2023 Traditional and Green Skills

Some images from the event on March, 11, 2023

The Traditional and Green Skills event is scheduled to return to Prairie Farm High School on Saturday, March 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. after a three-year COVID-enforced break. This year we are back with a full slate of 17+ speakers spread over four sessions—two in the morning and two in the afternoon. The day will be punctuated by a conversation-filled lunch hour enjoyed over bring-your-own sack lunches in the cafeteria. Beverages will be provided by the Hay River Transition Initiative. 

Come brush up on chainsaw safety, learn about foraging for wild food, gain insights on landscaping for energy efficiency, and much more. This is a unique opportunity to learn from neighbors and share our knowledge and skills as we get to know one another better. The cost is a mere $8 per person or $15 for a family of four. We are able to keep fees low thanks to Prairie Farm High School donating the space, speakers donating their time, and volunteers running the event. 

An area for local vendors will be available. Spaces may be rented for $10 by community members. Presenters will also have a vendor space available for their use.

This event is sponsored by the Hay River Transition Initiative (HRTI). We are one chapter in an international effort to be better prepared for upheaval erupting from our accelerating climate crisis, peak oil (when consumer demand exceeds supplies), and our government’s inability to adequately prepare for these challenges. The Transition Initiative lifestyle suggests that we will be better able to respond to these opportunities by getting to know our neighbors and, most critically, sharing our own survival skills as well as learning theirs. We will be stronger and more resilient as we gain this wisdom and understanding. There are no restrictions on who can join the fun. It is not required that you live close to Prairie Farm.

Let us know if you would like to volunteer to help with any of the following: 

Volunteers are free to attend classes at no charge when they are not working. If interested, contact Nancy Frank 715-651-7840.

Deep appreciation is extended to the small committee of planners who met these past winter months to ensure a successful day learning from one another and growing the strength of our community. They include: George Adams, Anna Brown, Kay Curtin, Nancy Frank, and Suzanne Gaines.

Classes for 2023

Saturday, March 11th 

Prairie Farm School 

8:00am - 4:00pm

$12 Adults

$30 Families (up to 5)

$7 Children (under 12) 

Seedsaving for the First Time!

Classroom: English    Session:1   9:30 AM-10:30 AM

Instructor: Clint Freund

Come to this workshop to learn the basics of seedsaving in your home garden or farm. Clint will cover all aspects from seed selection and growing plants to seed collection and storage. Come prepared with a variety or plant you'd like to seedsave and questions!

Introduction to Pine Needle Baskets

Classroom: History    Session:1   9:30 AM-10:30 AM

Instructor: Jill Smith

An introduction to pine needle basket making will use several varieties of pine needles to create various basket types. Demonstration of techniques to start and work baskets will be covered. Several finished baskets will be on display.

Barn Quilts of Wisconsin, History

Classroom: Art    Session:1   9:30 AM-10:30 AM

Instructor: Mary Kolstad & Michael Kolstad


Barn quilts have been making a comeback with people creating barn quilt trails and forming committees to help paint the quilts Trails are flourishing bringing back a RICH history to our state. Learn the various meanings behind the colors and patterns used. The presentation will have many photos and stories behind the families and farms that make their Barn Quilts unique. Come join in the conversational presentation.

Hard Cider and Vinegars

Classroom: FCE    Session:1   9:30 AM-10:30 AM

Instructor: Anton Ptak

We'll learn the equipment and processes necessary to take fresh apple cider through fermentation and into the bottle to enjoy as hard cider. Additionally we'll discuss fruit wines and making cider/wine vinegars either on purpose or by accident.

Building With Cordwood

Classroom: Tech Ed    Session:1   9:30 AM-10:30 AM

Instructor: Jerry Doriott

Jerry has built a cabin using the cordwood building method. He will be presenting on his method and experience.

CANCELED Using Life's Manure for (Spiritual) Growth

Classroom: English    Session:2   10:45 AM-11:45 AM

Instructor: John Samuelson

Canceled due to illness

Basics of Solar Electric

Classroom: History    Session:2   10:45 AM-11:45 AM

Instructor: Kristopher Schmid


This presentation covers the basics of solar electricity including system types, applications, components, design considerations, and costs.

