Round Leaf Dogwood | Cornus rugosa

A Message From Mike

September, 2022

Dear Friends,

Summer is winding down. You can tell it on some mornings recently when you step outside, because there’s that unmistakable hint of fall in the air. It’s such a great sensation!

You can also tell that summer is coming to an end because traffic on Door County roads has thinned out noticeably, now that “high season” for tourists is over. It’s still busy, just not as busy as it was the last three months. And it was very busy! A drive through Sister Bay or any other village, especially on a weekend, left no doubt just how busy. And while it’s slower now, it will pick up again later in September when fall color season arrives and the fall festivals begins. But after the color fades, and after the last festival tent is down, what we who live in Door County call the “quiet season” begins. That’s when there’s a collective sigh of relief from the many business owners who have put in long hours since spring. And employee shortages have, just like they did the last two years, made 2022 especially challenging, including at The Clearing.

After a week off from classes during Labor Day week, there are just seven more class weeks at The Clearing this year. As I said, it has been another challenging year. We’ve managed, thankfully, but the entire staff is looking forward to the day when the pandemic isn’t hanging over our heads, one way or another, every day, influencing how we operate and forcing us, at times, to make changes. That’s how it’s been for 30 months now. We all hope that the day when it’s truly over comes soon. Until then, we’ll continue to do whatever it takes to provide the best experience we can for our students and instructors.

Take care, stay safe, be well and do good.


Michael J. Schneider
Executive Director
The Clearing

Take a Look at the 2022 Summer Program!
2022 Workshop Program Classes

Who We Are

The Clearing is a folk school founded in 1935 by landscape architect Jens Jensen (1860-1951). This “school of the soil” is nestled within 128 acres of Door County forests and meadows and overlooks the dramatic Green Bay shoreline. It was built as a place where ordinary people could, as the name implies, “clear one’s mind” by reconnecting with nature and with one another.

Our Mission

The Mission of The Clearing is to provide diverse educational experiences in the folk school tradition, in a setting of quiet forests, meadows and water. The Clearing is a place where adults who share an interest in nature, arts or humanities can learn, reflect and wonder.

This is in keeping with the goals of Jens Jensen, founder of The Clearing, who loved it as a special place where one could feel kinship with the earth and reassess one’s life.



You Can’t Be Around for 87 Years and Not Have a Good Story. Here’s Ours.


Folk School Tradition



Jens Jensen



Trail Map




The Clearing offers year-long educational opportunities in three programs: the Summer Program, the Workshop Program and the Winter Program. All programs offer a wide range of classes, including painting, writing, quilting, birding, wood carving, poetry, rustic furniture making, photography, poetry, fine wood-working, music, weaving, philosophy, stained glass, metal work, nature study and paper arts. All Clearing classes are taught in a relaxed, informal style.

Summer Program


The Summer Program, which runs from May through October, is The Clearing’s oldest and the one that most closely resembles Jensen’s original folk school vision. The mainstay of the Summer Program is week-long classes, with 25 to 35 students and instructors living at The Clearing, eating family-style meals and renewing their spirit through close contact with the native landscape.

More About the Summer Program...

Workshop Program


The Workshop Program includes one, two, and three-day workshops from June through mid- November. These workshops appeal to a broad audience by providing shorter length classes during the Summer Program season for those who cannot come for an entire week or who want a “taste” of what The Clearing is like before deciding to take a week-long class.

More About the Workshop Program...

Winter Program


The Winter Program offers over 90 day-classes in January and February. In addition to offering an impressive selection of classes, the Winter Program represents something unique and wonderful about Door County, an amazing group of volunteer instructors who generously share their time, along with their considerable talent, for the benefit of the community. So bring on the snow and the cold. Now over 650 strong, you won’t meet a more friendly or hardier group of people than Clearing students in Winter!

More About the Winter Program...


The Clearing is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that relies on the generosity of many different groups to support its mission of diverse educational experiences in the folk school tradition. Thanks to hundreds of friends, volunteers and donors, The Clearing is able to offer quality programs and services all year long. Interested in supporting The Clearing? Below are several ways to help us out. Take a look!

Door County Half Marathon & 5K

:: Operation Oatmeal ::

Take a Look Around...

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then our picture page is a gold mine! The Clearing is special for so many reasons. Its interesting people, historic buildings, rich landscapes and creative spirit combine to make this place like no other. It’s a place you really have to experience to understand, but we hope our photo galleries will give you a little taste of what The Clearing experience is all about.

Explore The Clearing...

The Clearing Folk School

Your Place to Slow Down, Renew & Reconnect!