Testimonials

"What you are doing at Turtle Island is truly an inspiration and was a real awakening for me."

- Nolan Carpenter

"The kids arrived back at school bubbling with joy and pride in their participation in the experience. I know 'camping out' was a first for many of the kids, as well as their parents, but they all were deeply moved and grateful for the opportunity."

- Michelle Reynolds

Asheville, NC

"We loved our Turtle Island Adventure! It definitely exceeded all of our expectations and was truly a life-changing experience."

- Gregg Turner
Father and Son Camp June 2010
Nashville, TN

From Campers

"My son Brad Winter attended your camp many years ago. It remains one of the most positive experiences of his life." Happy Trails,

- Ken Winter

Dear Eustace and Desere: Thank you both for letting Krystal come to camp this year. She is always telling us about something she learned or did. She was proud of herself. I feel it is the beginning of something wonderful for her, a greater appreciation of nature and what life is about. She is more aware of a different way of living, not just t.v. and stuff from Walmart.

- Peggy Holt

Turtle Island was the highlight of my study abroad in the USA last year. You have created such an ideal place. I was really lucky and happy to visit Turtle Island. I still remember how beautiful it is, How I took care of the horses and how delicious the food was! Thank you again for having me.

-Yohei Tokumori
,

Japan

I had a very valuable experience while attending adult camp this summer. I have taken a great deal from the experience.

- Brad Johnson
Adult Camper

"We loved our Turtle Island Adventure! It definitely exceeded all of our expectations and was truly a life-changing experience."

- Gregg Turner

Father and Son Camp June 2010
, Nashville, TN

Dear Eustace Conway:
I cannot describe the incredibly powerful experience you provided for me at your camp. In every aspect your camp is more educational, powerful and meaningful than any camp I have ever been to. I will never forget the experiences I had with the night walk, sleeping in our own tipis, learning to bead necklaces, building emergency shelters and most importantly, the challenge of polar-bearing at 6:30 in the morning in extremely cold water. These activities taught me to challenge myself and to reach my highest potential. I encountered many experiences, which I never thought I would do in my right mind. For example, plunging into the stream in October and going all of the way under was an incredible challenge.

Most importantly, I earned a deeper understanding and reverence for Mother Earth her plants, animals and children. I learned to respect and appreciate the Indian cultures and know the earth. To me, the society in which I live, with its big factories and cities which are like putting the earth on slow-bake, is the greedy and uncivilized culture where as many people say your society is uncivilized because you do not use modern toilets. They say your society is primitive but I will speak out against that stereotype and challenge others to believe in my realization.

On my last day, I cried while walking to the bus to leave. Your camp touched my heart and I want to thank you for that experience.

- Adrian Moore-Pleasant

9th grader, Durham Academy

To Eustace and the staff at Turtle Island:
Thank you for asking me to be a part of your community. A special thanks to everybody for the time, wisdom, and guidance you are sharing with today's youth. It is just awesome that the children of today can experience your different lifestyle out of their comfort zones. Sometimes children can become overwhelming and test you to your limits, however YOU make a difference in their lives. On a personal level, Turtle Island has made an improvement in my relationship with my son Tristan. We now have a better understanding about each other and I owe it all to a 2 week long boy's camp a few years ago. Your efforts, values, and beliefs are not ignored by the youth you come in contact with. Please keep up the good work because today's youth needs it.
Sincerely,

- Scott Pearson

Greenville, TN
  camp support staff, paramedic, and parent

Hey! I wanted to thank you for the great time you allowed us to have I learned more up there in 3 days than anyone could ever teach me in 1 month. Now, I don't walk outside without noticing the plants and their names and the beautiful weather.

- Christine Smith

6th grader
 Burlington Day School
, Burlington, NC

From Residents & Interns

Simon & Eustace My internship far exceeded my expectations.  As soon as I arrived at Turtle Island I was flung into learning situations that today's modern youth only read about. The limits to my learning were barred by nothing at Turtle island.  Within only the first two hours of being around Eustace I was covered in blood from having skinned and gutted my first two deer. The month that followed built on that to create a legendary experience of barn raisin', tree felling, timber milling, blacksmithing, and old fashioned hard work and fun.  The Turtle Island staff are among the most friendly and welcoming people I have ever met. It was a time that marked a turning point in my life and one that I will not soon forget.

After finishing my internship at Turtle island Preserve and coming back into the world, I see everything with a different and much keener eye. It is unbelieveable the waste I overlooked before in my life and just EVERYWHERE! My time at TIP has impacted me greatly. I am excited to apply the principles I learned at the island. You guys are wicked awesome and I miss you heaps!

- Simon Woods, BC, Canada

 

My internship at Turtle Island was absolutely foundational for the strength that I have in my life right now.

