Episode 39: The Earth Caretaker Way (with Tim Corcoran)

Turning Season Podcast Episode 39 with Tim Corcoran hosted by Leilani Navar turningseason.com

How to become an Earth Caretaker? If you can, one way to start is to “get off your butt and get out in the woods,” as Tim Corcoran has been known to say, and his young students love to quote. Hear about many other good starting places and ways to walk the path in this conversation. 

It’s a fun and rich one, including Tim’s own fascinating life story of connecting with nature and with Earth Caretaking people, closeness with animals, and 30 years of running Headwaters Outdoor School, where Tim teaches nature connection, wilderness skills, and earth philosophy.

Click Play above to hear about:

  • The Earth Caretaker Way, a life-changing, wise, comprehensive new book written by Tim Corcoran and Julie Boettler
  • Tim’s story of finding the land that would become Headwaters Outdoor School (it’s truly multidimensional)
  • the diverse groups of young people who’ve come to Headwaters
  • Tim’s take on ancestors of place, and our biological ancestors who were Earth Caretakers
  • why he believes humans are supposed to be here, and why he has hope right now.

Learn more:

Turning Season Podcast brings you heartening doses of Active Hope in this Great Turning toward life-honoring, life-sustaining ways of being human. Each episode invites you into conversation with someone who is participating in the Great Turning in their own unique way. You’ll hear about what they do, why they do it, and how they’re relating to these times we’re in. This show is for you if you’re aware of our multiple crises, feel your love for life on earth, and care about cultivating ways of life we can believe in, making a life-honoring present, even in the face of an uncertain future. Hosted by Leilani Navar, facilitator of the Work that Reconnects, acupuncturist, herbalist and dreamworker.

Today’s conversation is with Tim Corcoran, who runs Headwaters Outdoor School in Mt. Shasta, California. Tim has been transforming lives for 30 years, by bringing children and adults to the camp there, teaching nature awareness, wilderness skills, and earth philosophy. He’s written a new book called the Earth Caretaker Way, co-written with Julie Boettler.

Tim traces his own connection to Earth peoples philosophy to his Irish heritage, as taught to him by his uncle and grandfather. He knew at 6 years old that the woods were his home, and at seventeen he spent four months alone in the Canadian Wilderness practicing Earth living skills. Tim began a career teaching wildlife conservation in 1974. During this time, he learned how to communicate with the spirits of the animals he worked with, enhancing his abilities to connect on an intimate level with them.

He has worked at the Alberta Game Farm in Alberta, Canada as an animal caretaker, the Crandon Park Zoo in Miami Florida as an animal relocation director, and Marine World Africa U.S.A. as a chimpanzee and elephant trainer. (You may have glimpsed Tim and his elephant in Star Wars, where he was a Tuskan raider on the back of his elephant, costumed as a bantha.)

Tim co-founded the Native Animal Rescue in Santa Cruz, California, rescuing and releasing injured wildlife. He created Headwaters Outdoor School in Mount Shasta, California in 1992, to realize his lifelong vision of sharing what he has learned from nature, and to inspire people to discover their own personal relationship with nature. Tim teaches outdoor living skills, and Earth Philosophy to kids and adults.

Tim is also an accomplished professional nature photographer and has published a series of nature photography books highlighting sacred places in nature. Tim has recently founded The Earth Caretaker Way Movement LLC, with the intention of uniting a global community of Earth Caretakers to save wild spaces, and create wildlife refuge within every environment, including urban settings. Tim lives with his wife, Jean, and their pack of dogs on an amazing refuge of wooded land in Mount Shasta, California where he runs Headwaters Outdoor School and The Earth Caretaker Way Movement.

Leilani Navar