Deep in the night I was woken by coyotes, and I realized it had been a week or better since I’d last heard them. They seemed farther away than usual, and I lifted head from pillow to better gauge the distance. Three-quarters of a mile, I decided, though it could just have easily been more. Or less. The dog slept at my side, not even stirring at the ruckus, and I was reminded of how much she’s aged, which in turn reminded me of a story I’m working on, about a large animal vet around these parts, a man nearing retirement after decades of veterinary service. He’s an institution, really, and the very first call I accompanied him on was to a small hill farm a ways south of here, where he put down the family’s beloved and tumor-riddled hound before crossing the road to the barn, where he spun the testicles off a year-old bull with a power drill. Then we left, dog dead in the pasture, bull dazed and confused (rightfully so, I’d say), balls going cold on the compost pile.
Then the coyotes stopped calling, and I stopped remembering things, and soon I was asleep again.
It is through immersive, hands on, participatory experiences in nature that connections to the wild are made deepest. Crafts are made to be used and not merely admired; wild foods are not a novelty, but rather the basis for nutritive meals; the forest isn’t simply a place to visit, but a vibrant eco-system in which we thrive and grow.
In this camp we will spend the first four days working on crafts and learning skills to take with us out into the woods for the three-day, three-night immersion period. We will create burden baskets out of willow and rawhide to carry our gear, as well as tree bark dishes and a cattail visor to protect our eyes from the sun. Other projects can include bow drill kits, plant fiber cordage, and wooden spoons, all from natural materials found in the surrounding forest.
Preparation Days: August 6th – 9th we’ll meet from 9am-3pm at our Lazy Mill Living Arts base camp. During these days our focus will be on readying crafts and foods that we will use out in the forest. This year the projects will be rawhide burden baskets, bark dishes, spoons and cattail visors. Throughout the day we will also play awareness games, cool off in the nearby stream, and work on camp skills.
Overnights: August 10th-12th students will get dropped at 9 am on Tuesday the 10th and be picked up at 3pm on Friday the 12th. For the overnights we will take the woods skills we’ve learned and crafts we’ve made with us out into the Steam Mill Brook Wildlife Management Area, where we’ll camp under lightweight tarp shelters, fish and forage for our meals, play nature games, explore the wilderness, tell stories, and laugh.
Please know that we always do our best to accommodate financial need; don’t hesitate to contact us at 802-533-2085 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. And please don’t let a lack of camping/outdoor gear stop you from signing up. We can help!