The beautiful weather of mid-August has arrived! My two week summer break between the end of the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester and the beginning of the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester beginning August 24th has been filled with family time, but also a few folk school programs.
Last Thursday, as part of the self reliance workshop series we run with GALA, I partnered with Jessica Cole of Sumner Brook Herbals to teach a edible and medicinal plant walk in Ossipee, NH. We had a big group and identified and sampled a variety of edible and medicinal plants found on the landscape. It was great co-instructing with Jessica, and the experience was evidence that even though I’ve been studying edible and medicinal plants for over 25 years there is still much to learn. And a great person to learn from is Jessica! This year she’s offering a multi-month herbal apprentice program for the first time. She’s passionate about herbs, has many years of experience and is a great teacher, which leads me to believe that the slots will be filled early for her programs.
My favorite part of the workshop was learning new and different uses for plants I’ve been using for a long time. It’s always educational to work with people whose knowledge comes from different places than my own.
Last Friday-through-Sunday Tom Belluscio and I ran an overnight bushcraft kids camp in conjunction with Wolfeboro Parks & Recreation on the town land at the Abenaki ski area. It’s a beautiful spot, and we set up camp along a small, clear stream. We covered topics such as lighting a fire with one match and with a bow drill, dome shelter construction, building a campfire cooking rig, edible plants of the area (everyone loved Indian cucumber), knife safety and more. On Saturday night all of the kids slept in shelters they made, which consisted of woven domes covered by parachutes that we provided to keep the bugs out. But we definitely weren’t all business, also taking time to play a variety of games that worked on important woods skills such as balance, moving quietly, and stealth. The kids had a great time, as did Tom and I.
The stated goal of our School Of The Forest kids programs is to get kids outside. The highlight of the weekend for me was hearing about how much fun they were having when the only items we used for the numerous games we played were a rope and some blindfolds. The kids were so busy having fun they didn’t even talk about tv, internet or video games.
We’ve discussed greatly expanding our kids programs in the near future. Stay tuned to see how it develops.