The mission of the Porcupine Mountains Folk School is to provide a friendly, nurturing environment in the heart of a 60,000-acre wilderness, where people come to enhance their lives by learning traditional arts and skills as well as gain a deeper appreciation of the diverse natural and cultural resources found within the Porkies. When students leave the school, they will depart as members of a larger community dedicated not only to the perpetuation of these “useful arts” but also to the American tradition of parks and wilderness areas.
We invite you to join us along the shores of Lake Superior, and share in the joys of this adventure! Learn about upcoming classes.
“There can be little doubt but that many of the articles which follow in this work will appear to men who have devoted their lives to the arts and those sciences which are lost immediately connected with them, as trite and little worthy of notice. But what might seem to such persons as merely commonplace information may, perhaps, prove valuable to others, whose time may have been devoted to pursuits of a different nature.”
—Thomas Green Fessenden, The Register of Arts, 1808
The Porcupine Mountains Folk School is proudly sponsored by The Friends of the Porkies in cooperation with the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Similar to other folk schools, the primary philosophy at the Porcupine Mountains Folk School is to embrace learning for learning’s sake, an ethic rooted in the traditions of the Scandinavian “folkenhØjskole.” Classes at the Porcupine Mountain Folk School promote the preservation of knowledge, ideas, stories, arts, and skills of both the past and present, and emphasize learning through hands-on experiences, conversation, reflection, and of course, lots of practice.pic
In addition to providing lifelong learning opportunities, the Porcupine Mountains Folk School seeks to strengthen ties between the park and all citizens. Students and instructors alike are encouraged to stay at the park, take time for exploration, and draw inspiration from the surroundings during their classes. The very act of entering the park connects students to a community of people, past and present, engaged in this All-American tradition. Early park enthusiasts, like John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt, made it possible for future generations to embark on the classic family camping trip. Spending an afternoon or weekend in state and national parks has been rooted in our collective conscious as an American pastime.
All classes and programs at the Porcupine Mountains Folk School (PMFS) are guided by the following principles:
1) PMFS establishes a supportive and non-competitive environment which encourages students to become lifelong learners.
2) PMFS seeks to increase the use of the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park as a destination vacation area as well as to serve as a vehicle to introduce new users to Porcupine Mountains State Park. A major goal of the PMFS is to elevate park awareness as well as enhance visitors’ park experience. PMFS students and instructors will be encouraged to explore the park before, during, and after their class and experience the area’s natural beauty.
3) PMFS works to preserve traditional knowledge, arts, science, skills, and stories.
4) PMFS supports and promotes the concept of learning across generations.
5) PMFS is dedicated to providing opportunities for community building between students, instructors and volunteers.