A Message From Mike

July, 2021

Dear Friends,

At long last, we have started having week-long classes at The Clearing again. This is a major step on the road back to where we want to be—to where we need to be. For classes, we’re borrowing one major element from The Clearing Retreats Program—delivering meals to the lodging rooms. We’re not ready, because we’re not confident that it’s safe, to eat family-style meals in the Lodge dining room. The tables and chairs are close together in the dining room, too close for comfort. So, for the time being, we’ll do what we’ve done successfully since June of 2020, when we launched The Clearing Retreat Program—deliver meals to the rooms.

It’s good to have classes again. Our classroom buildings—the Schoolhouse, the Workshop and the Forge—had been very lonely places since February of 2020, when the 2020 Winter Program classes ended. Until classes began again the week of June 20 th , it’s the longest any of these buildings had ever been unused for classes. It was sad to walk inside any of them, knowing how much activity there would be if things hadn’t taken such an ugly turn early last year. You could sense how lonely they were. But now, finally, they’re happy again, doing what they were made to do—provide a space for our wonderful instructors and students to do the creative things The Clearing inspires.

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


Michael J. Schneider
Executive Director
The Clearing

2021 Clearing Summer Program :: June - November
2021 Clearing Workshop Program :: July - November

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.

Happy Campers
Classes Offered in 2021
Bowls of Oatmeal Served Weekly
Great Place


You Can’t Be Around for 86 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!