Hands-On Classes

Apr 30 @ 8:00 am – 6:30 pm

10369220_10100495096515145_4087777334569494302_nClick Here to Register.

Instructors: A variety of DFS instructors
Join us for RampFest, the Driftless Folk School’s annual gathering to mark the beginning of Spring! RampFest is a daylong community event on Saturday, April 30th celebrating ramps, local wild foods, folk skills, and community at B&E’s Trees outside Newry, Wisconsin. The farm is a working commercial maple syrup operation that is full to the brim with the flora and fauna of forested land – which means ramps! Throughout the day, attendees will have an opportunity to learn about a variety of topics from DFS instructors in three organized educational sessions. Hands-on workshops include sustainable ramp harvesting, spring ephemeral and tree identification, maple syrup production, spoon carving, knot-tying, primitive skills, and more! RampFest is a family friendly community event. 

Time: 8:00am-6:30pm (with camping Friday and Saturday nights and Saturday evening bonfire)

Schedule: Visit this link for the RampFest Schedule!

Lodging: Attendees are encouraged to camp on site the night of Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30.

Accommodations are rustic. There are outhouses and water for hand washing. There are no showers.

Food: (A light) Breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday, April 30 are included. Meals will be ramp based and include as much local and organic food as possible. Please let us know ahead of time if you have any dietary restrictions and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Volunteer Positions available in 4 hour shifts for a tuition discount. Sign up for volunteering here. 

What are Ramps?
Ramps (Allium tricoccum) are also known as a spring onion, wild leek, and/or wild garlic. Nature has blessed the Driftless region of SW Wisconsin with rolling hills, spring fed streams and a significant amount of maple forests. The latter is a perfect environment for the growth of ramps. If you have never had them, think of a bulb of onion/garlic the size of your thumb connected to a red stem that spreads its wings into diamond shaped greens. And, the whole plant is edible! Learn more by visiting http://bit.ly/1qdzgIA and http://bit.ly/1kB8Xsa

Intro to Biodynamics
May 7 @ 9:00 am – 12:30 pm

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Instructor: Brian Wickert

The aim of biodynamic farming and gardening is to revitalize nature, grow nourishing food, and advance the physical and spiritual health of humanity. Each biodynamic farm or garden is conceived of as an organism with its own individual qualities and diversity of life. Reliance on home-produced compost, manures, and animal feeds is a key objective and external inputs are kept to a minimum. Dig-in and learn to start a spring garden plot with biodynamic soil preparations. You will witness the difference in the soil structure and vitality. Preparations will also be shared for your own garden plot.

Spoon Carving Circle – 2nd Thursday Every Month
May 12 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

spoon helpingInstructors: Terry Beck and Tom Wheeler
The night before Valentine’s Day, 2014, six people gathered in Driftless Folk School’s intimate little office space in The Ark in Viroqua for the first monthly Driftless Folk School Carving Circle. We ran the gamut of ages and experience, from veteran spoon carvers and a promising young new carver, to a curious onlooker – turned – carving convert. The latter purchased a “sloyd” and a “hook” knife from another participant and was … hooked. Mostly, people worked on spoons they had already started, shared techniques, tips and stories, and had a grand old time. All carving projects are welcome; bowyers, chip carvers, whittlers… spoons just happen to be the most common. Bring some wood, a carving tool or two, and a Band Aid, and a good joke wouldn’t hurt either. If you don’t have any wood or tools, come anyway. There’s a good chance someone might be able to share wood, or even sell a couple tools. We ask that folks attending contribute $2 to pay for space at The Ark.

Craft Your Own Knife Sheath and Handle
May 14 @ 9:00 am – May 15 @ 4:30 pm

DSCF0782Click Here to Register.

Instructor: Kerry Lambertson
The belt or sheath knife is an indispensable accouterments for craftspeople, woodcarvers, farmers, and gardeners. In this course we will begin with a carbon steel Scandinavian-made knife blade and fit a custom made handle to it from a selection of native hardwoods. We will finish the weekend by creating a sturdy leather sheath to house the knife.

Join us for a fun weekend and leave with your own personally fitted sheath knife! No experience is required



“The teacher was super knowledgeable and helpful without being overbearing. He had tons of skill and knowledge about the project and about woodworking. However, after demonstrating or explaining a tip, tool, or technique he allowed the student to work through the project without hovering over the student. That was great for this type of work, which really took a few minutes of student work to grasp. However, if a student ran into a snag, the instructor was more than willing to offer his assistance as necessary. He was very respectful of the students’ work and really encouraged us to take ownership of the project. “

“I felt very comfortable as a beginner and felt my skills improved. “

“I liked the step by step instructions as we went along. The personal attention and help made a huge difference.”

