Land Steward Training Program

Become a skilled steward of the land. Learn to transform degraded landscapes into healthy, biodiverse, productive habitats through ecological learning and hands-on, land stewardship practices. 

The Horn Farm Center’s signature Land Steward Training Program is designed to train the next generation of land stewards, equipping students with the applicable skills that the world needs to reverse climate change, restore broken ecosystems, rebuild lost wildlife habitat, and reconnect with our sense of place in nature.

A holistic hybrid of the HFC’s Regenerative Farmer and Woodland Steward Training Programs, The Land Steward Training Program program is an immersive learning experience focused on deep ecological literacy and practical skill-building. Students will learn to restore damaged ecosystems, produce food, and reintegrate into the landscape in a way that supports a healthy human lifestyle.

The Land Steward Training Program is underwritten by the Powder Mill Foundation.


This course is geared towards aspiring & established gardeners, farmers, landowners, activists, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. Some program participants are exploring a career in land stewardship, while many others are residents and homeowners who are looking to improve the ecology of their local communities. All participants gain a deep understanding of regenerative practices and land stewardship.

Characteristics include:

  • Experience in nurturing a perennial garden at home or community garden
  • Enthusiasm for rebuilding biodiversity and ecosystem services in a wide range of planting conditions
  • Passion for wildlife and building and stewarding habitats
  • Willingness to think critically and engage in rigorous mental and physical work

Program Details:

Both built on a 4-day core curriculum of foundational ecological education, the Horn Farm Center’s Land Steward Training Program and the Ecological Gardener Training Program offer 16 weeks of intensive training focused on skill-building for practical application of regenerative practices and restorative earth work.

Core Classroom Curriculum – (4 weeks, 7 hours per week, Mondays 8am-4pm)

Our ‘Ecological Core’ classroom curriculum helps lay a foundation and are held on Mondays from February 28 – March 21, 2022. We will engage in a broad range of concepts and theories that will stimulate questions and conversations. Our goal is to provide students with a new lens to look through when interacting with the land.

This portion of the Land Steward Training program is held in conjunction with the Ecological Gardener Training Program at the Hellam Township Administrative Building. Students will learn:

  • Basic ecology including understanding natural cycles and ecological systems
  • Historical land uses and misuses
  • Land regeneration design and implementation
  • Disturbance-based land management
  • Mapping
  • Field and forest ergonomics for human movement

Hands On Training – (12 weeks, 7 hours per week, Mondays 8am-4pm,1 week break for Memorial Day)

Following the first 4 weeks of classroom training, Land Steward Training Program classes are held on Mondays: March 28 through June 20, 2022, excluding May 30th for the Memorial Day holiday, at the Horn Farm Center.

Participants will engage in 7 hours of land stewardship training (and periodic classroom instruction) per week, for 12 weeks, from March 28 through June 20, 2022.

Field Trips – (Sundays 8am-4pm)

Students will be invited to participate in 3 off-site field trips to explore new ecotypes and skills. Although we encourage students to attend all 3 field trips, only one is required for successful completion of the course.

Field Trip Dates:

  • April 10th — rain day is the 24th
  • May 15th — rain day is the 29th
  • June 12th — rain day is the 26th

Student Toolkits

Students will each receive their own toolkit. The course is designed so that participants will gain comfort and proficiency with the use of these tools. Student toolkits includes a knife, plant ID magnifying lens and journal. Participants will be responsible for their own tools and will take their kit with them at the completion of the program


How to Enroll

We are currently accepting applications to the 2022 Land Steward Training Program now through January 31, 2021.

After we receive your application, prospective students will be contacted for an interview and Q&A session with our instructors. During this time, we explore whether the participation will be a good fit for both the student and the instructors. This will be an opportunity to ask questions about the program and discuss any accommodations you might need.

Note: If you are interested in enrolling in the both the Land Steward Training Program and the Ecological Gardener Training Program, please only fill out one application.


Topics Covered

Participants will explore ways to restore ecosystem health by applying the principles and techniques of disturbance-based forest management and agroforestry. We will practice hands-on techniques for working to restore the land.

  • Basic woodland ecology
  • Natural Movement
  • Agroforestry system design, installation, and maintenance
  • Coppicing
  • Riparian buffer design, installation, and maintenance
  • Cultivating woodland plants
  • Invasive species management
  • Designing habitat for keystone species
  • Soil Management
  • Water movement
  • Use of hand tools
  • Tree & plant identification
  • Animal tracking
  • Insect identification
  • Data collection
  • Biomimicry

About the Instructors:

Wilson Alvarez
Wilson Alvarez
Andrew Horn

Wilson Alvarez is a certified permaculture designer, inventor, gardener, skilled tracker, bowyer, nature-awareness instructor, and writer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Since 2004, he has taught classes and workshops on bio-intensive agriculture, regenerative technology, foraging, hunting, trapping, tracking, and wilderness survival. Wilson has studied at the Wilderness Awareness School via the Kamana program, and he received his Permaculture Design Certificate through Susquehanna Permaculture.

Born in York County, Andrew Horn earned his Business Management degree from Shippensburg University. After graduation, Andrew traveled with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) to New Zealand, where he lived and learned on organic farms. Captivated by his experience, Andrew wanted to continue his journey in small-scale agriculture and sought to find a place where he could apply, develop and learn new skills. He found the Horn Farm Center through an Introduction to Permaculture class. Since successful completion of the Farming Internship, Andrew has pursued his exploration of a career in farming as the Farm Manager at the Horn Farm Center. He runs the Community Supported Agriculture Program and guides participants through hands-on instruction in the Land Steward Training Program.