March 4, 2010

February at the Certification Program

Another jam-packed month at Alderleaf has come and gone. Signs of spring are appearing all over campus. The voices of birds grows louder everyday. Frogs singing in the evenings and buds are popping all over the place. Even the first bumble bees of spring have made an appearance!

The month of February has been an exciting one for the Alderleaf Wilderness Certification Program. We have continued forward on our learning journey and covered a lot of new ground. Students did everything from making cattail mats and soothing cottonwood salves with Karen Sherwood, to practicing making primitive survival traps with Jason Knight.

One day we had guest instructor Dave Scott come in and teach about the amazing world of bird wings and feathers, their functions, and how to identify them using a several teared method.

On another great day students learned about and experienced the practices of habitat restoration and forest stewardship. Native plants were added to the native restoration area at the entrance to the farm. Also, students got to plant between 150 and 200 small Douglas firs and western red cedars as part of the stewardship process in the wooded areas of the property. Thus, encouraging our forests to move towards the complex and diverse structure that mirror the old-growth.

While learning more about primitive living and survival skills, students spent another day learning a variety of methods for water purification. The oldest and one of the simplest forms is through boiling the water to destroy any potential parasites. But first, you have to make a container! There in lies the need to create bowls via burning with coals from the fire. Here Certification Program student Greg Evans demonstrates the technique.

During a 3 day permaculture session with instructor Adam Rawson, students had an opportunity to look at the idea of building from a new perspective: biotecture! Biotectures are living structures that come in many forms. The class worked on creating a living structure out of young alders, which will provide a gathering space for guests and future classes. As the alders grow, they will be encouraged to grow together and form a living roof which might someday even be tight enough to keep out the winter rain!

The shortest month of the year is over, but March has arrived and the adventure and learning continues!

Come visit our blog soon for more updates.

No comments: