We are long overdue for an update here at The Fringeologist. It has been a busy Spring and Summer! There are no shortage of milestones and accomplishments to report-out on.

The first being that our first professional newsletter and digital magazine—[dys+-(u)topia]—has just hit the press and you can find that over at our Fringe Labs. It has been a labor of love in the intervening months since our previous post. I hope you’ll check out all of the articles, essays, interviews and art-pieces. We’ll have our second issue out later this year, so keep your eye out!

Wait hold up!…Fringe Labs?…what is that you say? 

Well, Fringe Labs is the newest extension of Fringe Digital. It is the headquarters for our media studio, our experimental sustainable design grounds, and soon-to-be embodied knowledge retreat space. Situated in beautiful Northern Michigan, this is where Fringe Digital will hold a variety of talks and workshops on risk management in the wild, primitive skills, traditional ecological knowledge, resiliency development, and contemplative study and practice.

Fringe Labs has demanded a fair bit of our attention this Summer. In addition to getting the home office set-up, we’ve been getting outfitted for solar generation, tending the grounds to facilitate our first harvests, and preparing our fire-keeping space for communal teaching and group work. It has kept us busy. 

But that’s enough about Fringe Labs…for now! We’ll have a lot more to share about that special place in our next issue of [dys+-(u)topia]

The Fringeologist is the place where we keep you posted on all of the professional development we have been up to here at Fringe Digital. As a unique digital consultancy, we’re actually training every day to become better analog human beings. We want to become equipped to help individuals, communities, businesses, and the general public become more in-tune with themselves, with the people around them, and with the natural world that sustains us. To that end we are constantly putting ourselves out there.

Here is brief rundown on the work we have been getting up to since last we posted!

In March, following on from our adventures in Maine and Colorado, we made our way out to Bend, Oregon to obtain our Wilderness First Aid Certification through NOLS.

Bend is an amazing little college town. Outside of a very brief stop in Portland, this was the most time I’ve spent in Oregon. I can’t say enough great things about the state, the town, or NOLS. It was well worth the trip. I left feeling equipped to do some rapid assessment, care, and extraction for the injured when it comes to recreating in groups in the wilderness.

Returning from Oregon, I was just in-time to put the finishing preparations on my training for the on-hill toboggan and skills test as a patrol candidate at our local ski resort back in Michigan.

I’m proud and thrilled to say that I passed, and am now well underway with my Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) training. I will put the wraps on OEC in late-October/early-November just in time to head to Estes Park, Colorado to complete my Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification through the Mountain Rescue Institute.

My partner and I (and our four-legged) are really looking forward to this trip. We’ll be boondocking it for most of the trip in our new Subaru Outback Wilderness. We’ve got our car-camping fairly dialed-in, with a few great trips throughout Northern Michigan this Summer. We just completed one such trip out to Beaver Island, where we enjoyed some dispersed camping overlooking Lake Michigan and some of the sister islands (Garden, High).

In a about a week we’ll be heading to the Porcupine Mountains and the shores of Lake Superior to dial things in a bit further. 

But I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself. And before I get too long-winded, I’ll mention our final bit of professional development—a capstone for the Summer. Our team headed back out East to the Maine Primitive Skills School in July to attend a week-long training in Summer Foraging, primarily geared towards harvesting plants for medicinal purposes. What an incredible week!

We picked up so much useful information for identifying both beneficial and harmful species of plants common to the Northeast and the Midwest and learned how to tincture them and prepare them for use in later seasons. My partner took to the course like a fish in water, and I discovered a new language and literacy with plants that will serve some of my contemplative practice and outreach that I hope to do with individuals and groups. I wrote a little bit about that inspiration and dialogue in this piece from the inaugural issue of [dys+-(u)topia].

This course, in particular, inspired our team to get busy and prepare our first training and outreach to the public this Fall. In mid-October we’ll be inviting campers and the public in Northern Michigan to join us on the trails in Wilderness State Park. We’ll be leading folks through some tips for safely and accurately identifying plants, providing them with best practices for building successful and enjoyable hiking trips, and even providing some local history and culture. You can read about what we have in store for folks at the Events portal for Fringe Digital—see here.

So, as you can see, no shortage of study and training going on in the background throughout an otherwise seemingly quiet Spring/Summer. Much of our energy is now shifting into writing for the next issue of [dys+-(u)topia], preparation for our Fall event, and wrapping up certifications for our wilderness medical training. 

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