Animal tracking. Shelter building. Safe sources of drinking water. Fire made with a primitive bowdrill. These were but some of the skills learned at our Ancient Skills Workshop this past weekend in southern Wisconsin.
The students were indeed an eclectic group. Ages ranged from 8 years old to 72 years young. Outdoor experience levels ran the gamut from “pretty much” to “some” to “none at all”. But the students mixed well, supported each other, and had a great time.
The rain came and went but dampened no spirits. We simply varied the schedule and the topics to follow the rhythms of the Natural World. When we couldn’t work outdoors, we switched to indoor activities focusing on preparedness and awareness. “Symbols on the Floor” was a big hit, as were David’s presentation on animal skulls–ranging from grizzly (tagged from Alaska) to muskrat–and Ellen’s 3D, stare-e-o exercises. Our What 2 Know B4 You Go! presentation taught valuable lessons while the rain fell outside.
Sunday’s sun found the students continuing work on their bowdrills, making primitive bowls and spoons, and learning where to find safe drinking water. Perhaps the highlight of the weekend was the non-competitive event wherein student-teams competed [they couldn't help themselves] to see who could bag the most game with throwing sticks. [Please note: No animals were injured during this event, as target-logs were substituted for any small mammals that would have been suitable for dinner!]
We instructors were thrilled with the enthusiasm, flexibility, and camaraderie of the students and felt that all went home with valuable lessons learned.