May Update

Red Oak has not been holding May classes due to low enrollment :(.  The summer classes are being planned right now.  The exact times are still under consideration, but they should make the program more accessible to kids than before.  Plus.. school is out!  More information should be forthcoming soon.  Enjoy this beautiful, lush spring everyone!


Spring Session 2017

April 9th

There were two students today, Willow and Rene.  We began with a couple of games that they really enjoyed last time.  In fact, they came ready to play Camouflage by coming to class in camo clothing.  It really did help, and along with that their skill level at hiding and sneaking increased.  So of course, I had to challenge them more, giving them less time to make the transitions between trees and other riding places in the forest, and once even loosely tying them together!  All through this time, I quizzed the kids on the plant species we learned about last time, and introduced some new one.  There are always opportunities for some stealthy coyote teaching!

On the way back to the teepee, they invented a game that involved running ahead and hiding from me in all kinds of places, including up in the trees.  I walked past them several times.. very impressive!  Upon getting back to camp, we got out the goat hide (graciously donated by Willow’s parents) and began scraping it.  Rene especially got really into it.  In the mean-time, Willow was learning how to make reverse-wrap cordage from the inner bark of Basswood.  There was also some camp-set up enthusiasm, with willow evening out the scraping-beam with the draw-knife, and Rene pounding in the stretching pole.

Next came some teepee time – we made a fire (unfortunately Rene had to leave), and Willow and I got into some wonderful old-way cooking.  He cooked an egg in its shell, almost all by himself.  We also heated up a few small rocks rocks, and using maple-sapling tongues that I made the day before, transferred them to a wooden bowl.  It had chunks of Pig fat that Willow and Rene cut up with a stone knife.  The hot rocks rendered the fat quite nicely – although we over-did it a little, and out resulting “bacon” and bacon-fat got burned.  A lesson for next time!  While waiting for things to cook, Willow tried his hand at the old knife-in-wood buckskin-strip cutting technique.

After a delicious meal of the cooked foods and dried apples, we Willow and I went for a walk, talked about plants and animals, and sat quietly for a few minutes, listening to the sounds of the forest.  As we wrapped up, we talked about one activity for next class (April 23rd, as the Easter weekend is off) – to create something very flammable using only things from nature.

It was a great class, and neither the clouds nor the rain deterred us from the fun and the learning!  Here are some photos.

Spring Session 2017

April 2nd Session

The inaugural weekend of Red Oak sessions is completed!  While the group of participants has been quite small, we had lots of fun!  We played a number of super fun games involving hiding and sneaking, learned various new tree species, laid a bough floor in the teepee, practiced fire-making with a bow-drill fire kit, cooked eggs for lunch in their own shells and in “orange cups”, practiced scraping a hide for hide-tanning purposes, and enjoyed a few minutes of personal nature connection time at a secluded “sit-spot”.  Everyone came away excited, and hungry for more!

Spring Session 2017

Preparing for the Spring Session

The preparations for the spring session are under way!  It’s been very exciting to set up Camp, and to work on various lesson plans.  There is potential for so much learning!  Hide-tanning, cooking with hot rocks, camouflage stalking games, edible and medicinal plants, making and practicing with hunting weapons, shelter building.. these just of the few activities that are in the works.

The land is absolutely beautiful!  Meadows, deep hardwood forests, flowing streams, tracks of turkey and deer..  The camp itself is not far from the parking lot, yet tucked away, giving us a sense of remoteness.  I really look forward to the exploring.

At this point it is unclear how many students will attend (first classes for the two age groups are this coming weekend – April 1st and 2nd), but now matter how many or how few, we will learn much in the way of wilderness skills, and have lots of fun!

Here is some of the plan as to what’s going to happen during classes this weekend.  Subject to change!

We are going to do a little get-to-know each other activity, and then get a tour of the camp.
We will learn about how to set up the floor or a wilderness shelter, considering insulation and sanitation, and then do some of that in the teepee.
At the hide tanning station, we will get some practice scraping hides, and talk about hide-tanning.
We will go for a jaunt in the words, explore, and play some stealthy sneaking games.
During lunch, I will demonstrate a bow-drill fire, and a little pot-less egg cooking.
After lunch we will go on a walk about and learn a bit about currently available plants and what they can be used for, and play a game.
We will wrap up with an introduction to stealthy walking and movement, and do a solitary sit-spot activity, followed by a sharing of what we learned and experienced.

And here are some pictures of the camp.. waiting to greet its future guests!