Land Steward Training Program

~ 2024 Applications Closed ~

NOTE: the 2024 Ecological Gardener Training Program is still accepting applications up to Monday, January 22nd at 12PM EST. Stay tuned for updates about the Horn Farm Center’s 2025 immersions.

Foster deep ecological literacy and hands-on skills in this 16-week immersive training program at the Horn Farm Center.

Our signature Land Steward Training Program (LSTP) inspires versatile, compassionate, and activated caretakers of the Earth, equipping students with the skills our world needs to heal broken ecosystems, rebuild lost habitat, mitigate climate change, and reawaken our sense of place in nature. 

The 2024 LSTP will take place over 16 weeks from February to May, broken down below:

Ecological Core Curriculum

Consecutive Sundays, February 11th to March 3rd, 2024

Held in conjunction with the Ecological Gardener Training Program, this blended curriculum covers essential ecological foundations for regenerative land practices. Students are given the opportunity to explore new lenses for seeing and interacting with natural systems.

Hands-On Training

Consecutive Tuesdays, March 5th to May 21st, 2024

Sessions in the Horn Farm’s woodlands and fields covering topics in disturbance-based forest management and agroforestry.

View the packet below for full program details

including content coverage, outcomes, calendar, and costs.

How to Enroll

To begin, complete the application below:

After your application has been submitted and reviewed, you will receive an email to schedule an informal get-to-know-you meeting with the instructor. Following the meeting, you will be sent a registration link to submit a non-refundable deposit and enroll in the program. Field any questions to

2024 Payment and Scholarships

NEW YEAR, NEW ADVENTURE SPECIAL: discounted cost of $1325 for applications received before January 1st, 2024 ($100 off).

$1,425/person for applications received after 12AM on January 1st, 2024.

$200 non-refundable deposit to enroll.

Broken down, program cost equates to $89 per week (~$83/week special pricing) for 16 weeks of classroom and field education at a 1:12 instructor-to-student ratio.

Payment plans are available and will be communicated with participants after enrollment. Ample scholarships are available and will be awarded on a rolling basis, so apply soon for the highest chance of receiving financial support. Optional scholarship questions are included in the application. If you are concerned that the program cost is prohibitive for you, we still encourage you to submit an application and apply for scholarship support. It’s highly possible we can meet your need and make the program accessible for you.

Please review the Horn Farm Center’s Cancellation and Refund Policy and Program Waiver before submitting an application.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is a good fit for the LSTP?

The LSTP is designed as an immersive introduction: the program digs deep into the concepts and practices of regional ecological stewardship while remaining accessible for all experience levels. Some participants arrive with prior knowledge and experience such as teaching, volunteering, advocacy, agriculture, or academic work, while others are entering the world of environmental stewardship for the first time. Past participants have included: 

  • Homeowners and volunteers exploring yard, field, and woodland restoration.
  • Career first-timers, pivoters, part-timers, and gap year students seeking a transformative immersion and/or applicable experience for entering the environmental workforce.
  • Non-traditional learners and environmental advocates interested in naturalism and deepening their sense of place in nature.
  • Parents and environmental educators studying land-based skills and knowledge to practice and share with future generations.

The LSTP is a good fit for anyone seeking to learn about how they can make a positive impact in the natural environment. No prior knowledge or experience is needed! 

Can I take the LSTP while working full time?

Every employer is different in terms of their flexibility and willingness to accommodate, but many past LSTP trainees have participated successfully while maintaining a full-time job. Past solutions have included flexing or reducing hours, using paid days off, and/or communicating the merits of program participation to an employer. For those currently employed in environmental organizations–land conservancies, public parks/rec, extension services, academics, etc.–there is precedent in our program for trainees being permitted to claim employee development hours.

Of course, we acknowledge that employer accommodation for a commitment like this is not universal. We are happy to provide employers with enrollment verification and program credentials if necessary.

What are the physical expectations for the LSTP?

Work sessions in the LSTP can be physically demanding, requiring a decent measure of health and endurance. However, all work sessions take place in a team setting, with plenty of space for support and hand-off. Trainees will not be asked to do any task that is above their skill-set or comfortability. If a trainee is feeling unsafe, unsure, or unprepared at any point, communication is key and always encouraged. Following the first four-weeks of the Ecological Core Curriculum, which is held in a classroom setting, most training days consist of both sit-down learning and hands-on work sessions.

Generally speaking, all trainees should be able and prepared to do the following throughout the LSTP:

  • Walk on uneven and/or sloping terrain for long durations.
  • Independently lift up to 50lbs.
  • Perform moderate- to high-intensity exertions including digging, raking, sawing, and lifting heavy natural objects like logs and rocks, both individually and in groups.
  • Use manual tools (proper techniques and safety will be thoroughly covered and revisited). Tools include hand pruners, loppers, handsaws, mattocks, hoes, axes, sledgehammers, and broadforks.

As a way to address these physical demands, the LSTP includes built-in functional movement sessions for warm-up/down, injury prevention, and acclimating the body to new stresses and loads. Regenerative land stewardship requires physical resilience, so we take care to provide these regenerative movement sessions to counteract the pressures of field work.

What is covered under the program cost?

Instructor hours, program supplies, trainee t-shirts, and take-home tool kits are all covered under the program cost. Broken down, the LSTP costs $89 per week (~$83/week E-B pricing) for 16 weeks of classroom and field education at a 1:12 instructor-to-student ratio.

