2016 workshops

For general logistical details about workshops click here.

P 9 Painting workshop (1) smPainting in the Ancient Forest

April 16-17, 2016 – FULL
Cost: $175
Supply fee: $30

A weekend retreat in a spectacular natural setting will immerse you in the experience of mixed-media painting. You will spend time out in the forest collecting imagery and inspiration, drawing and painting along the trail. Returning to the studio, you will learn how to incorporate this imagery into lush, layered acrylic paintings that are uniquely yours. The mixed-media painting process lends itself well to experimentation and play, and beginners and professionals alike will find themselves making new discoveries in this nurturing workshop environment.

Annamieka Davidson is a fine artist based in Portland, Oregon. She brings energy and a love of art-making to her workshops, and students will feel encouraged and at ease. She earned her BFA from the University of Oregon and writes about her life as an artist on her blog.


Dunn's Salamander, Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, OregonFamily Workshop: Amphibian Adventure!

May 7-8, 2016
Cost: $175 per adult, $85 per child 4-13, free for kids ages 0-3

Come spend Mothers’ Day at Opal Creek!  Relax, hike and enjoy home-cooked meals, including a special Mother’ Day breakfast.

Opal Creek’s intact ancient forest and cool clean waters host the full diversity of Northwest amphibians, from the Pacific Giant Salamander, the largest terrestrial amphibian in North America, to the genetically unique tailed frog. This workshop will examine the dozen amphibians that reside in Opal Creek’s exceptional habitat. Join our stellar Science Instructors as we look deep into the clear pools and under the downed logs for these elusive critters. Tuition includes a copy of Opal Creek’s self-published Field Guide to the Amphibians of Opal Creek for use during the weekend and for all future amphibian investigation.

Photo credit: Steven Johnson


P 10 Story SeekersStory Seekers: A Writing Retreat for Adults

May 28-29, 2016
Cost: $175
Supply fee: $10

The poet Mary Oliver writes, “Let me keep my mind on what matters… which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.” In this creative writing retreat, we will immerse ourselves in the wild landscape of Opal Creek so that we, too, may become astonished.

With the help of experiential prompts, we will generate pieces of writing that are as wild and alive as the woods and rushing waters that inspired them. By the end of the weekend, we will each have a creatively rendered record of our discoveries and a variety of story seeds to take home. This retreat is a great opportunity for writers, artists, teachers, and anybody else who wants to break through blocks and access the wild and creative force howling inside us all.

Becca Deysach, M.S., teaches creative writing and environmental studies for Prescott College and facilitates weekly writing programs at Breitenbush Hot Springs. When she’s not teaching and writing in beautiful places, you can find her galavanting in the Central Cascades, cooking dinner for friends, or drawing in her wee cabin.


P 10 Crafting girls credit Steven JohnsonFamily Workshop: Forest Crafting

June 11-12, 2016
Cost: $175 per adult, $85 per child 4-13, free for kids ages 0-3

Explore the outdoors, make crafts out of natural found objects, and learn about your environment in this brand-new family workshop that’s sure to engage the whole family. We’ll collect plants and flowers, then build and decorate your very own plant press to take home. Learn what tree cookies can tell us about our climate over time and make crafts out of them! We’ll get our hands dirty as we create land art inspired by Andy Goldsworthy, getting up close and personal with the many organisms that thrive in the ancient forest of Opal Creek. The wilderness provides endless opportunities for creative play for visitors of all ages, while offering knowledge and insight into the intricacies of an intact old growth forest. Come explore with us!

Click here to register for Forest Crafting!

Photo credit: Steven Johnson

P 11 Cooking- Gary Randall credit

Secrets from Rebekah’s Kitchen

August 13-14, 2016
Cost: $175

Fill yourself with the comforting and delicious essence of the Jawbone Kitchen. Taught by acclaimed Jawbone cook extraordinaire, Rebekah Yglesias, you will come away feeling more connected to the spirit of the food you eat, taking Hippocrates words “let food be your medicine and medicine your food” to a whole new level. Rebekah will guide you through several favorite lodge recipes, including dosas, a gluten-free sourdough lentil flatbread with various savory fillings and sauce. This workshop will include demonstrations of Jawbone kitchen secrets and the sharing of cherished recipes collected by Rebekah during her half century of cooking.

