An enthusiastic group of young folks and adults from the Evergreen Park Public Library spent several hous on Saturday reconnecting with the skills of their ancestors. Our “Gifts of the Earth” workshop focused on respect for the Natural World, and debunked the idea that fighting wilderness is the only way to survive.

The participants constructed the skeleton of a primitive shelter using nothing but forest debris. They then learrned the safe and not-so-safe sources of natural drinking water. From natural plant material they made individual tinder bundles that were later combined and placed at the base of a model tipi fire assembled by the kids. The fire was not lit because of drought conditions in the preserve. But the audience did experience the thrill of seeing a primitive bowdrill ignite a small bundle of tinder; the tinder burst into flame in the hands of an instructor and was immediately extinguished in a metal container.

The 2-hour program was laced with some helpful “survival” tips and the audience seemed appreciative of not only the content but also the pace of the workshop.