Archive for November 11th, 2008

I can hardly believe we are heading into our second to last week of the fall semester. As I look over the weeks of peaks and valleys of social and intellectual melodies, brimming with subtle syncopation and steady harmonies, a tremendous symphony occurs. Each person learning when to play their solo and when to find their bass line. It’s remarkable to say the least. 

bow-drill-partsThe tools of the trade are being put to good practice, and although I usually only capture the traces of the Tuesday Wilderness Skills group, this week we had a willing ambassador:

zephyrDonning his handmade bow and arrows, he’s a ready student and steward of the forest.

Thursday’s troupe was full of adventure (and controversy) as any cutting edge society must be. The three groups (scouts, pioneers, and wilderness challenge) played a multi-layered game involving teamwork, problem solving, tracking, physicality, social dynamics, and moral decision making. Here is a shot of us tracking the bead trail:

stalking-beadsAnd a glimpse into the land of mixed tribes:

gh-week-8-013After lunch, the Pioneers worked dutifully on gathering and preparing plant stalks for their thatched roof. It was rainy and wonderful, replete with song and cooperation. The scouts continued on their pursuit of happiness via ripe rose hips.


rose-hip-juiceHigh in vitamin C and really fun to smash up in a bowl! 

And you know who they decided to share it with?


Yup, the big kids 🙂 Which, wet and chilled, they greatly appreciated.

wc-week-8-001-1Rain is heavy!

donals-and-kidsMeet Donald, a family duck of one of our Jr. Naturalists, and friendly at that! Donald is so much better than a cartoon; he (she?) had all the kids rolling in laughter within minutes… with a honk resembling a very loud belly laugh. Donald hung out for show and tell, giving each of the kids including the Micro-Scouts a chance to feel the downy feathers. 

The Jr. Naturalists had a chance in the morning to really see if they could be like birds…. to try and identify their classmates through call alone. It was a worthy experiment, sometimes identifying each other – and sometimes not. They also did a study on the Great Leopard Moth

During plant hour (and a half) we first covered some very important stuff: the deadly plants. We compared the botanical structures of two potential look-alikes, the common yarrow (a member of the Asteraceae family) with illustrations of flowers from the Umbelliferae family. The latter holding the two deadliest plants in New England, as well as the edible and relatively safe Wild Carrot (Queen Anne’s Lace). Important to know!

We made careful certainty that we could tell them apart, and should we come across another plant with double umbels, we could stay away. When the technical part was well covered, and embellished with a story, we rewarded ourselves by making an herbal salve! We used the wintergreen we harvested last week, which I had put up in oil, as well as a yarrow infused oil. We learned all the ingredients that went into making a salve, and decorated our own labels. The remaining salves will be sold as a little fundraiser, $5 a tin 🙂

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a great day to brew up mischief in the kitchen, since they spent the afternoon harvesting the pristine bumper crops of Nettle and garlic mustard leaf to make a wild pesto! It was SO delicious I don’t think it lasted more than twenty minutes…. and I hear that a few micro scouts got to the last of it! 

Speaking of Microscouts, again they managed to evade my camera, other than the visit with Donald. They are quickly moving up to the sneakiest class! I was told however, that they had one of the best days so far… filled with “exceptional peace and focus”. They played bust a move (a favorite moving game), hiked, ran through puddles, read stories, and sang songs. They made beautiful traditional smudge sticks using native plants, and they built their own rock people with hats. They used their walking times to practice what Tom Brown calls ‘lostproofing’ which can be done using several techniques. In the case of little ones, walking together all holding the same object (like a stick or string), the body’s sensory memory makes an imprint of walking closely with the group, without having to link aloneness with something fearful.

They even found time to paint their clay bowl and beads which they made last week. Oh – and finish the pesto.

Now we head into week 9, as winter creeps slowly towards us. The nights fall earlier, and the winds are getting crisper. The stars are brilliant and the dawns misty. The land ever fertile with gifts and beauty.



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