Workshops & Excursions

Boy Scout Courses

True North offers a series of workshops and excursions so that you can explore with confidence.

Check out our current list of upcoming events:

1. Workshop:  Tree Identification for Foragers

Tree North is excited to again partner with Adam Haritan of Learn Your Land to offer another invaluable and fun workshop. Whether you are a survivor, forager, or overall nature lover, you’ll learn to better understand and appreciate our natural world.

Tree identification is a fundamental skill that improves our knowledge of nature.  In this course, students will learn the basics of tree identification with an emphasis on wild edible trees.  Students will learn how to analyze various structures that are essential in tree identification including twigs, bark, branching arrangement, leaves, autumn color, and fruits.  Students will also learn about ecological relationships between trees and other organisms like fungi.  This course will also cover the importance of tree identification as it relates to reading the landscape. (For example, what do some trees tell us about the fertility of the soil?  What do trees tell us about the local geology?  What do trees tell us about past uses of the landscape?)  By the end of this course, students will have a greater appreciation for trees and the proper skill set to be able to identify unfamiliar trees.

Adam is a well regarded nature enthusiast, documenter, and faithful steward of the land in western Pennsylvania who provides workshops and classes related to plant and mushroom identification, wild food harvesting, medicinal plants, and so much more.

  • Date: Saturday, 30 September.
  • Start / End Times: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Fee: $75
  • Location: Hartwood Acres County Park (Indiana Township, Pennsylvania)
  • Minimum Age:  15 Years old when accompanied by a parent.
  • Maximum Group Size: 15
  • Minimum Group Size: The course requires a minimum of five persons to run this hike.  If we are unable to meet this size, True North will fully refund your payment with as much advance notice as possible.
  • Level of Physical Difficulty:  Easy

After registering for the course, you will receive a detailed course information sheet that will contain all of the applicable details, including exact location, driving directions, basic gear, etc.

2. Guided Day-Hike:  Laurel Highlands

The trails of the Laurel Highlands offer wonderful opportunities to experience Penn’s Woods.

This hike will explore various trails that will take us to a stunning view of a distant ridge, an alpine bog, and through swaths of mountain laurel.  Along the way, we’ll hike part of the iconic Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.  Lumbering has long been an important industry for the region, and we’ll see how that has provided some of the trails that we now use.  There will be several locations where we will stop to take note of the environment and to learn more about the area.

This hike will be approximately 7.75 miles in length, with numerous mild ascents and descents on well established trails.  Our pace will average around 2.5 miles per hour.

To register, just click above on the “Sign Up” tab for this event in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

  • Date: Sunday, 15 October 2023
  • Start / End Times: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Fee: $30
  • Location: Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania
  • Minimum Age:  15 Years old when accompanied by a parent.
  • Maximum Group Size: 10
  • Minimum Group Size: The course requires a minimum of five persons to run this hike.  If we are unable to meet this size, True North will fully refund your payment with as much advance notice as possible.
  • Level of Physical Difficulty:  Moderate

After registering for the course, you will receive a detailed course information sheet that will contain all of the applicable details, including exact location, driving directions, basic gear, etc.

3. Guided Day-Hike:  Bear Run Nature Reserve

Stands of Eastern White Pine and Hemlock!  Fabulous swaths of Rhododendrons!  Streams to cross and waterfalls to view!

This hike will explore several of the trails found at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy‘s Bear Run Nature Reserve.  While on this amazing hike, we will ascend to the highest point in the reserve and then descend along the portions of Bear Run — the same creek that you see when you visit Fallingwater — to our starting point.  There will be some climbs to get your heart going and downhills for your recovery, but, most of all, you will encounter some beautiful scenery.  We’ll even hike through an area that some refer to as an the “Emerald Forest.”  This is a hike that you will not want to miss!

On this approximately 7.5 mile hike, we will climb approximately 1, 250 feet.  The pace of this hike will be about 2-2.5 miles per hour.

To register, just click above on the “Sign Up” tab for this event in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

  • Date: Saturday, 28 October 2023
  • Start / End Times: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Fee: $30
  • Location: Mill Run, Pennsylvania
  • Minimum Age:  15 Years old when accompanied by a parent.
  • Maximum Group Size: 10
  • Minimum Group Size: The course requires a minimum of five persons to run this hike.  If we are unable to meet this size, True North will fully refund your payment with as much advance notice as possible.
  • Level of Physical Difficulty:  Moderate to Strenuous

After registering for the course, you will receive a detailed course information sheet that will contain all of the applicable details, including exact location, driving directions, basic gear, etc.

4. Guided Day-Hike:  Montour Woods

Not far from Downtown Pittsburgh, there is a marvelous place to hike and learn about several historic periods in our history.

The Hollow Oak Land Trust, located in Moon Township, manages this special place, called the Montour Woods Conservation Area.  Its trails offer the opportunity to hike along a pristine creek, climb some decent elevation, while enjoying some really, well maintained trails.

This hike will be approximately 6 miles in length, where we will ascend just under 700 feet at a pace of 2.0-2.5 miles per hour.

To register, just click above on the “Sign Up” tab for this event in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

  • Date: To be announced
  • Start / End Times: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Fee: $25
  • Location: Moon Township, Pennsylvania
  • Minimum Age:  15 Years old when accompanied by a parent.
  • Maximum Group Size: 10
  • Minimum Group Size: The course requires a minimum of five persons to run this hike.  If we are unable to meet this size, True North will fully refund your payment with as much advance notice as possible.
  • Level of Physical Difficulty:  Moderate

After registering for the course, you will receive a detailed course information sheet that will contain all of the applicable details, including exact location, driving directions, basic gear, etc.

