Teaching is tiring. Learning is even more so. Teaching can be practiced until it becomes an art. After years of doing it you occasionally get thrown by a student's question, but for the most part you get better the more you do it (this refers to teaching, not content knowledge). Learning is the act of [...]
We've finalized the information on prices and dates for the Winter Bushcraft and Survival courses taking place with Jeff Butler of Northwoods Survival in New Brunswick in February. Information on the courses is located here.
Yesterday we unpacked and dried out a bunch of gear from the Allagash trip and cut the base logs for our new sauna. The students felled several trees with an axe, then sectioned them with a cross cut saw. It't great to watch their expertise with these tools increase exponentially. We also covered general map [...]
My friend and colleague David Cronenwett of Montana emailed me with a link to an article about the incomparable Mors Kochanski and his philosophy of outdoor education, or what he prefers to call "tangible education". It's a short article, and you can read it here.
This morning marks the beginning of week 5 of the ESSP. This week we're focusing on advanced navigation and foraging, so we'll take a trip to the seacoast and spend an afternoon in a nearby swamp digging cattails. While we were on the Allagash our sauna stove arrived, made by my good friend Don Kevilus [...]
We had a great trip on the Allagash marked by warm weather and low water levels. Picking up two people on our drive north, we arrived at the bridge at the south end of Chamberlain Lake in the late afternoon, then loaded up the boats for the short paddle to Boy Scout campsite. Our party [...]
We're off in the morning on our 12-day Allagash canoe trip. Packing is done and most of the gear is loaded. Everyone is excited and it's sure to be a great trip.
Group size for our 12-day bushcraft and guide training canoe trip on the Allagash river has swelled to 11. In addition to the students who will be here for the entire semester, we've got people coming from Canada, Scotland, and even Japan for the trip. It's pretty exciting, but planning and prepping for the group [...]
Last night the ESSP students and I attended a talk given by Tom Wessels, the author of Reading the Forested Landscape and other books. The talk focused on reading and understanding the history of the woods of New England for signs of farming and logging. Having heard him speak before I was prepared for the [...]
Yesterday we started with one match fires since we had rain overnight. Skill and confidence levels have dramatically improved and everyone was either able to successfully start a fire or self-diagnose what went wrong. With our focus on the process, not the product, this is a complete success because they understood what was happening and [...]
Yesterday we spent the morning planning the meals for our upcoming Allagash trip. We've had a flurry of phone calls and the size of the group has swelled to 10 people. Then we were out on the water practicing canoe strokes, poling, and learning a flat water rescue technique. After lunch we started on knots [...]
Last night we had rain, and on every wet morning we start with one match fires. This morning was no different. The ESSP students have made amazing progress with this in the short time we've been together. We moved onto making cordgage by hand, then making rope with spinners, and finally making rope with a [...]
The wood around the eye of an axe can get brittle and the head can get loose. To solve the problem of a loose head, some authors have advised to soak it in water to swell the wood. But when it dries out, the head is loose again, and more brittle, often more than when [...]
We had lot of rain come through over the weekend, which will be good for the lettuce planted last week. It will also put some water into the Allagash for our trip next week. Lastly, it will help with the bumper crop of mushrooms that are growing in the surrounding woods. We'll be spending several [...]
Do you know much about where you live? Can you answer 30 questions about your knowledge of place and home from www.biohabit.org? Give it a try.
Yesterday morning the ESSP students carved bow drill sets and learned several ways of attaching the spindle to the string. We discussed the science behind friction firelighting, then everyone worked on perfecting their drilling form while breaking in the new sets. Then we moved onto percussion-based firelighting using flint and steel before working with more [...]