how Neal Ritter likes it.
This is the home of the Laughing Coyote Project.
“Our mission is to connect folks to nature, the outdoors, through primitive skills,” said Ritter, the project’s co-founder.
Since 2014, this 20-acre slice of the Colorado outdoors has been a classroom where students of all ages learn, but are not taught. Primitive fire-making skills, shelter-making and how to survive off the land with homemade tools built from surrounding materials are all common skills learned.
“In many ways, I believe that our bodies expect to be doing the same tasks that we’ve done for an entire hunter-gatherer past,” said Ritter.
Co-founder and head instructor Ritter calls the Laughing Coyote Project more of an experiment than a school.
“When you are working with sticks and rocks, and when you’re working with fibers from the landscape to make something, you can’t follow an instruction manual. Every ingredient, every piece you’re using is completely unique so you have to have creativity to figure out how to fit these things together,” said Ritter.
No cell phones are allowed while learning. If a student asks Ritter what time it is, he replies, “It’s right now.”
Ritter says the Laughing Coyote Project is his way of changing the world for the better. One glorious day at a time.