Today is Father’s Day and in that spirit Turtle Island Preserve (TIP) hosted a Father/Son Camp this weekend. I was contacted earlier in the week with a request to teach a class at this event. I was available and so prepared to teach basic survival skills and brought materials for hands-on learning.
I always enjoy sharing my passion with others and having the fathers accompany these young boys was a throw-back to home-schooling my own sons. The boys ranged from approximately 12-8 years old and holding a class for two and a half hours went quite well with participation by all. The class was joined by some TIP staff and one of their fathers so it spanned several generations.
After discussing the priorities of survival I began to construct a campfire showing the progression of tinder-to-kindling-to-fuel. As I batoned some wood to create kindling the boys were able to practice using ferro rods to light cattail fluff. After some coals were established I used two cans of different sizes to clam-shell over a yam and let it bake. Then I passed around some edible flora that I had collected earlier in the morning for hands-on inspection and tasting.
We spent some time learning different ways to create fire by using solar, electrical, and percussion methods. Everyone had a chance to try flint and steel firecraft and I demonstrated how to make “Quickie Charcloth” with which to catch a spark. We had numerous victories of making fire!
As the class was held in the late afternoon I was able to stay for dinner at the famous “Nacho Mama” cafe which is the TIP dining area. The meals there are always great and varied. It was a great time with wonderful folks and made my father’s day weekend that much more special.