Image from the Earth Caretaker Way book.Image from the Earth Caretaker Way book.Image from the Earth Caretaker Way book.

The Earth Caretaker Way

By Tim Corcoran & Julie Boettler

The Earth Caretaker Way educates people on what it is to be an Earth Caretaker in our everyday lives. Through stories, nature awareness, wilderness skills, and Earth philosophy it helps to inspire people to start Earth Caretaker groups, and to get involved with a community of people dedicated to keeping our Earth healthy.

A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the book will go to The Earth Caretaker non-profit in support of the education and preservation of our land and waters, and all who live here.

A photo of Tim Corcoran.

Tim Corcoran, born in 1954 in San Francisco, California, developed a deep connection to his Irish heritage and Earth's philosophy from a young age. His passion for wilderness living led him to spend four transformative months alone in the Canadian Wilderness at seventeen.

Inspired by the teachings of Tom Brown Jr., Tim founded Headwaters Outdoor School in 1992 to share his profound connection with nature and inspire others to discover their own. Today, he continues to advocate for environmental stewardship and the preservation of Earth's ecosystems.

A photo of Julie Boettler.

Julie Boettler grew up in the California East Bay Area as a competitive swimmer and coach, and ran her own childcare. Thriving in the outdoors, Julie came to Headwaters Outdoor School in 2001, and joined the staff in 2005 as the land caretaker, school manager, teacher, and camp cook.

She has been a professional artist, and is now sharing her art throughout the Headwaters Forest Sanctuary Gardens. Julie lives in her forever mountain home with her dogs, stewarding the beautiful Headwater’s land as an Earth Caretaker.


I loved the book so much. It moved me. The Earth Caretaker Way is much more than a collection of magical stories. It's full of wisdom and compassion. Advice that comes from the mind and heart of Tim Corcoran. The words seem to unfold decades of a life connected to nature. A love affair between man and planet. Perhaps a millennia of a deep meaningful relationship between human kind and our beautiful planet. With so many hectic and cynical thinsin our fast life, this book is a compass. A simple and honest light that I enjoyed reading, and Im sure everyone would

Amit D.
Wildlife Expert at UCLA

This book is a potent and meaninful roadmap to rebuilding a personal relationship and sense of belonging with the Earth. The Earth Caretaker Way creates a strong foundation for why we need to be taking better care, and stepping up and being a part of the change that our world needs to see

Zander Balthasar
Wildlife Expert at UCLA

This book is a game changer! I work as an outdoor educator and am always eager to learn from other peoples point of view. The authors of this book have laid out all writings in a really easy to understand manner with beautiful wordings and teachings. I recommend this book to every human living on this planet. Any page you flip to, you will learn something. You won't regret the read!

TJ Putnam
Wildlife Expert at UCLA

Introduction to an Earth Caretaker

By Jean Sage

The first time I saw Tim Corcoran was next to a pond in Santa Cruz, California. I had signed up for a plant class, not that I was particularly interested in edible plants, but I had heard he taught nature classes and took students into wilderness areas. He was wearing what I considered a “Grizzly Adams” type outfit: tan shorts, tan short-sleeve work shirt, and tan leather hat. As I got out of my car and meandered over logs to meet him, I thought huh!?

It was the wilderness areas that interested me, and various incidences and experiences unnatural to my New York City profession in media, and my type A personality, that led me to him.

Tim walked too slow for me. Wandering the fields and forests of Santa Cruz that day, slowly identifying edible plants, animal scat, and animal tracks exhausted me. We camped that evening on a nearby beach. The ocean’s lullaby, the stars, the smell of the fire, and his talk about nature as the true teacher captivated me. As my blood pressure dropped, my energy increased.

I inquired about other classes, and he suggested the January winter class in Mount Shasta. I thought how perfect. If I could manage winter,I would love summer, so I signed up.

I was perfectly ill-prepared for winter. The first night after pitching my tent on the Shasta land in the middle of a rainstorm, I went to the small roundhouse for the night’s meeting. There were mostly young men in their early twenties signed up, excited for a winter adventure with Tim. I was forty-four with bad boots, limited, warm clothing, but lots of hand warmers that saved my life.

