The Machine & (Human) Nature

Event Details

Join us for the second annual The Machine and (Human) Nature retreat, an intimate gathering at the Wagon Box in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains. Invited speakers include: Seneca Scott, James Pogue, Peter Allen, and Eustace Conway.

At this small retreat, we hope to wrestle with themes including the role of technology, transhumanism, and how to find meaning in the face of the ever-advancing machine. We would like to consider the effect the machine has had on families, the environment, autonomy, and class politics. We would also like to discuss and showcase forms of creative resistance.

The discussions, interviews, and panels for this event will be co-created by attendees. By that we mean if you would like to speak, run a workshop, develop a panel, or more, this is your chance to have the stage and shape the discussion. More details on how to submit a session to come.

In addition to the talks, we hope to have plenty of activities on offer. Last year the retreat included cold plunges in the creek followed by visits to the sauna, trout fishing, long walks, singalongs, and a spontaneous happy hour debate. We will also share some meals together, with toasts and time to chat informally. The lodge kitchen will also be available for cooking.

Families are welcomed and encouraged.


Friday, Aug. 30 — Arrival & Conference

3:00 - 4:00 PM Registration

4:15 - 5:15 PM Opening discussion with Paul McNiel

5:15 - 6:15 PM Happy Hour

6:15 PM Dinner at the Lodge

Evening: Campfire jam in the Big Tipi

Saturday, Aug. 31 — Conference

8:00 AM Cold plunge

8:30 - 9:30 AM Break for Breakfast

9:45 - 10:45 AM Peter Allen on Farming and Ecology

11:00 - 12:00 PM Workshops

12:00 - 1:00 PM Break for Lunch

1:15 - 2:15 PM Ashley Fitzgerald on localism and civic orientation

2:30 - 3:30 PM Seneca Scott on Urban Agriculture

3:45 - 4:45 PM Lightening talks

5:00 - 6:00 PM Outdoor activities

6:15 - 7:15 PM James Pogue on the failure of liberalism and globalization

7:30 PM Dinner at the Lodge

Evening: Open mic night

Sunday, Sept. 1 — Conference

8:00 AM Cold plunge

8:30 - 9:30 AM Break for Breakfast

9:45 - 10:45 AM Chris Ellis on preparedness

11:00 - 12:00 PM Kate Parsons on the future of art

12:00 - 1:00 PM Lunch Break

1:15 - 3:30 PM Trout fishing lesson with James Pogue

3:45 - 4:45 PM John King Spiezio on falling in love at the end of the world

5:00 - 7:15 PM Micro-debates and happy hour

7:30 PM Dinner at the Lodge

Evening: Free time, fire pit, jams, etc.

Monday, Sept 2 — Departures

8:00 AM Cold plunge

8:30 - 9:30 AM Break for Breakfast

9:45 - 10:45 AM Departures


James Pogue

James is a Contributing Editor at Harper’s, and write about national politics for Vanity Fair. He has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and the London Review of Books, among many others. He was a 2022 Alicia Patterson Fellow, and has received support from from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. He lives in Los Angeles, where I help run a native plant nursery. His first book is called Chosen Country: A Rebellion in the West.


Seneca Scott

Seneca moved to Oakland in 2012 to work as the East Bay Director for SEIU Local 1021, representing and negotiating improvements to wages and working conditions for thousands of workers in East Bay cities, most notably Oakland. It didn’t take long for Seneca to fall in love with the town for its independent spirit and love of nature.


Julie Fredrickson, Managing Partner Chaotic Capital. I’m a founder with experience in retail and e-com businesses across all stages. I’ve raised from venture, PE, and crazy people. for everything from cosmetics to online advertising. A couple of my companies even exited and are still around.


Ashley Fitzgerald

Ashley Colby Fitzgerald is an environmental sociologist and co-founder of the Rizoma Field School.


Paul McNiel

Paul McNiel grew up deep in the woods of Quebec and is a combat veteran and avid outdoorsman. He has visited and studied off-grid and homesteading families and communities for years.


Peter Allen

Peter owns and operates Mastodon Valley Farm, a 220-acre regenerative farm in Southwestern Wisconsin where he has built a timber-frame homestead, planted thousands of fruit and nut trees, and grazes cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and poultry. He and his wife grow all their family's food and are raising amazing children. Besides farming, he teaches and consults.


Chris Ellis

A twenty-four-year combat career officer. Subject matter expert on individual household disaster preparedness in the United States and other developed countries. Heavy focus on large-scale catastrophic threats, including natural, manmade, and spiritual events (economic collapse, civil war, nuclear detonation, and the Apocalypse).


Kate Parsons

Kate is a video artist and educator living in Los Angeles and Montana. She obtained her M.F.A. in Media Arts from UCLA, her M.A. in Digital Art and Video from CSU-N and her B.F.A. from Montana State University. She is the co-founder of FLOAT, a VR/AR art studio, founder of Outer Echoes, a residency in rural Montana, and founder of FEMMEBIT, a video art festival celebrating Los Angeles female artists working in video and new media. Much of Kate's practice surrounds human connection, meaning-making, and our relationships to the biological and environmental systems we inhabit. Her graduate studies involved research into the myriad ways humans mourn and express grief.


Travel Instructions


  • Sheridan County Airport: 30 min. drive to The Wagon Box (Google Map)
  • Northeast Wyoming Regional Airport: 1+ hours (Google Map)
  • Billings-Logan International Airport: 2+ hours (Google Map)
  • Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport: 4+ hours (Google Map)
  • Denver International Airport: 5+ hours (Google Map)


  • Rental cars are available at Billings, Bozeman, and Denver airports (check Kayak for cheaper pricing)
  • Uber and taxi service from Sheridan Airport
Additional Info

Registration Options

Early Bird Tickets available until July 1st:

  • Ticket Only (find lodging offsite): $150
  • Ticket + Camping on-site: $210
  • Ticket + Lodging: $215 and up

Ticket Only after July 1st are $300 (not including lodging).

We have a limited number of scholarship tickets available for homesteaders and other low income participants. Please email us at to inquire.

Registration Info

August 30, 2024
September 2, 2024
Ticket Prices
Early Bird Tickets are $150 for 3 days including dinner. Lodging is purchased separately.
A limited number of scholarship spots are available to low income attendees and homesteaders. To inquire, please contact:

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