The Shepherds School was started as an independent project in 2004 in the Northern Spanish mountains and is now replicated in the mountain ranges surrounding Madrid.It offers an education in new technologies to existing shepherds and training to young people from urban contexts interested in learning shepherding. Annual courses are 5 months long, starting with a theoretical component in which subjects range from Zoology, Farming Policies, Mountain Ecology, Outdoors Skills and Veterinary Practices to Cheese Making. The students learn the practical component of the course whilst living together with a professional shepherd and sharing the everyday with their tutor.
Part of the project was the redesign and refurbishment of 4 mountain cabins , 2 mountain dairies, and 2 milking rooms. All these facilities are offered to the graduating students free of charge if they choose to pick up the trade.
Together with those infrastructures for summer high mountain pastures, the Shepherds School has a model farm in the valley for winter production with accommodation, classroom and library for the students.
The Shepherd School also carries out other activities such as travel exchanges between shepherds from different countries or regions, tutoring post-graduate field researchers interested in pastoralist culture, as well as advocating and facilitating pastoralists representative organisations from Europe and other parts of the world.