If you’ve ever had designs on becoming the next Julia Butterfly Hill, the famous activist who lived in a 180-foot redwood for 738 days, here’s your chance: This week in Paia, Maui, on March 24 and 25, Master Tree Climbing Instructor Tim Kovar has staked out a gorgeous 60-foot Banyan tree with wide spreading crowns (which make for ample room to explore) where he’ll teach students—from researchers to photographers to tree workers to nature lovers—the basics in tree climbing. Learn everything from climbing techniques to setting up the double-rope technique climbing system to tying knots. And get a killer view of the Pacific from the top. But you probably won’t do it as fast as the person on this video:
Unlike most of us, Kovar never stopped climbing trees. The Nebraska native who used the old-school hand-over-hand method to climb as a kid, was the head instructor for Tree Climbers International, works with researchers climbing 350-foot California Redwoods, consults with eco-tour operators from India to the Amazon, and, in 2000, was part of the tree climbing expedition to summit the fifth-largest tree in the world, a giant 2,000-year-old sequoia.
“Tree climbing, for myself, goes beyond just the physical prowess,” says Kovar. “I believe that receiving the full effect of what the tree has to teach us lies in our ability to have patience, awareness, and acceptance. Climbing slow, but with an attentive mind, helps us to absorb that lofty world above our heads.”
Upon completion, you’ll receive a Basic Tree Climbing Course diploma. Don’t worry: If you miss your chance in Hawaii, Kovar offers week-long intensive schools in Portland, where class gets even cooler: You’ll sleep overnight in a specially designed “Treeboat.”