Thriving Roots Wilderness School teacher Daniella Roze

Thriving Roots brings ‘rewilding’ movement into Saanich

New Saanich-based Thriving Roots Wilderness School brings adults, kids into nature

Most mornings start the same for Daniella Roze, who finds a place in nature to meditate on life and the day ahead. But she doesn’t need to travel far.

Nature, in this instance, is the lush urban forest of Summit Park, the gem of a green belt situated beside the Summit water reservoir off Finlayson and Cook streets, a scant hike up the hill from Roze’s Fernwood home.

“When people are living close to the land and community, something magical happens: that’s where I’ve met the happiest people I’ve met in my whole life.” Roze says. 

During the day, Roze – who spent five years of her adult life living without electricity or running water – relocates to her office, an untainted enclave of West Saanich where she launched                     Thriving Roots Wilderness School in September.

Thriving Roots offers short- and long-term wilderness living courses for kids eight and over and adults. An upcoming nine-week adult nature immersion is seeing strong interest, says Roze, who has spent a lifetime learning how to live off the land.

(Inset photo: Thriving Roots Wilderness School’s Daniella Roze, far right, with fellow adventurers during a month of isolation living with hand made tools and clothes in the nature of Eastern Washington.)

She’s immersed herself for six months in West African tribal living as a 19-year-old, and more recently, spent four years in a hand-built, remote cabin in the Comox Valley without power and water. She and her fellow adventurers called themselves the Red Alders.

“Gathering water and food on a daily practice brings a sense of joy and fulfillment and passion to people’s lives,” she says. “It was from my time spent in rural areas that I connected with nature and felt my life’s purpose was to share this with people, this deep connection that comes from learning how to live from the land.”

The response has been stronger for the long term programs than it has for the single day events, though Roze is equally excited to offer a Sacred Fire Workshop on Sunday, and a study of nourishing wild winter plants on Dec. 21.

Roze takes pride in helping others build a “relationship with the natural world and re-connect the part of ourselves which has an innate need to be in the wilderness. … Through nature, people have an amazing capacity for healing and becoming a thriving, fuller human being,” she says.

The adult nature immersion program runs on Sundays starting Jan. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a focus on the basic skills to craft the tools and clothes necessary to survive in the wild, as well as hunting and gathering skills.

Students will also visit the ocean and harvest foods there, such as seaweed and other herbal medicines, Roze says.

“Wilderness schools are part of the rewilding movement that’s growing. Wilderness skills are part of community building that help us to become really alive, and fully furnishes (lesser used) parts of ourselves.”

Roze also runs a weekly program for home-schooled children, just as she did on Cortes Island before relocating here. Before that she worked at Twin Eagles Wilderness School in Idaho and attended a wilderness school for a year.

She once spent four months with an immersion group building tools and clothes necessary to live by the wild, which they then did for one month.

For more information, visit thrivingroots.org.

Did you know?

Roze’s house mate from the Red Alders group is Miles Olson, who wrote the well-received 2012 book Unlearn, Rewild: Earth Skills, Ideas and Inspiration for the Future Primitive.

Thriving Roots’ nine-week adult immersion program runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Sundays from Jan. 11 to March 8. Course price is $400 and the class meets at The Yurt, 5990 Old West Saanich Rd.

reporter@saanichnews.com