Classes & Workshops

Outdoor Skills, Wilderness Survival, Self-Reliance, & Emergency Preparedness

After closing our survival school several years ago, my wife Denise and I have missed teaching. We have been guest instructors at various survival events around the country, but we desire to do more teaching but without running a full time survival school. 

Therefore we have decided to do local classes, workshops, and seminars to pass on our lessons learned. Oftentimes, people cannot attend a full weekend or extended survival school. However, they still want to learn outdoor skills, wilderness survival, and self-reliance. In order to accommodate these type of students our classes and workshops will be between 2 to 4 hours in duration, and some will last a full day. They will occur at various locations, in the Dutchess County, New York area, and will be listed at the time the class or workshop is scheduled. Duration of class or workshop will be listed under the schedule, which can be found at the end of this page.     

We have enjoyed teaching larger groups such as these students at a Dirttime Gathering in the Sierra Nevada's in
California. However, we look forward to teaching smaller classes again, whereby a lower instructor to student
ratio allows us to provide more individual attention to each student.

The classes we offer will provide instruction on Outdoor Skills, Wilderness Survival, Self-Reliance, and Emergency Preparedness. Below we provide descriptions of the various classes and workshops we offer. When they are available, we will post them under the "Schedule" section below. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly.


John D. McCann

After running his own survival school for many years, it was closed due to the commitment to the sales division of Survival Resources. John has continued to teach at various survival gatherings around the country. He first started teaching when he was a Drill Instructor with the United States Marine Corps and has continued teaching in various venues since that time. He has written eight books to include "Build the Perfect Survival Kit" now in second edition and the first book ever written exclusively  on survival kits, "Stay Alive! Survival Skills You Need," "Practical  Self-Reliance - Reducing Your Dependency On Others," and "Bug-Out -  Reality vs, Hype." He has also written articles for various magazines, to include Field & Stream, the American Survival Guide, and has been on the cover of Wilderness Way magazine. He has also been featured in an article in the New York Times, and appeared on national television as a guest on the Martha Stewart Show, showing how to make a survival kit.

Denise McCann

Originally from Switzerland, Denise is an avid outdoors person, who has often hiked the Swiss Alps and backpacked for weeks into the Grand Canyon. Denise will live in the woods, with next to nothing, at the drop of a hat and was an instructor at the Survival Resources Survival School when it was operational. Our students truly appreciated her as an instructor, as she brought a different perspective to those courses. Denise was featured on the cover of the New York Times Escape Section when they featured an article about our courses. It should be noted that Denise also has over 16 years as a teacher in home economics, specializing in cooking, When we had the Survival School, she obviously became our excellent field chef. She is well rounded in the ways of self-reliance and can garden as easily as making bread from scratch. She is a true asset to Survival Resources!

Click here for Schedule of Classes & Workshops


The following are some of the classes and workshops we offer.


This is great introductory class for those who are new to using a map & compass, or for those who want to refresh their basic skills. A lot of people are going into the outdoors today with only a GPS unit. Unfortunately they can fail, the batteries can go dead, and there are areas where they just don't work. This will be a 4 hour class that will introduce you to using both a map and compass effectively. You will learn how to read a map and learn how to orient a map with a compass. Students will participate in various compass exercises so that they will become proficient using a compass.


Fire is an essential skill in a survival situation. It can provide heat, light, water purification, dry wet clothes, be used for signaling, cooking, provide comfort, and is a morale builder. We have often seen people taught how to start a fire, but not build one. This class will provide instruction on the different ways to start a fire using various means. It will include the use of different types of tinder, as well as the type of material you will need to keep that fire going, once it is started. Although primitive fire starting techniques will be discussed, they will not be taught in this basic class.


In an emergency situation, a shelter is a priority in order to regulate your core body temperature and protect you from the environment. During this class we will show how to make various Immediate Action Shelters with minimal effort using those items you have with you. We will also discuss Improvised Shelters which can be constructed using a combination of items you have with you and natural material found in the outdoors. When possible, students will build an Improvised shelter from natural material.


Water is the key to survival. During this class we will discuss various water sources to include surface water, precipitation, subsurface water, and solar stills. We will setup a Transpiration Bag and learn the negative qualities of an in ground solar still. Water Preparation will be discussed and demonstrated to include Filtering and Purification. We will discuss boiling water, chemical treatment, and demonstrate various filters and purifiers.


An important activity is a survival situation is the ability to signal those who might be trying to locate you. We will discuss various signaling methods to include fire, signal whistle, signal mirror, ground-to-air signals, and misc. signals. A signal whistle demonstration will show the various strengths of signal available in different whistles, and improvised whistles will be demonstrated. All students will work with a signal mirror to learn various techniques.


John is the author of the first book ever written dealing exclusively with building a survival kit, "Build the Perfect Survival Kit" now in the 2nd Edition. When you travel, whether into the woods, on the water, or just to another town, a Survival Kit is your insurance that if something goes wrong, you will have the basics with you to survive. We will discuss the basics of building a survival kit to include the 4-P's. Components will be addressed based on those functions you will have to perform in an emergency situation. This class will teach you how to build your own survival kit, ensuring that you have those components necessary for your survival. We encourage students to bring their own survival kits, if they already have one, and we can analyze their completeness.


This class will include a walk in order to identify wild plants, some which are edible, medicinal, and have other uses in an emergency situation, such as being used as tinder for a fire, or making cordage. This class will require some walking on the part of students and they should wear comfortable hiking footwear and bring water with them. We will take our time on this walk and discuss the various attributes of those plants we find.


This is a hands-on workshop where students will be taught to make cordage in the field using various plants. They will learn how to process the plants and then actually make cordage with it. We will also cover how to make cordage using various discarded man-made items often found in the field. This is a fun class and you get to take a skill, and what you produced with that skill, with you when you leave.


This class will show various way to cook using the sun. Different types of solar cookers and ovens will be discussed and demonstrated. Students will make a simple solar oven using a cardboard box. Food cooked will be shared by students. Of course this class will require a sunny day and will be cancelled for a poor weather forecast.


When it comes to emergency preparedness, some people might be prepared with some supplies, but are they really prepared to survive?  When the power goes out, will you have light, the ability to cook, or food for several days, or longer. During this seminar we will discuss how you can be prepared when disaster strikes. What supplies you should have on hand, how to store water, hygiene and toilet alternatives, and more. If you have to leave, do you have an "Evacuation Bag" or "Bug-Out Bag" ready to go. If you are at work, do you have a "Get-Home" bag? These topics will be discussed as well.


This is a full day workshop. We will provide hands-on instruction for starting and building a fire, knife selection and use, emergency signaling techniques, basic use of a map and compass, survival shelter building, water collection and purification, wilderness hazards, and more. Wear clothes that can get dirty, have appropriate footwear, and bring a lunch. This is a fun workshop!


This is a full day hands-on Workshop. We will learn to read and orient a map. Practice exercises will be conducted in order for students to become comfortable and accurate with using a compass in the field. More advanced exercises will be conducted whereby students will be required to navigate from one point to another, then change their bearing and navigate again. Flags will be hidden which students will be required to find using a specified bearing. This is a fun class. Come dressed appropriate for the field and bring a lunch.


We are available for special presentations or seminars for groups such as Boy Scout Troops or other organizations. These can be lecture type presentations or can include actual classes or workshops. Please contact us personally to discuss your specific needs.

Click here for Schedule of Classes & Workshops