Rebekah Yglesias grew up at the stove of her Costa Rican-born grandmother stirring and listening to the merits of chiles, beans, rice, and of course cocoa. She landed her first kitchen assistant job at the age of 11 and quickly realized her lifelong goal would be to learn not only how to make delicious food, but nutritious as well. From 2008-2015 Rebekah was food service director at Opal Creek where she developed an acclaimed menu and strong rapport with local farms.

Click here to register for Secrets from Rebekah’s Kitchen!

Photo credit: Gary Randall

P 12 Yoga workshopYoga in the Ancient Forest

September 15-18, 2016 – FULL
Cost: $395

Unplug from the busy-ness, take deep, slow breaths, and settle into the natural beauty of Opal Creek. The crystal clear waters and giant trees create the perfect environment for quieting our minds and opening our senses to the limitless wisdom of nature, both around and within us. This unique getaway will offer you a chance to deepen your movement practice and connection with your body, but also the space to rest and rejuvenate. Your experience will include five yoga sessions, many hours of free time to explore the incredible forests of Opal Creek, and an opening night Four Directions ceremony. Join us for a weekend of breath, meditation, sweet yoga and beauty. This workshop is open to all levels. It fills quickly, so reserve your space now!

Angelina Vasile has been teaching healing movement for 14 years. Her teaching combines a deep knowledge and love of Pilates, Forrest yoga, anatomy, psychology, nature and ceremony.  Classes are accessible and intelligent, gentle yet challenging. She’s skilled with all ages/stages of ability and aims to teach how to deeply connect with yourself: www.angelinavasile.com



P 12 Photo workshop - Gary Randall creditPhotography in the Ancient Forest

September 16-18, 2016
Cost: $750

Spend three days learning the digital photography methods that will allow you to capture Opal Creek’s natural beauty. Accomplished Oregon photographer Gary Randall will lead this workshop and explain camera function, composition and post processing in a relaxed atmosphere.

Classroom instruction will introduce the course, then you’ll hit the trails. The end of the day will be spent processing your work in Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop. A camera with manual adjustment and RAW file capabilities and laptop computer with Lightroom or Photoshop installed is required as Gary walks you through the complete process of creating and finishing your photographs. This class is structured for all skill levels from beginning to advanced.

Gary Randall is an Oregon-based landscape and travel photographer. His work has been published worldwide. Gary has been a digital photographer for over twelve years and a film photographer all of his life. His love of Oregon and his passion for photography come together to showcase Oregon and its beauty: www.gary-randall.com

Click here to register for Photography in the Ancient Forest!

Photo credit: Gary Randall


P 13 MixologyAncient Forest Mixology

October 8-9, 2016
Cost: $175

Join us in the woods for a one-of-a-kind experience with our favorite Portland drink experts! Combining a few of our favorite things–well-mixed cocktails and the old-growth forest in autumn–we’ll treat you to guided hikes by our Opal Creek instructors, delicious hot meals by the renowned Jawbone Flats kitchen, and a 2-hour hands-on mixology class with Merit Badge Co. Consider it your opportunity to study classic cocktails with more than a few twists.

Merit Badge owner Matt Mount has over 20 years of combined experience in the worlds of bartending, commercial distilling, cocktail classes and spirit education. With his roots now in the Northwest, he focuses on Oregon products and ingredients in his teachings.

Click here to register for Ancient Forest Mixology!



Gilled mushroom, copyright Steven Johnson 2013.

 Ancient Forest Mushrooms

October 15-16, 2016
October 22-23, 2016
Cost: $175

The forest surrounding Opal Creek produces a large diversity of mushrooms every fall. Join us as we hike through the tall trees, learning about the amazing world of mycology that holds it all together. Look high and low for the curious organisms that come in so many shapes and sizes and help the forest grow and decompose. You will enjoy looking for mushrooms, learning to identify common species, and discovering their role in the environment. Throughout the day you will learn to identify which species are edible and collect what you find, tasting them later that evening. The following day will be spent forging, and beautifully dying cloth with mushrooms. Please bring a piece of wool or silk clothing to dye, or a few dollars to purchase silk on-site. This workshop is very popular, and fills quickly, so reserve your space now!

Instructor John Villella is one of the Opal Creek watershed’s most knowledgeable ecologists, and a past Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center instructor.

Click here to register for Ancient Forest Mushrooms 1 on October 15-16!

Click here to register for Ancient Forest Mushrooms 2 on October 22-23!

Photo credit: Steven Johnson

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  1. […] myself and our two children – Al, 4 years and Auggie, 2 ½ years – attended the Amphibian Adventure Workshop last weekend through the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Our guided group consisted of about 18 […]

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