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10/2/18 – Mushrooms Galore with Wind Gatherers

i Nov 8th No Comments by
Last week at Camp Sealth we explored the wonders of mushrooms in the forest.  It is amazing how connected children are to mushrooms.  Have you noticed?  They are truly passionate about them and SO good at finding even the tiniest varieties.
Wandering the land in our clans we found mushrooms that were purple, one that we called “Mac and Cheese mushroom” (actually turned out to be Cauliflower Mushroom according to our book–really!), Elfin Saddle, and so many more that we couldn’t identify. We found gilled, non-gilled and Polypore mushrooms.
We also learned a joke..Why did the mushroom go to the party? Because he was a Fun Guy. Get it?
The rain is just starting to come down this Autumn, so we are hoping for more mushrooms ahead in our wanders. If you would like a fun guidebook to use with your child look for All That the Rain Promises and More by David Arora.

10/26/18 – Grandparent Day with the Fire Tenders

i Oct 31st No Comments by

The rain diminished to welcome visiting grandparents and elders for our annual Grandparents Day. We gathered around a fire with the Wind Gatherers and their and our visiting elders as a whole community. We received the opportunity to listen to the hearts of our elders in our Gratitude circle. Then Kwahn shared the history of the bow drill, that it is a form of firemaking that comes from the people of this land, a fire-making technology designed to work within Cascadia’s challenging climate of heavy moisture and rain. With embers kindled from Running Horse and Kwahn working their bow drills, we sang fire into life.

Stacey then related origin tales from VWP’s own heritage as a nature-immersion program. Where and who were the elders in the stories we heard of Stalking Wolf, Tom Brown Jr., and Jon Young, and what was the meaning of the turtle on the string? What roles did the elders play in the tales? 

From there, we Fire Tenders broke into guilds for the day. 

Kwahn’s guild went on the adventure of deepening their relationship with fire.

Together they learned about the Fire Triangle, different Fire Structures, and the different types of food Fire likes to eat. Even in the wetness of the PNW they were able to get two fires going!

Jacqui guided a group in be-friending Trees. Beginning with the blindfold activity, “Meet a Tree,” they sought a tree friend to get to know. They engaged in making bark rubbings and printing, which met with wet challenge.

Running Horse and his group made cordage, using nettle and flax, and learning about other possible materials from which one can make cordage. They learned how to splice fibers to make longer rope, and how to break nettle to remove the pith to get the fibers out.

Singing Deer led a group in learning the language of plants by way of our senses, especially of taste. What happens in our  mouths and bodies and when we experience certain tastes (sour, bitter, pungent …) and what do those sensations tell us about how a plant helps or nourishes us? After browsing various plants the group prepared an amazing evergreen huckleberry-laden Forest tea.

We regrouped in community to play an epic game of Nest Robbers (also known as Jays and Songbirds/Chickadees). Much life-and-death drama followed as songbirds struggled to bring food to their nests and to protect it from Jays. A Pygmy Owl swooped in to try to catch both Jays and Chickadees before they dove into hiding. No creature was safe anywhere from Bobcat, and Beautiful Music restored life to the fallen. What happened in the final part of the game when all these creatures were present, and only bird language could be spoken? What was your child’s experience as predators were added to the game?

Our day concluded with stories from our day and a final opportunity to hear from our visiting grandparents and elders. Elders offer love, grounding, wisdom and depth, and so much more to family and community. We are deeply grateful to have shared our day with our visitors!

10/12/18 – Clan Adventures with Fire Tenders

i Oct 19th No Comments by

Our day began with a deep mist hovering within the landscape. The mist slowly burned away, leaving beautiful beams of light dancing through the forest. Much fun was had playing the game Foxtails with Running Horse and some nature mysteries unveiled their secrets at the nature museum with Kwahn. As the sun continued to rise, we came together in gratitude and then dispersed into the wild realms.

Jacqui and her clan sought out and gathered potential material for cordage. Their venture lured them into a moist, sun dappled cedar grove as they explored the North rim of Camp Sealth. Through wander and play they deepened their connections with one another and the land.

Singing Deer’s clan discovered some story magic tucked away in the mysterious area marked as Mossy 6. From there they headed out on a wander, and ended up at the “H” pit, where much fun and projects were enjoyed. Some clan folk challenged their balance by walking a narrow log that spanned the pit, or engaged in some digging. Others headed into the woods and rediscovered a secret place. Yasmin taught how to make cordage, using a pair of bandanas to clearly demonstrate the technique. Cordage creation ensued!

Running Horse and his clan split planks out of a beautiful downed cedar tree using their cherry mallets along with yew wedges! Practicing this ancestral craft, they have begun the process of making bow-drill kits!

Kwahn’s clan went off on a venture into the forest where they marveled in nature’s beauty. Discovering mushrooms, deer tracks, chicken sorcerer beams, and more, they engaged the land through wonder and imagination. Some of us learned how to weave cordage, while others chased and caught crickets. We then practiced the art of storytelling as we did sit spots imagining up stories and then sharing them with one another.

We all came back together as our day began to draw to a close. A group began to circle around Yasmin and Jacqui continuing their cordage journey. Others played a game of hide and seek searching through the forest with Singing Deer. A mouse friend was discovered in the field that had passed. Some gathered together and hosted a beautiful funeral in our furry friends honor.

Our day concluded with an awesome game of Run Rabbit Run, and a song about Wild Ones.

10/12/18 – Community Day with Wind Gatherers

i Oct 19th No Comments by
These last two weeks of Autumn sun, big blue skies, clear starry nights, and incredible fall colors have been truly spectacular.  I hope you have had a chance to sit or stand in the awe and wonder of this season.
Last Friday the Wind Gatherers had a community day!  We divided into choice based groups and got to work connecting with our plant friends and creating delicious foods and colorful art.  One group stayed by the fire to pick huckleberries and make gluten-free, dairy-free, amazing and delicious huckleberry pancakes for the whole group.  They were fantastic and full of juicy berries.
The second group headed to the sunny meadow to experiment with creating colors and paint with plants and berries.  The kids had many inspirations based on their surroundings.  They made yellow from the hairy cat’s ear flowers, green from the sorrel leaves, pink and purple from the huckle and salal berries and of course brown out of soil and mud.  We painted cards and faces, exchanged gifts with the Fire Tenders, and explored the sunny edges together.
This group of Wind Gatherers seems to have a special chemistry that was on display after lunch.  They played and made and created and danced in and out of imaginary worlds together seamlessly.  It was the magical kind of play where kids who didn’t know each other were connecting, forts were being made and friends were welcomed in.  Some were running and running and running while others sat by the fire chatting.  Fairy houses were built and protected by the group.  Poems were written on pieces of wood.  It felt really special and magical to be a part of.