My Dirt Time The Adventures of Tom Sciacca

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John Gibbons, the chief instructor

This is John Gibbons, the chief instructor of the Wilderness Learning Centers, and me. He is an impressive guy. He gets about 145 days of dirt time a year to practice all his survival skills. He knows his stuff. Plus he’s 6' 6" tall. I’m not really that tiny!

John Gibbons Biography

Besides being a licensed guide and certified Survival Instructor, John is the grandson of Euell Gibbons. He started learning survival skills at the early age of eight by participating in a three day survival trips with his grandfather. His father was active with the U.S. Air Force and John moved every two years to places such as Washington, Nevada, Idaho and northern New York. He and his mother stayed with his grandmother in New York while his father served in Vietnam and Thailand. He spent a lot of time in the woods where he studied and practiced the survival skill teachings of Larry Dean Olsen, Baden Powell, Seton, Hillcourt, his grandfather and many others.

Several weeks would be spent in Pennsylvania at his grandfather's farm. It was here that John would search for fossils and explore the areas of Bald Eagle state park. At age 16, John hiked the Northville – Lake Placid trail, hiking one week alone. At a later date he completed the trail with his best friend, Craig Wilson.

“Those were great days.” he said. Learning to travel light and fast using little gear. From age 16 until completing his B.A. in Anthropology, John worked at several scout camps teaching nature, survival and camping. During the Voyager program he worked for the Adirondack B.S.A. National High Adventure Base. Here he logged at least 3000+ combined miles of canoeing, hiking, sailing and guiding trips, as well as being an Eagle scout. John has been associated with the Wilderness Learning Center for over eight years.

After spending three years active duty in the US Navy as an electronics technician (another 3 years + 2 I.R. reserve), John returned to New York and spent time perfecting his outdoor, primitive, wild food and survival skills. At the same time he held a variety of jobs such as teaching, import / export, writing and construction. He is the author of

    An Adirondack Guides Cookbook
and is currently working on a survival skills handbook as well as outdoor videos.

Presently, John logs about 145 days (about 5 months) per year in the woods and on the waters, guiding and teaching woods skills. He has been associated with the Wilderness Learning Center for over eight years.

Check out John Gibbons’ website at It's not about the END OF THE WORLD - It's not about surviving a hypothetical PLANE CRASH - It's about the SATISFACTION YOU GET knowing you can take care of yourself and/or your family in ANY SITUATION, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE!

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April 2012:
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