022 The Everwild Way - Amanda Caloia and Elizabeth Wells

 From bottom, left: Amanda Caloia and Elizabeth Wells of  EverWild . Photos:  Emily Hart Roth . 

From bottom, left: Amanda Caloia and Elizabeth Wells of EverWild. Photos: Emily Hart Roth

Society expects us to go down one path. And then if it doesn’t feel right or it doesn’t feel good, often we don’t know that there [are] other resources available.
— Elizabeth Wells
I think the biggest question that you could ask, and that [the Everwild kids] ask constantly, is: ‘I wonder…’
— Amanda Caloia

Our Season 1 finale is here! I can't imagine a more fitting close to our six-month journey than this interview with Amanda Caloia and Elizabeth Wells, two of the co-founders of EverWild—a Los Angeles-based community that connects city-dwellers to the wild through family adventures, conservancy projects, and a pioneering nature-immersion homeschooling program.  

Amanda's and Elizabeth's journeys to create EverWild (along with Rebecca Chou, not featured in this episode) mirror so much of what we’ve been searching for on this show: a connection to nature, yes; but also a connection to true, human community. After all, the wild places we made our home in our ancient human past wouldn’t have been survivable without the tribe that surrounded us. As I’ve come to recognize over these past 22 episodes, we’re hardwired to be in the fold. While the loss of nature is palpable, community is that unnamable thing we’re grasping for in an increasingly virtualized and individualized world. 

In my LA backyard (over foraged yerba santa tea, homemade pumpkin bread, and a smattering of airplane and mower noise), Amanda and Elizabeth and I chatted it up about the quest for the "perfect" place to live, surfing and skating (Amanda is a Longboard Girls Crew USA skater), homeschooling in the wild, and how they ultimately found “the EverWild way” of life. 

Thank you all for your incredible support this first season! I wish you lots of time to “uncivilize” in your own life until I'm back again this fall.   

Here’s what we talk about: 

  • Surfing, snowboarding and searching for the “perfect” place to live
  • How Amanda and Elizabeth balance living in the city with their need to be near nature
  • Elizabeth’s background: from Cape Town, South Africa to Santa Monica
  • Bee and wasp attacks
  • Navigating risk in Everwild’s classes and “bloops” 
  • Why kids need to learn according to their internal clock
  • Amanda’s aha moment about outdoor education
  • Homeschooling, unschooling, LA Nature Kids, and the creation of EverWild
  • Elizabeth: “Like all of these choices we make, [EverWild] is a way of life.”
  • Child-led learning and David Sobel
  • A surprise guest co-host and a day in the life at EverWild 

Want to learn more about the EverWild way? Check out EverWild’s programs and upcoming happenings on the EverWild website, where you can sign up for a free trial day for the homeschooling program. You can also follow their adventures on Facebookand Instagram. (And don’t miss Amanda’s personal IG page for some rad skating/surfing/snowboarding pics: @pandaskate.)

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan. Want to chime in on this episode or have an idea for a future show? Connect with me via my Instagram page, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Resources: 

Inspire Charter School
Kiss the Ground
Hahamongna Watershed Park
Backbone Trail
LA Nature Kids
Pam Laricchica's Exploring Unschooling podcast 
Red Rock Canyon State Park