Design Your Tiny Home
May 14 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

This time next year, you could be sitting in a custom home that you designed, built, and own outright. Join experienced tiny house builders/owners to see if a tiny house is right for you, then create a plan for making it happen. You’ll leave the class with sample floorplans, materials lists, resources, and activities for designing and downsizing. If you like, this class will also set you up for a longer summer workshop that builds a tiny house from foundation to frame to finish.  Photo credit: Zac Barnes

Tiny House Zac Barnes

Home Creamery
May 14 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

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Instructor: Linda ConroyCheeseMaking1

Learn to make a wide variety of milk products and simple cheese in your own kitchen. Participants will learn to source the best milk for cheese making and then learn how to transform this milk into simple, delicious fermented products. Products we will make and/or sample include: kefir, yogurt, piima, fromage blanc, mozzarella, and feta.


Testimonials from former students:

[I liked] everything [about this class]. Linda is fantastic – she is super organized, down to earth, has lots of experience to share, and is very supportive. Great at creating community.

Very experienced teacher and she was very good about answering all questions. She was very well prepared for the group with all supplies and equipment.

Home Building Forum
May 14 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

housebuildingforum Julia UgoClick Here to Register. (soon to be updated)

Instructor: Various home owners/builders from the area
Building your own home starts with a dream, multiple drafts and an education in state building mandates. The moment that your hammer finally hits the first nail can be months or years later. During all stages of planning and building questions arise that need answering from peers who are attempting similar projects.  This forum will consist of a core group of home builders (both owner-builders and professionals) from the Driftless region and will create the time and space for questions, brainstorming, and future planning. Come once, or come to them all.

This forum will be offered March 12, May 14, July 9, September 10, 2016

Home Cheese Making: Cheddar and Gouda
May 15 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm


Click here to register.                                                                          Instructor: Linda Conroy

CurdhandsJoin Home Cheese Maker Linda Conroy as we focus on 2 styles of cheese (Cheddar & Gouda) that you can easily make at home. Participants will be guided through the process of making each cheese, with a focus on details. From curd to press, you will be inspired to go home and try these yourself. Making a “home” cheese cave will be discussed, although it is not necessary  to have a cheese cave to enjoy these styles of cheese. Participants will leave inspired with recipes and delicious cheese curds!


Class includes: lunch, samples, cheese to take home, recipes and a cheese culture to get you started.
cheesemakin class

Wide World of Fermentation
May 15 @ 9:00 am – 12:30 pm

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Instructor: Laura Poe

Fermentation has been a part of nearly every traditional culture’s culinary practice, and is starting to make a comeback in mainstream culture. This class will explore the how and why of various fermentation techniques, including sauerkraut and brined vegetables. There will also be fermented beverages like kombucha and kvass. Great for all skill levels, and it is so fun! Bring a quart glass jar to class.


Wilderness Skills
May 21 – May 22 all-day


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Instructor: Nicholas WazeeGale 

This is an experiential two day, one night_SAM9513 course in the skills and awarenesses necessary for meeting one’s needs, feeling comfortable and safe, and being enriched by experiences immersed in wild places. Our comfortable and busy lives often have us overlook the richness available in experiences in direct contact with nature such as observing animals, foraging wild foods, and using plant resources, sleeping to the sounds of the night, or cooking our food on a fire started primitively. These experiences should not require expensive gear or life-long experience but rather a healthy attitude towards our natural environment, some solid first-hand knowledge, and openness to challenges, bearable discomforts, and learning in the outdoors. With basic gear and clothing, some simple foods, and minds open to the adventure, we will go out to receive what a couple days has to offer in the warm season. Participants need to be of reasonably sound body and mind, and will receive a complete gear list before the class. The instructor welcomes inquiries and questions.

Dates: Saturday, May 21, 2016 to Sunday, May 22, 2016
Time: 9:00am Saturday to Sunday late afternoon

Copper Chimes
May 21 @ 9:00 am – 12:30 pm

Click here to register.IMG_0470

Instructor: Martha Buche
In just a few hours learn to turn humble plumbing pipe into a musical instrument. Your chime will be able to play 5 pentatonic notes. We will use wood, beads, microfiber line and copper to create the bells. Please bring safety glasses and snug work gloves to protect hands from sharp copper edges. 










Copper Chimes
Copper Chimes



Pine Needle Coiling and Basketry
May 21 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

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Instructor: Roberta Condon

Driftless Folk School Project Sample 1Participants will be provided with all the materials needed to make a small pine needle basket with a wooden base. The skills of coiling will be learned, and examples of more advanced techniques will be on  isplay. Students will come away with all the skills to complete a basket from start to finish, treat raw pine needles, drill basket bases, stitch and hide and secure loose ends of sinew, and finish the basket without a noticeable seam. Participants will become familiar with different methods to seal and finish a basket. Students will be supplied with the resources and supplies if they wish to continue the exploration of basketry and pine needle coiling on their own. Students should bring: sharp scissors, and a small long nose pliers works best

Roberta’s Website: http://robertacondon.comDriftless Folk School Submission 8

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