We are currently accepting applications for teaching at the 2017 Firefly Gathering.

The Firefly Gathering is for people seeking to deepen and expand their connection with the natural world. There will be over 200 classes available focusing on self-sufficiency and wilderness skills taught by over 80 masterful teachers from around the region and country. If you are interested in being one of these teachers, please fill out this application at your soonest convenience and return it to the class coordinator. I will get back to you by May 20th. The sooner that you get your application to me, the more likely you are to get a teaching slot and that I will be able to meet your desires as far as class times and subjects taught.

The Firefly Gathering is offered to the public based on a sliding scale. We are unable, due to financial constraints to pay teachers. For full and repeating instructors (teaching 3 or more classes) we have been able in the past, and anticipate being able in the future, to offer some instructors gas money, free classes, and other modest compensations. We will provide food for instructors (participants are providing their own food).

You are welcome to charge materials or class fees to help compensate you for your time. Some teachers choose not to charge materials or class fees; this is great too, as many of the attendees do not have extra money, and appreciate going to classes that don’t ask for additional funds.

The total cost of the Firefly Gathering is comparatively low, $150-400 sliding scale for adults, and $75-300 for children 8-14 (early bird prices). Because of this low cost we are anticipating that many of the attendees will be able to pay material fees, and to buy instructor made crafts. There will be several opportunities for you to sell your goods.


Class Topics

Primitive and Ancestral Skills

  • Flintknapping
  • Willow Basketry
  • White oak basketry
  • Broom making
  • Blacksmithing
  • Curing meat
  • Useful knots
  • Atl-Atl and dart making
  • Bone working
  • Cattail Hats
  • Felting – Hats or Booties
  • Fat rendering demo
  • Flint and Steel fire
  • Correct use of Tools
  • Primitive cooking
  • Primitive food storage
  • Hunting skills
  • Primitive pottery
  • Controlled burn planning
  • Respectful interaction with native cultures (how to avoid cultural appropriation)
  • Wildfoods cookery
  • Firebuilding 101
  • Wilderness awareness
  • Bowmaking
  • Curing meat
  • Trapping
  • Tracking
  • Felting – Hats or Booties
  • Trap placement walk
  • Rabbitsticks
  • Correct use of Tools
  • Primitive cooking
  • Primitive food storage
  • Hoop drum making
  • Hunting skills
  • Controlled burn planning
  • Spoon and bowl carving

Independent Living and Homesteading Skills

  • Plant Propagation
  • Blacksmithing
  • Wood carving
  • Homebrewing
  • DIY Dentistry
  • Canning
  • Forest assesment and thinning
  • Homesteading 101
  • Alternative technologies
  • Bookmaking
  • Solar Power
  • Masonry Stoves
  • Alternative technologies
  • Erosion control strategies
  • Tool sharpening
  • Soap Making
  • Rocket stoves
  • Masonry stoves
  • Bookmaking
  • Grafting
  • Simple Bike maintenance
  • Methane digesters
  • Tool sharpening
  • Garden Planning
  • Erosion control strategies
  • Simple car maintenance
  • Rainwater catchment
  • Simple bike maintenance
  • Seed saving
  • Permaculture
  • Biochar making and use
  • Forest Gardening
  • Water Systems
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Gardening by the Moon
  • Natural Building

Important Information

Following are some things that we think that you need to know before you apply:

  • We enjoy an abundance of herbalists and “plant people” in Asheville. We have several herbalists who have been teaching at Firefly for years. We are not currently able to accept applications for new herb and plant teachers. If you run a school or are a published author we may be able to make an exception. Please email classes@fireflygathering.org if this is the case.
  • Because we are limiting the size of the gathering this year we have an overabundance of super-qualified and eager instructors, so we aren’t able to bring on many new instructors with the same deal that we have been able to in the past. We are making some exceptions for super-qualified instructors, but the deal that we are giving most new instructors is that you can apply for work trade (You will likely get it if you apply April 1-10.), and your teaching counts double toward your trade; or you can pay to come, teach the number of classes that you want to teach, and we may give you a meal pass or gifts as a thank you for your classes.
  • We give trade to only 1 instructor per class. If you want to co-teach it only counts as the trade for one instructor. We have a lot of participants, and we need to accommodate them with a lot of class slots
  • We especially favor teachers who can either handle a large number (at least 15) of students in their classes learn a skill that is applicable in a life of living with the earth, or who teach hands on classes where students make something especially with natural materials that they are able to bring home. We ask that most classes accommodate at least 8 students
  • Any children that you may have under 7 for free. We have a cooperative childcare system during classes for kids 18 months to 7 years old and a kids program for kids 7-12. Older kids usually attend adult classes.
  • We have an abundance of work traders that can assist you with your materials, etc. We do not admit assistants for instructors for free. We do, however have a guest policy, through which you can choose to forgo meals and/or teach extra classes so that you might bring a guest for no additional charge. If you have questions about the guest policy please write to classes@fireflygathering.org.
  • There will be a total of 8 class sessions (2 Thursday, 2 Friday, 2 Saturday, and 2 Sunday), each instructor is expected to teach at least 3 full sessions as trade to attend. Instructors are welcome to teach more sessions, attend other classes, explore the land and creek, explore Asheville, or do whatever they care to during other class sessions. If you have a spouse, partner, or child who would like to attend please contact us to make arrangements; if you are an especially experienced instructor, are teaching extra classes, and/or need an assistant, we may be able to give you an extra admission pass as part of your compensation. Please also notify us if you have any special needs that we may be able to accommodate.
  • Firefly is growing and participants are super-eager. We have found that we have a special need for classes that can accomodate more than 12 students, classes that are directly applicable to peoples lives, or classes where folks are leaving the class with something useful and beautiful.. We welcome you to teach more if you want to.
  • Morning classes are 2.5 hours each. Afternoon classes are about 3.5 hours each. You do not have to fill this entire time. You can teach a longer, multi-session class. If you want to teach a multi-session class please note this.
  • Please let us know what classes you are excited about teaching. It is totally valid to repeat classes.

Meals and Guests

The following is our policy regarding meals and guests. Don’t expect us to make exceptions.

# of half-day classes you teach 3 (standard deal) 4 4 6
What you receive 1 ticket for yourself, 2 meals/day THU-SUN 1 ticket for yourself, no food 1 ticket for yourself, 2 meals/day Thu-Sun 1 ticket for yourself, 2 meals/day Thu-Sun
What we need from your guest $150-$400 sliding scale $50 $150-$400 sliding scale $0
What your guest receives One Guest ticket, no food One Guest ticket, no food One Guest ticket, 2 meals/day Thu-Sun 1 Guest ticket, 2 meals/day Thu-Sun
Any children age 8-12 follow the following policy:
# of half day classes you teach 3 (standard deal) 4 4 5
What you receive 1 ticket for yourself, 2 meals/day Thu-Sun 1 ticket for yourself, no food 1 ticket for yourself, 2 meals/day Thu-Sun 1 ticket for yourself, 2 meals/day Thu-Sun
What we need from your guest $75-300 sliding scale $0.00 $75-300 sliding scale $0.00
What your guest/child receives One ticket, no food One ticket, no food One ticket, 2 meals/day Thu-Sun One ticket, 2 meals/day Thu-Sun