5. Lecture:  “But It’s Just a Day-Hike” and Other Famous Last Words.

Join instructors from True North Wilderness Survival School at the Outdoor Discovery Center and its hosts from the Armstrong Center for Community Learning to learn how you can better prepare to protect yourself and others during your next outdoor adventure.  During our talk, you will learn the same approach to survival that is taught in the U.S. military, as well as key priorities, tools, and resources to consider.  It’ll also offer you the opportunity to ask questions that will expand your appreciation of the natural world around you, as well as dispel popular myths and misconceptions.

Taught by experienced professionals who have worked with a diverse array of clients, from hikers, hunters, and paddlers to First Responders, this program is designed to help you to get outside and explore with confidence.

Please note that in order to maximize your learning experience, space is limited.

To register, visit: TBA.

Here are the program details:

  • Date: To be announced
  • Start / End Times: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Fee: TBA
  • Location: Outdoor Discovery Center — 142 Kerr Road, Ford City, Pennsylvania 16226
  • Minimum Age:  13 years old when accompanied by a parent.

6. Workshop: Fire Craft – A Knee-High Fire in Five Minutes in the Pouring Rain

Join instructors from True North Wilderness Survival School at the Outdoor Discovery Center and its hosts from the Armstrong Center for Community Learning to learn how you can quickly and easily build an emergency fire in as little as five minutes, even when it’s raining!  During this hands-on program, you will learn about fire building techniques, gear, and other survival tips that will help to dispel many common myths and misconceptions.

This fun and easy program is intended, not only to help you to better protect yourself and others in the outdoors when help is delayed or unavailable, but to help you to get the most out of your next outdoor adventure.  Better yet, you’ll get the chance to enjoy the Winter afternoon sipping hot cocoa chatting with the True North and Armstrong Center staff.

Please note that in order to maximize your learning experience, space is limited.

  • Date: To be announced
  • Start / End Times: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Fee: TBA
  • Location:  TBA
  • Minimum Age:  13 years old when accompanied by a parent.
  • Group Limit: 15
  • Level of Physical Difficulty:  Easy

7. The Summit:  Alumni Appreciation Weekend

As True North celebrates more than 10 years serving clients from all around the country, our team wants to thank ALL of our terrific clients who made it possible.  So, we are hosting The Summit in the beautiful Laurel Highlands for you and a guest.  It is open to any alumni of any True North course … at absolutely no cost!

Our goal is to run this informal event as an opportunity for you to engage with other members of your outdoors community who share the same passion, be exposed to new skills (even refresh old ones), and, most importantly, have much fun in a relaxed setting.  We are planning event challenges (both solo and team); new activities (like knife and ax throwing); and even a camp cook-off!  Plus, you’ll have the chance to explore a bit on your own, whether on foot or mountain-bike.  And don’t feel like you need to stay for the entire event — you can certainly camp overnight or just spend a few hours with us.

As usual, if you just bring your needed gear and positive mental attitude, True North will work to take care of the rest!

To register, just visit our Schedule and click on the listed program date.

  • Date: To be announced
  • Start / End Times: 10:00 a.m. Saturday until 12:00 p.m. Sunday
  • Fee: Absolutely none!
  • Location: Quebec Run Wild Area
  • Level of Physical Difficulty:  Easy & Relaxed

After registering for the course, students will receive a detailed course information sheet that will contain all of the applicable details, including exact location, driving directions, basic gear, etc.

8. Workshop:  Wilderness Medicine Provider Refresher Training

You’ve received training in Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder?  That’s great, because you know that when someone is sick or injured in the outdoors simply dialing 9-1-1 isn’t always an option.  But there’s a problem … Even though the standard certification period is two years, studies have shown that most WFAs and WFRs begin to forget essential parts of their training within the first 3-6 months!  After all, first aid is a perishable skill … If you don’t use it, you lose it.

So join our instructors, who are emergency medicine professionals with substantial front-country and wilderness experience, for this 3-hour workshop designed to refresh your patient assessment and related skills, then run you through a series of training scenarios.  That way, you’ll be again ready to provide the best care anywhere!

This program is open to any trained WFA or WFR provider from any school.  Please note that this workshop does not provide recertification.

To register, just visit our Schedule and click on the listed program date.

  • Date: To be announced
  • Start / End Times: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Fee: $75
  • Location: Hartwood Acres County Park, Indiana Township, Pennsylvania
  • Minimum Age:  15 Years old when accompanied by a parent.
  • Group Limit: 10
  • Level of Physical Difficulty:  Easy

After registering for the course, students will receive a detailed course information sheet that will contain all of the applicable details, including exact location, driving directions, basic gear, etc.

9. Workshop:  The Survival Shelter – How to Keep Yourself 98.6°

Join instructors from True North Wilderness Survival School at Hartwood Acres County Park, conveniently located just fifteen minutes North of Downtown Pittsburgh, to learn how you can better deal with emergencies by crafting an emergency shelter, in as little as 30 seconds to as long as 25 minutes, that is both wind-proof, water-proof, and warm.  During this program, you will learn how to tie key knots, how to improvise shelter materials, what gear to consider, plus get a chance to ask questions and dispel common survival misconceptions.

This easy 3-hour program will be a great introduction to gaining the confidence that you need to better protect yourself and others when help is delayed or unavailable.

Please note that in order to maximize your learning experience, space is limited.

To register, just visit our Schedule and click on the listed program date.

  • Date: To be announced
  • Start / End Times: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Fee: $75
  • Location: Hartwood Acres County Park, Indiana Township, Pennsylvania
  • Minimum Age:  15 Years old when accompanied by a parent.
  • Group Limit: 10
  • Level of Physical Difficulty:  Easy

After registering for the course, students will receive a detailed course information sheet that will contain all of the applicable details, including exact location, driving directions, basic gear, etc.