Campfire Skills - Story of the Day

May 19, 2019

Greetings Earth Native Families!

 

Today was a day full of new friendships and skills! Students arrived to the Earth Native land full of energy and excitement for the day ahead. We got our morning started with some high energy games, including Fire in the Forest and Foxtails. We also got to practice using our fox feet with Cougar Stalks Deer, a game that focuses on awareness skills. After our game, we gathered under the Caracara pavilion for our morning circle. As we took out our yummy snacks, we began our circle by bringing our minds together in gratitude for our favorite activities to do around a campfire. Afterwards, we all sang along to one of our favorite songs here at Earth Native. We then spent some time talking about potential hazards we could encounter throughout the day, before having a more in depth discussion on fire safety.

 

After ending our morning circle we split into teams to take on our fire challenge. Instructors spoke about good fire building practices including “snap it or scrap it” and “higher is drier”. Before students began looking for the perfect fire building materials, we explained that in order to complete the challenge, each team had to build a fire strong enough to burn through a piece of twine. With much determination, students quickly began scouting the land to build up their fires. We are proud to announce that all the teams were successful! After all of our hard work, we carefully transferred our hot coals over to the firepit to create a large community fire. This set the stage for lunch time where students got to roast some of their treats over the fire. Once everyone refueled their bodies, we gathered our belongings and headed down to Creekside, the wooded area near the creek. There we played another awareness game called Fire Keeper where students got more practice using their stalking skills.

 

Our next adventure led us to the ancient fire making method known as bow drill, a challenging yet intriguing form of friction fire. To master the art of bow drill, much practice is needed to perfect form and consistently create coals. Instructors did a quick demo before introducing the components that make up a bow drill : the handhold, spindle, fire board, and bow. After learning more about how to position ones body to create the correct form, students split into teams to try this new skill. In teams one carefully pushed the spindle down into the fireboard while others would glide the bow back and forth, creating friction and heat. Students were surprised by how challenging bow drill was but thrilled to learn a new skill to make fire. Although no coals were created, the kids showed a great amount of perseverance!

 

As the day grew hotter, we all agreed it was time to head down to the creek and cool off our bodies! There students enjoyed wading in the water, water splash battles, and sliding down the infamous mudslide. Though we were having so much fun at the creek it was time to head back to CaraCara for closing circle. There, soaked and covered in mud we all shared our rose (favorite part), bud (something to look forward to) and thorn (most challenging part) of the day.

 

We had a wonderful and productive day at the Earth Native land learning about fire. We hope to see you all again soon!

 

Best,

 

Daniela and Alexa

March 26, 2017

Hello!

I hope your kids has some great stories to tell from their day here at Earth Native on Sunday. If they were a little slow to speak about it, here is a recap that will hopefully spark some fun memories to share!

We started out with a thematic game of Fire in the Forest, then circled up so that we could all get to know each other. I asked everyone to share their name, nature name (if they have one!) and their previous experience with fire. Next, my co-instructor, Diane, gave a brief talk on some of the basics of fire for survival, and then challenged the kids to break into small groups and make a fire in ten minutes! We only gave each group one match per student at first. After some mixed results the first go around, we went around to each group's fire and offered some constructive feedback. They then had another ten minutes to make improvements. Everyone ended up getting a fire the second time around!

Once we had fully explored making fire with matches, it was time to take a break for lunch. We hiked out to a really pretty part of the campus that we call Kit Fox Camp and ate lunch among the trees and grape vines. 

It was starting to get pretty hot by this time, so after lunch we went for a dip in Cedar Creek. Down by the creek, I made a bow-drill fire to demonstrate for the kids, and they wanted to try! So we again broke the kids into small groups and gave them each their own bow-drill kit to work on. Bow-drill is fire by pure friction, using all wooden materials found on the landscape. It's not easy, and while none of the students got a coal on Sunday, it is very uncommon to get a coal your first time trying. 

We spent some time by the bow-drill fire that Diane had kindled, and let the kids experiment with burning different natural materials to see which ones responded best. This is a really important skill to master and the kids had a lot of fun with it!

All too soon, it was time to head back up the hill. We all shared our highlights and low points from the day before it was time to leave.

Hope to see you all at another class soon!

 

Cheers,

Jessica

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