Could Katniss & Peeta build a warm & waterproof shelter, find water, and start a fire without any man-made device? The folks who attended our workshop on March 22, 2012 could.

The young adults’ librarian at the Elmwood Park (Illinois) Library hosted a “Hunger Games” event on the eve of the premier of the much-anticipated movie. We were invited to teach the HG fans survival skills that would benefit Katniss in her quest to survive the games.

Tim & Ron began by having the audience make small tinder bundles (for later fire-starting) while teaching them the “Rule of 3s”, a simple shorthand method to remember what is important in a survival situation and in what order.

The students then built the skeleton of a leaf hut, a simple structure made of forest debris that provides a perfect camouflaged shelter. Safe water-gathering techniques provided the basis for the next topic of discussion. And the evening ended with a demonstration of fire-starting, using both a primitive bowdrill and a flint and steel and the tinder bundles made earlier by the audience.

All participants went home with greater confidence in their ability to meet the challenges faced by the 24 contestants in the “games”. Some in fact went straight to local theaters to catch the midnight showing of the premier.