Tsula Adohi Nature School

 “…the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, animals, or collectively: the land… Once we understand that humans are not separate from, but are part of and depend on the natural community, we will develop an ethic to care for the community as a whole. “

Aldo Leopold

The dream of Tsula Adohi (chew-la a-dough-hee) arises from a desire to form community, with an understanding that children need connection with nature in order to develop core critical thinking skills. Our aim is to create an educational experience that instills a lifelong passion for intellectual exploration, and to teach children how to manage conflict and develop tools to deal with the complexities of the modern world.

Our nature immersion school is focused on project-based learning, community, resilience, and deep nature connection. We believe that the education that we provide will build up our children to be incredible stewards of our Earth, helpful citizens to our communities, and help them find their place in our overall village for the greater good.

Most modern public schools are based on a factory model. Children move along a conveyor belt from class to class and from grade level to grade level, having knowledge stamped into them at each station while being continually assessed on their conformance to standards.

Tsula Adohi Nature School is based on the idea that schools should be more like forests and less like factories. Rather than treating children like trees to be turned into lumber by cutting off their roots and branches and milling them into standardized boards, we treat each child as a wonderfully unique being to be nurtured and supported as they grow.

While not a factory school, we are also not an un-school. We believe that it is our responsibility as adults and elders to serve as guides for our children as they prepare to live in a future that will be very different from the world of today. We support children learning math, science, social science, communication arts and the fine arts, along with practical skills like growing and preparing food and building shelters in the context of projects and activities that have meaning to them. And most importantly, we support children learning how to coexist with each other and the rest of our world in a way that we hope will help them and our planet thrive into the future.

Tsula Adohi is Tsalagi (Cherokee) for “Fox Woods”. Tsula Adohi Farm resides on land that was one of the last bastions of the Aniyunwiya (Cherokee) people as part of the Treaty of Hopewell. These lands were hunting grounds for millennia before colonization. Spread across 150 acres in Hickman County, TN, Tsula Adohi backs up to Bear Creek and is intersected by several other creeks and springs that originate on the land. Another beauty of the property are the old-growth trees- a rarity in Middle Tennessee, where logging is prevalent. The farm is also the site of an ongoing quail conservancy with the directional help of biologists from the Quail Forever nonprofit organization.

Bon Aqua, the town where the farm resides, is named after the “good water” of a local historic mineral spring.


Walt Hite

After graduating high school in 1982, Walt joined the United States Army. He was an armor crewman and a tank commander during much of his service. He has extensive training in first aid, land navigation, topographic map reading, and physical fitness. He served during Desert Storm and left the army in 1992 to attend college.

He earned a Master of Science degree in Biology from the University of Central Florida along with taking all the education classes that were required for teacher certification. Focusing on ecology, environmental science, and herpetology, he conducted research with sea turtles, bats, reptiles, rodents, sting rays, and amphibians. He has experience researching salt marsh, forest, coastal, river, and lake ecosystems. He transitioned to an environmental specialist position in the last year of his graduate program and coordinated the lake restoration of Lake Munson in Tallahassee, Florida.

Walt is certified in teaching 7-12 biology and chemistry.  He taught college-level classes in biology for Nashville State Community College and currently with Austin Peay State University. Walt states, “ I believe I have a unique perspective of student educational and study skills to prepare them for the transition between high school to college as a high school teacher and an adjunct professor.” Walt excels in teaching children of all ages, and he is committed to a hands-on, project-based approach when teaching the challenging subjects of maths and sciences.

“I live on a 28-acre farm in Vanleer, TN with my son. I raise Nigerian Dwarf goats, Dexter miniature cattle, and chickens. I incorporate regenerative farming techniques that have little impact on the soil, beneficial organisms, and water quality. I look forward to sharing my love of nature and learning with my students at the Tsula Adohi Nature School.”

Tate and Amy Eskew have combined their loves of nature immersion and education to create Tsula Adohi Farm and Nature School. You can read Tate’s bio here. Amy Eskew has focused on homeschooling their children for years, and will be an integral part of the educational team at Tsula Adohi by teaching the arts and humanities.

If you are interested in learning more about our curriculum you can click here.
If you are interested in applying, please go to our Admissions and Tuition page.

If you would like any more information or you are interested in helping out in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.