How can I pay for the LSTP?

Payment begins when you submit a nonrefundable $200 deposit to enroll in the program. You will receive a link to make this payment and confirm enrollment after completing an informal get-to-know-you meeting with the instructors. We also accept cash or checks if preferred.

After enrolling, there are two options for payment:

  1. Payment in full.
  2. Installment payments through our recommended payment plan, which consists of three installments in January, March, and May. This comes out to ~$408.33 per installment (or $375 for early-bird registrants) if not receiving a scholarship. We also offer customized payment plans if needed

A link to submit these payments will be shared with participants after their enrollment.

Any checks should be made payable to “Horn Farm Center Training Programs” while listing relevant details (LSTP deposit, first installment, etc.) in the memo.

Are scholarships available?

Thanks to the Peterman Family Foundation, scholarship funds are available for participants who may benefit from a reduced program cost. To be considered for a scholarship, please fill out the “scholarship” section of your program application. Funds will be distributed based on justification of need, existing barriers, and investment in the program. Note that, per the Horn Farm Center’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ applications will be prioritized.

If the program cost is prohibitive to your participation and a scholarship is the only way you’d be able to enroll, please let us know in your scholarship application, including, if possible, an estimate of how much financial coverage would enable you to pay for the program. 

Scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis, so apply as soon as you can for the highest chance of receiving support. At this time, no scholarship award will exceed 25% of the program cost, except in unique circumstances.

What does the application process entail, and how do I apply?

Apply to join the 2024 Land Steward Training Program by completing this form.

After you complete and submit your application, you will receive an email from the program instructor to schedule an informal get-to-know-you meeting where you’ll discuss your interests, goals, and needs.

Following your meeting with the instructor, you will receive an email from our program coordinator including a welcome message and a link to submit a nonrefundable $200 deposit. The deposit is required in order to officially enroll.

Applications must be received by 11:59PM on Sunday, December 31st, 2023 in order to take advantage of our NEW YEAR, NEW ADVENTURE $100 off special. The application window to join the 2024 Land Steward Training Program CLOSES at 11:59PM on Sunday, January 14th, 2024.

I’m new to the Horn Farm Center. Where can I learn more?

Welcome to our landscape! A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the mission of the Horn Farm Center is to foster learning through ecological land stewardship, experiential education, and community partnership. Many LSTP trainees come to us from having prior experience taking a weekend class, volunteering, or joining an annual event like our Plant Sale or Pawpaw Festival. Some are just connecting with the Horn Farm Center for the first time. Wherever you may fall in our ecosystem, the best way to digest the full scope of our mission, history, philosophy, and restorative land impact is by exploring our virtual tour.

Get to Know a Trainee!

Tyler S (2021)

Founder & Owner: Restoring Creation Land Care

How are you using your training program experience in your personal or professional life?

“When I was taking the Land Steward Training Program in 2021, the instructor, Wilson, said that someone could make this work their full time job. I started my company, Restoring Creation Land Care, about 9 months later. I took the Ecological Gardener Training Program in 2022 to learn more about native plants and ecological design. Both have helped me in my practice of organic land management. I utilize and build on skills and knowledge I learned at the Horn farm every day when working for my clients.“

How has taking a Horn Farm training program been a valuable experience for you?

“I really think more people can get involved in helping heal our land from over-development and neglect, and the Horn Farm Center is a great place to get started on that journey! During my time in the Land Steward Training Program, we got to build several bridges (one out of stone), walking trails, steps using logs, a small pond, and many other cool projects. It was a lot of fun, while learning so much cool information at the same time.”

Amanda F (2023)

Co-Founder & Executive Director: Widoktadwen Center for Native Knowledge

How are you using your training program experience in your personal or professional life?

“I’ve been looking into the possibility of land stewardship as a social enterprise to support our nonprofit mission. It serves a two-fold purpose, to have a hand in stewarding our urban woodlands to address stormwater issues, and training others in my community in how to steward healthy urban ecosystems.”

How has taking a Horn Farm training program been a valuable experience for you?

“I can’t overstate the value of learning in a cohort of like-minded folks. Seeing what we could accomplish together has been truly inspiring and reminds me of the hope for healed landscapes through the collective power of compassionate and diligent land stewards. I also learned that I’m capable of far more impact than I ever imagined!”

Maricruz C (MC)

Local Vegetable Grower

How are you using your training program experience in your personal or professional life?

“I have found that the knowledge shared with me through these two training programs has permeated every aspect of my life in the best possible way. I am more attuned and aware of myself, how I walk on this earth, and our place in the web of life. I have come out more hopeful and deeply touched by the love and passion for earth that was evident in all of my peers.”

How has taking a Horn Farm training program been a valuable experience for you?

“The training programs are a valuable experience because they are well-rounded in fostering connections with nature through the mind, body, and spirit. While teaching you the basics of ecology and rekindling a child-like curiosity about the natural world, you also learn how to do the physical work that exercises your body, like clearing trails and planting hundreds of seedlings. The community aspect of the program allows you to connect with like-minded folks who care deeply about the earth and are committed to doing the work too.”

About the Instructors:

Wilson Alvarez

Wilson Alvarez

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 studied at the Wilderness Awareness School via the Kamana program, and he received his Permaculture Design Certificate through Susquehanna Permaculture.

Andrew Horn

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 (CSA) Program and guides participants through hands-on instruction in the Land Steward Training Program.