It was a beautiful day on Saturday as the Forest Trackers met at Wrangler! Our morning began with a few different games including awareness-building “Flinch Master,” the fast moving “Foxtails,” and the altogether fun “Oh no! I’m Poop.”
After much play, the Forest Trackers met together to sing a song, speak out their gratitude, and share nature updates from the past month. When asked about signs they had noticed alerting them to the arrival spring, the Forest Trackers excitedly created a long list: new buds, daffodils, hatching turtles in Hawaii, nettle shoots, chickweed growth, more sun, and miner’s lettuce.
Ari told the story of the spring she became a turtle mother while rescuing eggs and doing research on snapping turtles in Acadia National Park, Maine. Excited to continue searching for signs of spring, the Forest Trackers split into choice based groups. Steph led a native plant wander. Her clan stopped to observe, sketch, and learn new species. All members of the group made it down the to beach and back-up–an awesome and challenging trek that provided great views through a variety of forest habitat
The remaining Forest Trackers learned about essentials to survival and the importance of making shelters when lost. We traveled about to find a good shelter site with an abundant supply of sticks and leaves and split into four groups to create. The Forest Trackers began by building a skeleton made of a long ridge pole with many rib sticks. One group experimented with their design using stumps than Y-sticks to prop their ridgepole off the ground. Another group used two ridge poles to create a wide shelter that five people could sit under, and one group choose to build a shelter in a tree. With a strong foundation set, the teams interlaced hemlock whispies and downed branches, and began piling up leaves. Debris is important in creating a shelter that is warm and dry. Leaves, pine needles, and sticks provide dead air space for body heat to get trapped and keep all inside warm. The tight debris huts were built to keep two to five people warm and dry and needed over two feet of leaves to get the job done. The students pulled together to collect all they could while still taking moments to snack, talk, have fun, and notice signs of spring.
At the end of our day, all the students climbed into their shelters to endure a “rainstorm”. Over two water bottles were poured on the debris shelter and not a single head, toe, body, or nose got wet! The clans came back together to share skits and play a final game of Nutty Squirrel.
We hope your Forest Tracker had a great day exploring.
Please join us in welcoming internationally renowned activist, environmentalist, and farmer, Winona LaDuke to Vashon! Enjoy a festive evening with live music and an uplifting talk by Winona LaDuke and local indigenous leaders to raise money for her organization, Honor the Earth.
Winona is an internationally-acclaimed authority on indigenous environmental justice issues, which she balances by leading on-the-ground initiatives that support restorative economies, land rights, renewable energy and local food systems. A graduate of Harvard and Antioch, Winona has lived and worked on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota for decades, and was a two time vice presidential candidate with Ralph Nader for the Green Party.
Honor The Earth Fundraiser with Winona LaDuke
March 10th at Open Space for Arts & Community
Main event starts at 7 pm; doors open at 6:30. Tickets are $25/person ($15/students/seniors)
A special reception with Winona is at 6-7. Tickets are $150/person.
Tickets available online here and at Vashon Bookshop.
What a beautiful day on the land we had! If an eagle flying over Camp Sealth had looked down it would have seen many wild and wonderful things!
On Friday, the oldest clan had a sit spot while checking in with the land, the plants, and animals. Is this a good place for a shelter? The natural canopy of hemlock trees clutching the remains of nurse logs certainly seemed so. But what messages do we receive from the woods when we stop and sit and listen?
Maybe we have thoughts occur to us, maybe it feels like it comes from elsewhere. Maybe an animal calls out at an auspicious moment or after a particular comment. And our humanness tends to love that sort of thing. Also, what do we notice with our eyes? What is the history of this land? How fragile is that nursery log? Can it handle foot traffic? Are there any rare species or microclimates nearby? What resources are close by to build with? How much will we impact this space by building and playing and learning here?
The oldest clan took this to heart and made maps and lists, of everything they could put a name to that they could see. And the verdict: yes!
In the exploration and building to follow, so much magic was found. Red capped lichen towers galore, cedar snags, ferns and a beautiful canopy was built.
Under that canopy, we spoke of challenges and each of us took one upon ourselves. Maybe they can be done alone, maybe we’ll need help. Maybe you’ll hear about it. Maybe you won’t and it’s already happening!
Another group of Fire Tenders set out with Hawk to wander and explore. They observed signs of spring such as nettle coming up and new salmonberry shoots. They had a fantastic time doing some parkour training off trail down to the beach and climbed back up the hill in record time, taking in and breathing energy from the trees.
The remaining Fire Tenders were busy at work creating a debris shelter. After traveling about to find a good shelter site with an abundant supply of sticks and leaves, the Fire Tenders began building a skeleton long ridge pole and many rib sticks. With a strong foundation set, they interlaced hemlock wispies and began piling up leaves. The tight debris hut was built to keep three people warm and dry and needed over two feet of leaves to get the job done. The students pulled together to collect all they could while taking moments to notice signs of spring and perch up in a few trees. A few brave Fire Tenders climbed in to endure a “rainstorm”. Over seven water bottles were poured on the debris shelter and not a single head, toe, body, or nose got wet! Many were inspired to continue building shelters and to sleep out at the end of the year!
Other highlights of our day included a hilarious game of Oh no! I’m Poop!, a wonderful story of Rabbit’s Inner Song, and deep questions that were shared so open-heartedly!
We hope your Fire Tender had a expansive day and is now enjoying their mid-winter break adventures!