Archive for October, 2008

Tuesday’s Wilderness Skills escaped my camera lens, but looking back at Ethan’s staff journal entry, I see a pretty full day indeed….. “Blindfold string walk, sensory awareness excercise, tracking lesson including a cedar waxwing kill sight and a bobcat track, cedar tree and birch tree identification and uses, bowdrill work, river walk, cattail cordage and tinder, successful primitive fire building….”

Thursday was off to a bright start with an interview from Brian Koonz, of the Danbury News Times. Many of you have seen the great front page from yesterday. I was so excited I talked an elderly man’s ear off at the 7-11 when I went in to buy copies. Luckily he was joyfully all ears and excited for us in return. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can veiw it online. Thanks Brian!

Thursday continues with wilderness fun as the Scouts headed out on adventures. They did everything from discover bugs, read and enact Lao animal folk tales, explore some wild plants such as mugwort and spicebush, and try their teamwork on the whale watch initiative. They also worked on their fire building skills and spent some time making entries in their field journals. Something tells me that a lot more magic and lessons occurred than I can capture here in a paragraph.





On the other side of the land on Thursdays, two more groups run their course. This week, the Pioneers experimented with plant dyes. They harvested plants with pigments, such as poke berries, barberry, black walnut hulls, and even scooped up ash from the fire for a grey color. The raw wool was hand washed in the stream, then dunked in the chosen plant decoction and hung to dry. Lunch and story time were not to be missed….this week two chapters were read!

Soon into their journal entries, they also discovered that their paper was worth dying too…. hence the exploration of parchment and old time colored paper.

At the Amphitheatre, the Wilderness Challenge executed a rope initiative,

 Created maps for the opposite team and tried to follow them,

…..and carried a wounded teammate all the way back in a handmade litter. Not to mention they also fit in a river walk, leapfrog hikes, and physical conditioning. Amazing!

Friday was no exception to the magic that’s conjured at great Hollow. The Micro Scouts played games, measured the river water again, and employed spectacular teamwork while making an enormous leaf pile with the Jr. Naturalists. At the end of the day, the immersion into their journals was so deep…. they even lost track of time!

The Jr. Naturalists explored bird behavior displayed by the Robin, and habits of the notorious red squirrel who gave them a front row performance. In herbal hour, after they were prompted to forage for certain plants by a riddle, we discussed the importance of accurate plant descriptions and some different ways that foods and liquids were preserved before there was refrigeration. One of the ways used was the process of lacto-fermentation, so we brewed up the plants foraged and started some jars of herbal ‘sodas’ using whey and organic sugar.  Next week we’ll find out which ones worked the best: Grapes, Birch, cherry twigs, pine needles, or apples!

Until then…….


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This is truly so exciting…. the roots of this revival in nature awareness and eco-education have rendered their decades of wisdom into a handbook for mentors. It’s about time! I can’t wait for this to be released, and I hope I can somehow get a copy into each instructors hands, for I have a sneaking suspicion it will never leave their backpack.

See for yourself what this is all about…. and take a peak into the future at the wonderful fruit that our place, Great Hollow, will bear over time:


Go to ‘home’ and start from the first page if you want the whole story.

ALSO, there is a conference call Monday night, October 6, open to all. Here is the invitation:
Join Internationally acclaimed speaker, naturalist, and teacher, Jon Young for an inspirational discussion on the importance and potential of mentoring ourselves and children in nature awareness, community resiliency, and the power of the up coming Art of Mentoring, hosted by the Vermont Wilderness School in mid October.(http://8shields.org/jonyoung)

Theme: The upcoming Art of Mentoring, The context of our times and positive solutions

Who: Anybody can participate!

When: Next Monday, October 6th, 7pm – 8pm

With respect to not inviting spam callers, please email me for the call code.

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