Growing leaders for a healthy future.

Sassafras acknowledges Aquinnah Wampanoag Territory and its People. 


Sassafras is an indigenous Wampanoag nonprofit on Noëpe (Martha's Vineyard) founded by David Two Arrows and Saskia Vanderhoop in 2003. Our outdoor youth programs offer experiences that transform and build confidence, perseverance, and vitality. Our goal is to grow connected leaders, to build equitable and regenerative community for a healthier future, that integrates indigenous values of living in balance with our earth. Sassafras offers year-round programs for youth, teens, adults, internships, programs for schools/educational organizations, and consulting.

Sassafras Earth Education offers programs, events and services that;

  • reconnect youth and adults to the earth through ancient mentoring practices;

  • educate schools, organizations and the general public on a truthful representation and increased awareness of the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island;

  • offer consultation on cultural competency for organizations on and off island, and;

  • develop LandCulture – an indigenous permaculture project that aims to restore the land to pre-colonial conditions.


 Programs for all 

Unplug and

play outside

Connect with peers

Spend time

together outdoors

 Summer Camp 

Our outdoor curriculum of nature, earth and ancestral skills, helps youth develop tangible outdoor skills, through authentic life lessons. Youth learn about indigenous and natural history, local island environments, and the importance of living in balance with the earth. Youth work together in small groups according to age, and while we also create community across ages. Having fun and following individual passions are high on our list, it helps youth to be comfortable in the woods and with themselves.

Our Nature Connection Mentoring approach is derived from traditional indigenous practices, it offers children bite-size edges to slowly expand their comfort zone, increase their awareness and hones all their senses. Sassafras is an unplugged environment by choice, we believe that providing a screen-free space is important for the development of wholesome young people.

Days are filled with nature-centered games and activities that kids love to do: exploring woods and streams, build our own campsites, making fires, building forts and fairy houses, move through the forest like wild animals, listen for bird language, whittle and craft, ID plants and our favorite edibles, and our all-time favorite “JTC”. During hot days we often spend a day at the water’s edge. We start every day with gratitude and we end by sharing stories and singing nature songs.

Nature Centered Games & Activities 

 The Latest 

Never miss an update