Let Us Be Your Guide

We facilitate a deep connection to the wild through diverse experiences that inform and entertain. Whether walking through a rare Atlantic cedar swamp, learning to tincture medicinal herbs or sipping a fermented milkweed blossom cordial, you will feel your springs unwind, your senses engage and a powerful sense of your place in the natural order of things.



Nature Walks - We lead small groups through forests, riparian landscapes, marshes, meadows and mountains to explore the native flora, fauna and fungi. Programming includes specialists in birds, botany and other topics.

Foraging - Our walks feature opportunities to discover wild edibles in season. We teach identification skills and give instruction on where and how to forage.

Forest Bathing - Based on the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, this simple act of walking mindfully through the woods—slowing the breath and engaging the senses—has an enormously positive impact on overall health and well-being.

Customized - We welcome requests from individuals, communities and groups for private walks, specialized nature experiences or wild foods gatherings.

Corporate - Step away from the urban environment for brand events and team-building centered around the healing and transformative powers of nature. Or learn how to bring nature and the concept of biophilia into your workplace to reduce stress and enhance productivity.

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.



Herbalism - In our hands-on workshops, you’ll make herbal tinctures, infusions, smudges and bitters with locally harvested plants such as yarrow, mugwort, sweetfern, barberry and mullein.

Plant-based Dyes - Learn to use native plants, including flowers, berries and barks, to dye natural fabrics with a variety of traditional techniques.

Natural Cosmetics - Make your own natural cosmetics infused with locally foraged plants and flowers, plus essential oils. Create effective products that are free of harmful chemicals, ideal for sensitive skin and not detrimental to the environment.

Botanical Mixology - Practice craft cocktail and alchemy techniques, including muddling, mixing and shaking up cocktails and mocktails. Experiment with botanical syrups, tinctures and cordials made with locally grown and wild-foraged ingredients.

Wild Foods Cooking & Preservation - Learn to transform our local bounty into delicious and healthy dishes that rely on fresh ingredients and simple preparations. Preservation techniques include pickling, canning, drying, smoking and salting.

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Field Guides - In July 2018, we launched the first volume, Summer, in our seasonal Field Guide to the Hudson & Upper Delaware Valleys. The second volume, Spring, was published in April 2019. Both feature original illustrations.

The Outside Institute creates location-specific and regional field guides for educational and promotional purposes. We’re available for commission, so if you’d like to produce a field guide, conservation pamphlet or foraging brochure for your area, contact us at info@theoutsideinstitute.org

Our founder, Laura Silverman, is a seasoned writer, editor and frequent contributor of editorial features on topics from mycology and foraging to wild foods and mixology.



Founder Laura Silverman is an experienced naturalist, thoughtful guide, creative cook and engaging speaker. Please reach out to discuss events & collaborations.

Private Land Assessment - If you are curious about what is growing on your property, we can arrange a visit to walk the grounds with you.

Wild Foods - If you would like to incorporate foraged flavors into your culinary or cocktail program, we can advise on seasonal availability, sourcing and recipe development.

Talks & Panels - Laura speaks on topics ranging from sustainable foraging and conservation; the power of nature to heal and transform; wildcrafting and cooking with foraged ingredients.

We welcome requests from individuals or groups who would like to arrange a customized nature experience or wild foods gathering. Our upstate community includes many talented chefs, musicians, gong practitioners, yoga teachers, shamans and fireworks specialists with whom we regularly collaborate.

Contact us at info@theoutsideinstitute.org