California Survival School was founded by two brothers with a passion for traditional living skills, outdoor adventure, and self-sufficiency. We are a family run school dedicated to providing people with local access to hands-on outdoor learning adventures that refine inborn survival instincts into functional survival skills-sets and cultivate an intimate connection with the natural world that enriches life in ways for which there is no substitute.
Dan Baird – Head Instructor
Dan’s ability with traditional living skills, love for the outdoors, and connection to his natural surroundings started at a young age thanks to a grandfather who would often take him hiking and backpacking throughout the mountain ranges and deserts of California and beyond. Dan attained the Boy Scout’s highest rank, Eagle Scout, at the age of fourteen and began lifeguarding and training others in advanced water safety and survival at the age of 16.
In 2004, Dan began sharing his love for the outdoors and expertise in primitive survival skills full-time as a back-country wilderness guide and primitive skills instructor with Larry Dean Olson’s Anasazi Foundation in the high desert and mountains of northern Arizona. Dan’s time as a guide and instructor with Anasazi Foundation was life altering and cemented in him the strong desire that he still carries for sharing wilderness wisdom and traditional living skills with all around him.
After leaving Anasazi, Dan continued to hone his skills and teaching abilities internationally while living in Eastern Europe and the Pacific Islands for a number of years, gaining insight on local traditional living skill-sets ranging from organic subsistence farming to traditional fire methods. During his time in Hawaii, Dan also completed dual degrees in accounting & international business, graduating magna cum laude from BYU Hawaii. Upon graduation, Dan returned to the mainland and began sharing his primitive survival expertise with various Bay Area outdoor programs while also working as a financial auditor with Ernst & Young. In 2011, Dan left Ernst & Young to focus full-time on his passion for the outdoors, founding Bear Survival Company, a disaster relief consultancy and industry pioneer in creating customized outdoor equipment packages for wilderness expeditions and disaster relief. In 2012, Dan’s longtime desire to launch his own outdoor survival school was made reality when he partnered with his brother Mike to develop and launch California Survival School, California’s Premier Outdoor Survival School.
Watch Dan & Mike on ABC 7 News Los Angeles here.
Michael Baird – Instructor
An avid outdoorsman and veteran outdoor skills instructor in his own right, Michael Baird is also an Eagle Scout and experienced Water Safety Instructor. Michael’s talents and resume also include navigation and maritime skills acquired from a number of summers spent working as crew on an 18th century sailing vessel throughout the coastal waters of Southern California. In addition to his maritime know-how and outdoor experience via Boy Scouts, Michael has also spent considerable time on his own and with his brother Dan in the backcountry perfecting his outdoor traditional living skills and is known for his ninja-like prowess with a rabbit stick (his dedicated weekly Jujitsu regimen probably helps with this).