My Dirt Time The Adventures of Tom Sciacca

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Marty Simon and me

This is Marty Simon, owner of the Wilderness Learning Center — or as he says the “old man who runs the Wilderness Center in way upstate NY” — and me. It was an honor to be able to spend a week learning survival skills from and hanging out with both Marty and John Gibbons, the chief instructor.

Marty Simon Autobiography

My outdoor career began at age 9 when I was introduced to scouting. I stayed with the Boy Scout program until I was 21, working my way up to Explorer Advisor, council level. After that approximately 3 years was spent hiking, camping, fishing, hunting and trapping throughout northern New Jersey and southern New York.

In 1963, I was inducted into the US Army. After basic and advanced infantry training I was sent to explosive ordinance school, combat demolitions school and jungle survival school in Panama and then off to Vietnam. After returning and being discharged I went back to my love of camping and the outdoors.

In 1970, I reenlisted in the army, eventually serving over 17 years, mostly as an instructor. During this time I also attended small arms specialist school, arctic and temperate survival school, desert survival school and back to Panama for instructors survival school.

In 1978 I became an advisor for the National Guard. While in this position I further attended many schools including recruiting, career counseling, army professional education center, land warfare, BTMS and other schools. In 1984 I left the US Army returning home and establishing The Wilderness Training Center. At this time I ran programs for US Air Force Pilots. In 2000 I changed the name to The Wilderness Learning Center.

Also during 1984 to present I have taught at North Country Community College, Clinton Community College and Mater Dei College and Vermont Outdoor Women, teaching programs on survival, land navigation, herbs, wilderness medicine and health. During my career I have taught US Army and Air force, Italian, German, and Canadian troops. I also served on the Quebec, Canada council of Boy Scouts as training officer for adults during which time I received my Wood Badge. All together I have over 45 years experience teaching outdoor survival and related subjects. I am a licensed New York State Guide, member of NY State Guides Association (NYSOGA) and the Vermont Outdoor Guides Association (VOGA) and certified in Wilderness First Aid & CPR.

Check out Marty Simon’s 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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