Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.

— John Muir

Explore. Discover. Grow.

The Outside Institute was founded in 2017 in the Upper Delaware Valley to help those seeking a greater connection to the natural world. By nurturing humanity's powers of observation and innate affinity for all living things, we hope to inspire joy and passionate stewardship of the land. Our year-round program includes plant walks, hikes, forest bathing, sustainable foraging, field trips and workshops. We collaborate with expert guides, craftspeople and educators to offer instruction in beekeeping, botany, herbalism, tracking, photography, birding, natural dyes and more.


Food is also an important component of The Outside Institute. Whether we’re creating a trail snack, picnic lunch, cookout or seasonal dinner, we celebrate nature’s bounty through lovingly prepared locally farmed and sustainably foraged ingredients that tell the story of our region.

Peruse our Events page for upcoming dates or contact us directly to arrange a customized itinerary. We accommodate requests from individuals or groups for private events of all kinds. Romantic picnic for two overlooking a waterfall? Meditation beside a babbling brook? Gong healing under the stars? Snowshoe trek following coyote tracks? Let’s get lost! (And found.) If you'd like to know what's growing on your property, we'll walk it together. Your wanderlust is our command.

Our Events are open to interested naturalists of all ages and abilities. If our fees are beyond your means, contact us so we can accommodate you.


Laura Silverman, a writer, cook and mixologist, is the Founding Naturalist of The Outside Institute. A desire to share her passion for the wonders of the natural world inspired this venture. From 2010-17, Laura wrote Glutton for Life, a blog that explored Catskill living, including cooking with seasonal and sustainably foraged foods, gardening and communing with nature. She contributes a segment, Take It Outside, to WJFF’s Farm & Country show; writes a food column, Relish Every Day, for The River Reporter; and contributes regularly to Edible Hudson Valley magazine.