Bushcraft and the Natural World

About Me

hiker with binoculars


Who am I?

I spent my childhood in a suburb of New York City.  It’s a place where parents tell their children, “If you’re lost in the wilderness, hike north ’til you hit a McDonald’s and then call a cab!”

But my father was a high school science teacher.  He had an infectious love of astronomy, science, and the natural world.  He was a born teacher.  And because of him I was one of the rare city kids who got to experience “the country.”  

When I moved to California after college, I became captivated by its remarkable mountains, flora, and fauna.  California was so wildly different from suburban New York!  

I developed an interest in wild edible and medicinal plants.  And I’m convinced that my early hiking partners thought I was malnourished.  Everywhere we’d go I’d point to a plant and ask, “Can we eat that?”

I developed my outdoor skills through organizations like the Sierra Club and by studying with survival and traditional skills instructors.  I try to learn from experts whenever I can.  So I continue to learn alongside animal trackers, botanists, herbalists, naturalists, and many others.  Without exception, people are eager to share their knowledge of the outdoors.  And I’m thankful to all those who give generously of their time.

Today I am a Certified California Naturalist guiding trips for the Sierra Club’s Inspiring Connections Outdoors program.  I also lead public hikes and programs for California State Parks and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  It thrills me to guide others into our amazing natural world.


What is Bushcraft?

hiker in front of waterfall at Olympic National Park


Bushcraft is the practical knowledge of our natural world.  Bushcraft skills provide shelter, water, fire and food from materials found in our natural environment.  But it is much more than that!  It’s an “experiential” approach to understanding nature.  Bushcraft compliments and enriches the latest science in natural history, botany, animal behavior and the environment.

More importantly, these skills create insight into and appreciation for the world around us.  Ancient peoples viewed themselves as a part of nature, not apart from it.  And in our hectic modern lives we often feel isolated from the larger universe.  Relating to nature allows us to share a connectedness that is absent from our modern lives.  Bushcraft builds our connection to nature.


Why I started the NatureOutside Blog

hiker with red mushroom

Having fun with fungus


The NatureOutside blog helps people who love nature and the outdoors explore their passion through bushcraft.

My goal is also to encourage stewardship of the environment through bushcraft.  Bushcrafters are in a special position to act as stewards for the wild places.  We appreciate nature and its resources.  We have an insider’s view of its magnificence and fragility.  Many of the wild areas that remain in the United States are thanks to the foresight of earlier generations.  I hope you will read this blog and it will inspire you to act so that our children can enjoy these wonderful places.

So rise from the couch and explore our wondrous planet!  Cherish and protect what you find.  Share what you learn with others.  Grab your backpack and head outdoors.  Nature is waiting!


My pledge for high quality information

hiker beside bear warning sign Glacier National Park

Bear warning sign at Glacier National Park. I was doing a 4-day backpack trip.


There is a lot of poor quality information on the internet from dubious sources.  I will always do my best to ensure that the information that appears on this site is reliable and of high quality.


My Training


Leopard Shark

Certified California Naturalist

16-hour wilderness first-aid certification

Adult and pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED

Sierra Club Outdoor Leadership Training OLT-101 & OLT-201

Sierra Club Wilderness Travel Course

Foundations of Interpretation, Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, Indiana University

Member, National Association for Interpretation (NAI)

Workshops in mycology, ornithology, Wild edible/medicinal plants, animal tracking, natural shelter, fire by friction, basketry, moccasin manufacture



My outdoor interests

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park



Sea kayaking

The natural world

Wild edible and medicinal plants

Animal tracking

Traditional skills and crafts (firecraft, primitive shelters, leatherwork, basketry)



My Favorite Bushcraft Places (in alphabetical order)

Tracking an elephant in Zimbabwe

Tracking an elephant in Zimbabwe




Costa Rica

New Zealand

United States (California, Montana, Washington)




Giving back

We should do our best to “give back” to people and to the world.  Besides donating to nonprofits, I volunteer my time to the following organizations.


Advertising Policy on NatureOutside

NatureOutside helps people who love nature and the outdoors explore their passion through bushcraft.  To help cover costs to run the site and expand its content, I decided to accept some advertising and affiliate links.

You are probably very familiar with internet advertising.  I limit advertising on the site and make sure ads do not become distracting or annoying.

You may not be as familiar with affiliate links.  When you click on these links (to Amazon), NatureOutside earns a small commission on any purchases you make at Amazon within 24 hours of clicking on one of the links.

I hope that this advertising revenue will one day support the cost of running the site.  I can dream, can’t I?  🙂


Liability Disclaimer & Terms and Conditions

The information contained on this website, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, links and other material are for informational purposes only.  I (Steven Stolper) try to ensure the accuracy of the information found on this site.  But portions may be incorrect or not current.

I do not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any information and shall not be liable for any losses caused by such reliance on it.  Any person or entity that relies on information obtained from does so at his or her own risk.  In no way shall I be liable for any damages arising from the use of this website or use of the information contained within.

Hiking, backpacking and other outdoor activities involve a certain amount of risk to both persons and property. There are many variables including weather, fitness, terrain and outdoor experience.  Be prepared for your journey and always exercise common sense and caution.

This website is for personal and non-commercial use. You may not modify, copy, excerpt, distribute, transmit, publish, license, create derivative works from, or sell any information or services obtained from this website.

NatureOutside® is a registered trademark.  Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.

I reserve the right to change the terms and conditions under which this website is offered.



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