Two helpers walked me back to my tent, and as I unzipped the front door flap, I let fly a, “What the f…” as the tent had about 2 inches of water inside. It was then I learned about sealing tent seams. Nature’s winter almost got the better of me, and would have, if not for Tim and the guys. If one can allow fear to be the door to opportunity, I won the lottery.  

Tim’s winter class was magic. I learned how to build a shelter in the rain that would keep me relatively warm. I learned how to gather and dry leaves, pines needles and ferns by putting them next to my skin, behind the clothing layers, to later use to start a fire.

Above Bunny Flat, seven thousand feet up on Mt. Shasta, where we spent 3 days in the snow building snow caves, to spend our nights in, and snowshoeing through the white terrain to study animal tracks, I had my second exquisite connection with the natural world. Tim emphasized the basics of how to care for ourselves in nature, which was vital for our safety, but also to connect in our own personal way with the heart of Earth. Which can be a transcendent and spiritual experience that transforms and heals.

Because I had very little upper body strength my snow cave was a snow coffin. As I tried to put my sleeping bag and pad into the “thing”, my head hit the ice and my feet the other end. All I could think of was being in the morgue in one of those drawers they put the deceased in. Before the sun had set, I had my tent set up facing the West. I had my pad laid with a few wool blankets, a pillow, my wonderfully warm sleeping bag, due to hand warmers on my chest, back, feet, and on my head under my hat, and it was paradise.

I was awakened by a shake on my shoulder before dawn but was puzzled as I was alone. The creeping light beckoned me to unzip the tent fly. I watched with amazement, awe, and gratitude, as the rising sun behind me painted the Eddy Mountains in front of me. This scene still leaves me without adequate words to describe it. As Tim would say, “This was for me and me alone.”

Once touched by a transcendent moment in nature, the human spirit craves more. I have now spent many years with Tim. We have been to the Marble Mountain Wilderness on marvelous classes tracking bears in the early mornings. I did a four-day vision quest there that literally changed my life, and eventually brought Tim and I together.

Tim often says I was his worst student, and I don’t deny it. I wasn’t interested in the wilderness skills; I eventually had him todo those things for me when we got married. What I discovered when I could slowdown, is that the earth does speak to us, and she did to me. I can’t remember where I read that the earth needs us just as much as we need the earth, but I truly feel this.

Tim was put on this earth to immerse people in nature:to encourage them to climb trees, to get muddy, to swim in the freezing waters of the creek at dawn, to sleep in different spots on the land each night under the stars, to feel the energy of the trees, and to lay on the land to feel the Earth’s heartbeat.

The Earth Caretaker Way is his love song to Earth. It is a guide on how to provide for oneself in nature, so that fear of the unknown becomes an opening to deepen one’s spiritual connection to the unitive forces of this incredible earth, and universe. Sitting alone in nature whether on a vision quest or alone, even for a few hours, shapeshifts our attentions from me to the grander we.

Tim talks about his pilgrimage to the wilderness. He writes that, “To pilgrimage to a place in nature is one of the most person always to build your relationship with our Earth. This means going back to a place overtime, repeatedly.” I was fortunate to find my place in nature where I now go every day, that has allowed me to build a strong bond with the Earth.

Tim’s life is The Earth Caretaker Way. He’s better in the woods than in cities. He walks outside barefoot in the snow greeting the morning.

He loves to wander slowly everyday with the dogs around the land and up the hills. He writes that, “Our teachers of love are the animals, the trees, the fish, and water, the clouds, and the weather, the insects, and the dirt. Our master teacher of love is our Earth.”

With the endless chaos in this world now, it would do us all good to remember who the real teachers of love are. When everything seems to be overwhelming, the best antidote, the greatest therapy, is to find your place, your spot on any piece of Earth near you.

I was originally skeptical that the book was too long, that it needed to be divided into segments, but I was wrong. It’s a book that once you open to a page, it’s the exact page and message that you might need for that day.

Pilgrimages are journeys that can be physical and inward. What our glorious earth does is provide opportunities for both. The Earth Caretaker Way is Tim’s lifetime of journeys, both physical and internal. It’s a pilgrimage map for anyone who wants to create a life well-lived.

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