HomePublicationsThe Tracker MagazineVol 1, No. 2, Feb 1982

The Tracker Magazine - Vol 1 No. 2, Feb 1982

Interview With Steve Lee

Steve, 27, grew up in the Whitney Point area of upstate New York, and is now one of Tom's head instructors. He first got involved in wilderness survival and nature study by taking a 28 day course at Brigham Young University in Utah. Following that he went to Larry Dean Olson’s school, also in Utah. Shortly afterward, at a Rabbit Stick Rendezvous Gathering in Utah, Steve met Tom for the first time. In October of 1979 Steve came to the farm in New Jersey to work for Tom as an instructor.


Interviewer: What impressed you most about Tom when you first met him?

Steve: After I talked to Tom and his instructors one thing that stuck out about him more than any other teacher or person at other schools was that he had the philosophy of blending with nature instead of fighting it.

Interviewer: what are some of your special interests?

Steve: My biggest interest is in wild edible and medicinal plants - that's what I put most of my time into - and also the different Indian and Neanderthal skills - as well as making various tools.

Interviewer: What type of tools?

Steve: From all natural materials like stone, bone, animal claws, teeth - to make tools and jewelry.

Interviewer: Please describe some tools you've made.

Steve: One particularly interesting tool I made was a beaver tooth knife - I used the whole jaw as the handle and just left the incisor as the knife blade; buckskin medicine bags for hanging around the neck; also a dog jaw knife, the lower jaws of the dog were used as the handle and a metal blade was inserted into it, and bound up with rawhide.

Interviewer: What tips would you give a person who has had a basic class from Tom, as far as working on improving their skills?

Steve: Basically the same thing Tom usually tells them - that if they want to get better at it, they've got to go out and take at least weekend trips, and try using the different skills, one at a time, leaving certain things behind, like their tent, using a leaf hut, and work into it slowly, rather than trying to do it all at once. They could get easily discouraged if they left everything behind, then they might not make out too well.

Interviewer: What about tips for those particularly interested in plants?

Steve: I think they should start at home, using their Peterson's Field Guide and start by adding some wild edibles that they're sure of the identification of, and the uses of. Try them at home first, like a couple times a week supplement their meals with them, and then when they got familiar with them, then they can try them out in the woods.

Editor’s Note: women - Steve is also single!


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