After teaching a primitive/survival skills class at the Father/Son Camp three weeks ago I returned to Turtle Island Preserve to teach two classes at the Older Boys Camp where the boys ranged in age from approximately 14-17 years old. The classes were two and a half hours each. The class was also joined by some TIP staff with participation by all.
In usual fashion we discussed the priorities of survival. I began to construct a campfire showing the progression of tinder-to-kindling-to-fuel. As I battoned 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 celebrated with each individual who was able to achieve this method of making fire!
Between classes Eustace Conway stopped by to chat with me about his vision for Turtle Island Preserve and that he encouraged instructors to include cultural aspects of our craft beyond technique and how they relate to sustainability in contrast to modern society.
You can follow the activities of Turtle Island Preserve at their website where you can register for classes and events that they offer.