December 31, 2009

AWCP final week before the holiday break

Before the Wilderness Certification Program students took a break for the holidays, we finished up with a jam packed week of fun. This included advanced firemaking skills, making fire from scratch. This time, students had to gather wild materials and try to create a friction fire totally from scratch. No saws or hatchets allowed! It was a wet, rainy day and made it especially challenging.

Also, we had another wonderful day with Karen Sherwood, this time learning about decoctions and infusions. We started our day finishing up the process of making our tinctures. They had been saturating for weeks, and were now ready to be finished.

First students filtered out the solids from liquids.

Then, we bottled them up and shared. Just in time too, as many people were starting to feel the onset of colds! Everyone felt grateful for the medicine provided by red ceder, yarrow, and Oregon grape.

We also made teas and infusions with various wild plants, including a dark, rich, coffee-like drink from the long tap root of the burdock. Here are Keith and Jason Millhouse processing the root before we roasted it.

The final day was a very special day for the students, full of naturalist challenges and games. Groups of students got into some friendly competition in trying to see who could build a friction fire first and make it large enough to pop the water balloon hanging above.

Students worked quickly, and persevered despite the abundant moisture that day.

We also played a great blindfolded game with the entire class called Nutty Squirrels, involving teams of 2. One student would be blindfolded, while the other would steer him or her into "battle." No word-based communication was allowed, only gestures or sounds. The ammunition was "acorns" in the form of balled up socks.

Great hilarity quickly ensued...

What a way to end before our winter break!

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