Jeremy "Bo" Hewitt
, Colorado

 

Rachel My cooking internship at Turtle Island Preserve exceeded my expectations. It was the ultimate challenge, showing me what I am capable of doing with the love and support from the T.I. community. Everyone was instantly welcoming, including me in the community, accepting me the way I was and making me feel like an integral part of the whole. The wood cookstoves created the best tasting food I have ever had.

Rachel Zeirzow
, Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts

 



Paul & Terra Our time at Turtle Island continues to be a valuable experience to draw from in all of our projects here on our new farm.

Paul and Terra
, Veteran interns of two years

From General Guests

Thank you all for the incredible time I had at Turtle Island Preserve. I loved learning about the horses and TI in general. My spirit has been renewed.

Penny Rife

Maryland

It is the mentors in life that give you wings and Turtle Island is full of them.

Rachel Maliniak

Elon College Service Group

This is the most awesome field trip I've ever taken.

All Saints Episcopal 7th grader

We can’t think you enough for the wonderful time we had this week! I wish you could be here now to hear the kids talk about their trip. As educators, we get the greatest satisfaction out of seeing kids learning and seeing the positive results of the process. The skills and lessons you taught them have made a real impact on their lives; that can be seen in all they do and say now… As I said before, we learn by your example. Thank you for setting that example.

Ken Morrison

Science Teacher
, Burlington Day School
, Burlington, NC

I just wanna thank you so much to get that experience. Ever since, I’ve been a lot more respectful to Mother Earth. I have been a lot more peaceful after the trip. I have you to thank for that.

Danniel Ricks Jr.

10th grader
, Foster Homes for Children
, Miami, FL

Thank you!! I’m not sure who enjoyed Turtle Island the most, "me" or the kids. All the way home we made excuses to turn around and come back!!

Kate Skipper

Youth Group Coordinator
, Conway, SC

Coming to Turtle Island for the volunteer weekend was a challenging and rewarding experience. My partner Jon and I came to camp, work, explore, and eat good food! We were expecting a peaceful place, and I must admit that I was not disappointed. To me, there is peace in hard work and challenges. Working with Eustace and friends to build a stone retaining wall was some of the hardest labor I have done in a while! At the end of the day - we could see results of a wall well built, and I felt so proud! The meal of lasagna was probably the best I have ever had!

What I find so rewarding about the Turtle Island experience is that the learning and observation never ends. Eustace always offers a lesson in horses, or using primitive tools, or just how to live away from the mainstream, busy world that most are used to. I will return as much as I can in the future, because I want to learn more. I also want to live more simply, and I feel that I, too, can achieve this. It was a wonderful weekend.

I took a great solo hike and found the calm that I needed by a beautiful mountain stream.

Sincerely,

Blair
, Charlotte, NC

From Educators

G Morgan We can't thank you enough for the fantastic experience you provided for our group! Our kids were engaged and stimulated on so many levels - spiritually, physically, intellectually, and environmentally. It exceeded our goals as much as it exceeded the kid's expectations for fun. We're already planning our trip for next year!

--Ginny Hunneke

Odyssey Community School

Our nine day trip to Turtle Island was the most powerful and good experience I have ever seen a group of children share. The staff at Turtle Island Preserve are phenomenal people, willing to take on the challenge each child presents. I am ecstatic about the results of this fabulous program.

--Smith Coleman

Discovery Teacher

Orange County, Virginia


Our trip to Turtle Island was the highlight of our semester. It was a real eye opener and pulled together everything we had been working on.

--Joan Woodworth

Professor, Appalachian State University

"The skills and lessons you taught our students have made a real impression on their lives; that can be seen in all they do and say now."

--Teacher

Burlington, NC

Our staff witnesses an incredible amount of growth in our students, both in knowledge and teamwork skills. The Turtle Island experience is powerful!

--Jim Claborn

All Saints Episcopal School Trip Leader

The Turtle Island Program is powerful in its simplicity, wonderful in its gentleness and as genuine an experience as one could hope to find We choose to begin our outdoor education program with a Turtle Island experience because of its gentle intensity and focus on natural surroundings mirror a way of thought and action we believe every child at Durham Academy should have.

--Dave Gould

Director of Special Programs

Durham Academy 
(read more from Dave here)

2009 Durham Academy


Two years ago we discovered Turtle Island and for the second year straight our eighth graders have had life-changing experiences. When preparing a group of thirty middle school students for a nine day trip to a mountain hollow that is devoid of modern plug-in conveniences and distractions we encounter a fair amount of anxiety. For many of our students its their first time away from home for more than a weekend and for just about all of us its our first time adopting an eighteenth century lifestyle for an extended period of time. Two hours after the bus was parked, by the light of the opening campfire, I realized that the anxiety was gone. The multi-talented Turtle Island staff is that good at making kids feel cared for. The feeling lasted the entire trip because it is a genuine one. These folks are passionate about what they do and teach. And boy do they teach! Experiential education works incredibly well when kids feel safe and secure even while pushing their personal comfort zones and trying things that are new to them. I can’t say enough about what a powerful and positive experience Turtle Island has been for my students.