Amish Traditions/Living

Classroom: Math    Session:2   10:45 AM-11:45 AM

Instructor: John Miller

Local Amish community member will talk about Amish philosophy, skills and traditions. Questions from participants will direct the discussion.

Barn Quilts of Wisconsin, How to

Classroom: Art    Session:2   10:45 AM-11:45 AM

Instructor: Mary Kolstad & Michael Kolstad


Barn Quilts are a part of our history. Even the colors and patterns have meaning. This presentation brings the history and current development of trails in Wisconsin and the Midwest to life. Included is a short demo on what goes into making your own Barn Quilt.

Raising & Keeping a Family Cow

Classroom: FCE    Session:2   10:45 AM-11:45 AM

Instructor: Isaiah Grinder

Raising from a heifer to milk cow. The hows and whys, as well as the ins and outs of small equipment.

CANCELED Growing Hemp, Opportunities & Challenges

Classroom: Tech Ed    Session:2   10:45 AM-11:45 AM

Instructor: Maranda Peltier Maureen Hoffman

Canceled due to illness

How to train your Infant to Potty

Classroom: English    Session:3   1:00 PM-2:00 PM

Instructor: Emily Pieper

What did humans do long ago regarding diapers? What about cultures with limited access to diapers? Pottying your infant is a skill used by humans to deal with the diaper dilemma. Learn what infant pottying is and in what ways parents could implement this process into their daily lives. Pottying from birth reduces laundry and waste from disposables, lessens clean-up effort of baby, and accelerates the process of potty training. We will talk about cloth diapering as well and what that means for helping you and baby with the process.

Windbreaks for Energy Efficiency and other suggestions for more sustainable living

Classroom: History    Session:3   1:00 PM-2:00 PM

Instructor: Douglas Owens-Pike

If your home is exposed to winds out of the northwest, come learn what species of trees to plant, where to plant them, and how to maintain them for the best energy saving results. We will also cover harvesting the warmth of the winter sun and other suggestions for more sustainable living.


Classroom: Math    Session:3   1:00 PM-2:00 PM

Instructor: Daniel Kuske


Buckthorn and other woodland invasives will be discussed with methods of eradication. Some financial assistance programs may be introduced.

Maple Syruping

Classroom: FCE    Session:3   1:00 PM-2:00 PM

Instructor: Marylin & Andy Humphrey


This class will cover the process of making maple syrup, from collecting sap from the the trees to putting that liquid gold in the bottle! The class will be presented by Marylin and Andy of A&M Pure Maple Syrup in Dallas.

Livestock General Animal Tech / Goat collars/ microchips, etc.

Classroom: English    Session:4   2:15 PM-3:45 PM

Instructor: Allysse Sorenson


When you walk into your barn you know your animals by sight. But in 2023 there are not only interesting technological advancements but possibly required identification of your herd. We'll look at over 10 forms of identification, including demonstration of an RFID reader. We'll review the best record keeping apps and why having these systems improves our relationships with our animals, our veterinarian, and our buyers. Virtual fencing will also be discussed from the 2022 field day.

Just Say NOPE to Plastic, how to manage your plastic footprint and quit all single use plastics

Classroom: Math    Session:4   2:15 PM-3:45 PM

Instructor: Brianna Capra


Plastic pollution may seem overwhelming, but there is much that we can do. Working together, individuals can have a profound impact. In this class we will look at several key issues and discuss real strategies for adopting a more plastic conscious lifestyle.

Qigong, Movement for Health

Classroom: Art    Session:4   2:15 PM-3:45 PM

Instructor: Mark Stuber

Slow coordinated movement exercises for better energy, circulation, balance and relaxation

Chainsaw Basics For Beginners

Classroom: Shop    Session:4   2:15 PM-3:45 PM

Instructor: Chris Koszalka

This class is designed for people who have never used a chainsaw before, or are just beginning. The class will cover: the basic operation of both gas and electric saws, the dangers of a dull or loose chain, kick back and how to avoid it. Basic principles will be covered like the concepts and physics of why a tree does what it does when you cut it, what to assess before you cut a tree that is standing or already down, the basic felling cut and wedge use. After this class, students will be better equipped to make good and safe decisions as their tree cutting skills grow.