About First Earth

The name First Earth represents a time when humankind walked in balance with the earth, as a member of the natural community. Learning the ancient ways can re-awaken our awareness of how little we really need to live, and be mentally, physically and spiritually nourished by that knowledge. Recognizing the sacred gift of our food plants and animals, simply even living outside and sleeping under the stars can re-aquaint us with the miracle of "the spirit that in moves in all things", and help guide us toward a healthier relationship with our world.

The recent fad/craze of TV (non) reality survival shows has introduced a new generation to these skills, and has produced a slew of new survival schools and instructors, some with a disturbing trend - no ethical concern for the possible impacts of their activities. With a larger segment of the population engaging in the collection of plants and animals while learning bushcraft and wilderness skills, it is imperative that we always choose to minimize our impacts to the flora & fauna in our already-struggling wild areas.  

Bo Brown with a thistledown-fletched blowgun dart.Chief Jim Fire Eagle

First Earth's Founder and Director, Bo Brown, has been teaching primitive skills since 1992, has worked as a wildlife/avian field biologist since 1985, was Associate Director with Ozark Center for Wildlife Research for it's 15-year history, was a naturalist for MO Dept. of Conservation in Branson MO for 9 years, and is still active in contract fieldwork. His career has taken him all over the U.S./Central America and has provided a wealth of natural history knowledge. While playing music at Silver Dollar City near Branson MO in 1978, Bo and backpacking buddy Don Brink struck up a friendship with tribal chief and medicine man Jim Fire Eagle during a crafts festival. His knowledge of flintknapping, useful plants and native woodlore set them both afire to learn, their backpack trips evolved into opportunites to expand and hone those skills.
"Knowledge is incomplete till it's passed on" - Jim Fire Eagle.
After seeing their books, Bo & Don spent a few days in 1992 with renowned wilderness skills authors John & Geri McPherson to pick up what they could about starting a school. Armed with that guidance, they co-founded Red Willow Primitive Skills, Inc., teaching workshops at Bo's property on the Niangua River. First Earth Wilderness School was an outgrowth of that collaboration after Don left to pursue a career in outdoor youth rehabilitation. Today, they co-host the annual Bois D' Arc Primitive Skills Camp & Knap-In at Hulston Mill on the last weekend of September. Currently, Bo presents primitive skills, nature awareness, and foraging programs for schools, museums, and nature centers around the country, including weekly skills programs and edible plant walks at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park near Blue Eye MO. He instructs at several large primitive skills gatherings around the country, and assists John McPherson with his 2-week training courses for Army Special Forces SERE School survival instructors. He is also a professional musician, performing locally and nationally in several area bands.