--Ben Van Rooy

Discovery Program Leader - Public Schools, Orange County, VA


"This has been one of the most incredible times of my life."
"Turtle Island proves there is magnitude out there."
"The food was beyond excellent!"
"The sweat lodge was the most emotional experience of my life."
"I love the concern of the counselors."
"Thank you for making me dig into myself and like what I saw."
"I have learned some priceless things for myself and my future students about trust, thinking, and experiential education."

--North Carolina Teaching Fellows

Extraordinary Vision for Teaching with Nature

One-Week Turtle Island Experience

Group enjoying a meal What you do at Turtle Island is deep. It goes way beyond "having fun in the woods." The 4-H camp my kids go to in Maine is lovely; its about singing songs, roasting marshmallows, and being outdoors all-day long. But Turtle Island is about living with nature, its about respect and appreciation, and developing a relationship with the natural world In my dream school, if the school wasn't actually at Turtle Island (I mean physical location), it would mandate at least a week every year for every child. And every kid would grow up respecting nature, aware of seasons, comfortable with animals and at home in their skin.

--Kelly Richards

3rd grade teacher

Piadeia School Atlanta, GA

Thanks for the wonderful experience at Turtle Island. The response was overwhelmingly positive many of the kids expressed an interest in living at Turtle Island.

--Rita Story

8th grade teacher

Hardin Park Elementary, 
Boone, NC

From Speaking Engagements

On April 25th 2006 Eustace Conway lectured at my college, Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire. It was an event like no other. Mr. Conway's Talk was brilliant, eloquent, and impassioned. As president of PSU's Environmental/Social Justice group I was truly pleased that the attendance not only filled the entire auditorium but included many students standing in the open doors of the hallway. It was an absolutely mesmerizing experience, one that still brings tears to my eyes in fond recollection.

The impact that Eustace had on the members of the audience was one that I will never forget. It was the defining moment of my undergraduate career – my own graduation a month later paled in comparison. The audience sat there rapt, enthralled, moved by every story Eustace told; amazed that someone raised with the same comforts as themselves could and would so willfully renounce it all and have no regrets. Though I had heard some of the stories before or read of them in Elizabeth Gilbert's The Last American Man, there were those I was unfamiliar with and I too fast became one of the wide-eyed, enraptured audience members.

Eustace's rapport with the audience was brilliant and spot on, appealing to their every sense. He was friendly and engaging, speaking to them as if they were each close friends. The audience felt that rapport and the genuine feelings he exuded with such confidence and skill. By the lecture's end the audience rose to their feet to give Eustace a long, and much deserve standing ovation. It was thunderous and really beautiful to witness.

--Lydia Perry

From Friends of Turtle Island

Girl playing I miss Turtle Island. I wish I could be there now. If I was there now, I would be hiking up to the medicine wheel in my bare feet.

--Sarah S.
3rd grader

Paideia School, Atlanta, GA

I just wanna thank you so much to get that experience. Ever since, I've been a lot more respectful to Mother Earth. I have been a lot more peaceful after the trip. I have you to thank for that.

--Danniel Ricks Jr.
10th grader

Foster Homes for Children
, Miami, FL

Dear Eustace,

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you or my time spent at Turtle Island. I tell everyone I know and all I encounter about what you are doing and how it is possible for one person to create beauty and change perceptions.

--Cathy McRae

Toronto, Canada

The Dolges Eustace thank you very much for this life changing adventure. The food was the best I have eaten in all my life!

--Francois

It is the mentors in life that give you wings and Turtle Island is full of them.

--Rachel Maliniak

Elon College Service Group

Coming from Ireland, I had no idea what to expect from Turtle Island Preserve. It shared with me a world I didn't know existed or could exist. I found joy at the revelation of it. I considered myself an experienced outdoor educator and camp counselor and thought I had seen almost all that could be done to educate young people to the world surrounding them. I was once again joyful to find so many new and fresh models at Turtle Island. The Preserve by its very nature exceeds the status quo. I have worked as a camp counselor at many different summer camps and outdoor programs and I have yet to see a staff which minute to minute, day to day gives their passion and dedication towards expanding campers interactions with the natural world and with each other as does Turtle Islands staff. I have seen these campers learn in t wo weeks skills what it would take other programs many seasons to instruct. Not only this but it is my firm belief that in learning skills as simple as coaxing the fire out of two sticks young people can gain a confidence in interacting with their world that is both rare and precious nowadays. Turtle Island gifted me with a new view of the world and the education of young minds in a way I can never repay. Words cannot capture or convey the passion in which I would recommend and encourage to anyone the Turtle Island experience.

--Jon Kean-Egan

Dublin, Ireland

We have been incredibly inspired. Thank you for all of your hospitality! It has been unmistakably magical to experience Turtle Island. With much hope for the future... Mr. Conway, you rock!

--Winston S. Correll and Eric T. Hires

Kentucky