Earthwork Wilderness Survival Training School | 413-340-1161

A Summer Wander with Our Friends: the Plants

(Let’s Get to Know a Couple of Plants, in Depth…)

Summer and What Is Happening

Summer. What a fantastic time to get outdoors! This is the time of vacations—when we can take a break from our busy lives, spend time with family; the kids experience summer camp where lifetime memories are created.

So what’s happening in the summer in the natural world?

Birds are nesting all around us and raising their young. This is a great time to see lots of bird behavior…to see the parent birds teach their young how to fly. It is also a time to find baby birds out of their nests. The birds of prey are very active, seeking out those young birds to feed their young too.

The trees are in full leaf, creating shade for the plants below…also creating shade for us. There are so many different leaves: shapes, structures and textures that help to create photosynthesis, capturing the sun’s light with the pigment in the leaf called chlorophyll combining with carbon dioxide and water creating energy. These are little sugar factories.

The animals are rearing their young. A great time to be outdoors is around dusk or dawn—times of twilight (the magic hour)—to see the young foxes learning to hunt in the nearby fields.

The wetlands are exploding with life: newly-hatched frogs, turtles laying eggs, herons actively fishing, humans actively fishing; trout, bass and pickerel abound. Insects of all shapes and sizes—butterfly, moth, beetle, dragonfly, mosquito and more—are abundant. Birds and mammals, especially bats, and fish are delighted with the foraging potential.

Let’s Start Our Journey

Let’s start from our house. Go out the front door into our lawns. There is a plethora of wild edibles on many lawns. However before we go to the individual plant species that we will exploring, let’s pause to learn a little bit about foraging.

Historically, we’ve been foraging since the beginning of time. Our ancestors lived by their means of foraging as we are originally “hunters and gatherers.” As I make my way around interacting with native cultures and with mentors who have studied with them, I discovered that there is a deep relationship with the plant nations—from all types of food to fiber for rope, baskets and crafts, wild medicines for tinctures and salves, first aid and overall health. Every time you study and use a plant, you develop a deeper relationship with the natural world. The plants can be the foundation that connects us with all the things that are intertwined with which we are in relationship.

The Power of Native Knowledge

As we learn to look deeper at our neighbors, the plants, we also can recall how ancient peoples had an intimate relationship with plants as teachers and mentors, and many rites, stories and ceremonies were born through this connection. What I find as an incredible testament to our past is the deep knowledge of place that was, and continually is, fostered.

The Cherokee people had a deep understanding of 600 plants and their uses. The children, by their teenage years, knew 200 plants AND their uses. How many do we know?

Harvesting and Giving Back, What Is Our Intention?

When harvesting, it is important to realize that it is to be done with great care. Some people make an offering—tobacco, corn meal, a prayer, song or story. The Anishinabe use tobacco, but when Grandmother Lillian shared with me and others, she said to have the children use dry leaves that they can crush up to create a kind of fertilizer, and it was important for the children to get in the practice of an exchange.

In our classes, we let the children chose what to exchange, and sometimes it is a little bit of water or a hair from our head. With this kind of intention, there can be a link to help foster appreciation and respect for all species, not just plants. I strongly feel that if we pause in thanks and take the time to tune into our unspoken connection, we will learn much from our neighbors. To help put things in perspective, I like to point out that we wear plants and animals.

The Five “R’s”

It is important to remember where not to forage. This list will help:

  • Roadways: Highways, busy back roads, etc.
  • Rights of Way: Power lines and other easements.
  • Residences: If you don’t know if pesticides are used.
  • Railroads: There can be heavy toxins used to control growth of plants.
  • Rivers and waterways that use motor boats frequently.

Introducing the Plants

A friend of mine, Jeff Gottlieb, who teaches primitive skills, likes to categorize plants in three different ways. We have the “Grocery Store,” “Hardware Store” and “Drug Store.”

So let’s get back to our journey and meet some new friends, and if you already know these, let’s deepen that knowledge and reinforce the story we have that we can share with others.

In our yards, we have two wild plants that we will talk about in depth:

Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)—Leaves of this plant are more nutritious than many things you can buy [GROCERY STORE]. They’re higher in beta-carotene than carrots. The iron and calcium content is phenomenal, greater than spinach. You also get vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, P and D, biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc by using a tasty, free vegetable that grows on virtually every lawn. The root contains the sugar inulin, plus many medicinal substances [DRUG STORE]. The specific name, officinale, means that it’s used medicinally. The decoction is a traditional tonic. It is supposed to strengthen the entire body, especially the liver and gallbladder, where it promotes the flow of bile, reduces inflammation of the bile duct and helps get rid of gall stones. This is due to its taraxacin. It is good for chronic hepatitis; it reduces liver swelling and jaundice; and it helps indigestion caused by insufficient bile. Don’t use it with irritable stomach or bowel, or if you have an acute inflammation. (Taraxacum comes from Arabic and Persian, meaning “bitter herb.”) Dandelion leaves’ white, milky sap removes warts, moles, pimples, calluses and sores, and soothes bee stings and blisters (excerpt from Steve Brill). There is so much more…

Cattail (Typha latifolia)—The cattail is one of the most important and common wild foods, with a variety of uses at different times of the year. This is commonly known as the “supermarket of the swamp.” As my mentor Tom Brown taught me, and I continue to share with kids and families in our classes:

• The leaves, flower heads, shoots and rhizomes are food [GROCERY STORE].
• You can make rope, baskets, hats and visors with it [HARDWARE STORE].
• You can use it for fire making for the tinder and the stalk for a friction fire named hand drill (personal experience…Earthwork Programs) [HARDWARE STORE].
• The mucilaginous juice is a barrier to protect from Giardia and also is a numbing agent [DRUG STORE].

You can easily recognize a cattail stand: white, dense, furry, cigar-shaped, overwintered seed heads stand atop very long, stout stalks, even as the young shoots first emerge in early spring. People sometimes confuse cattails with the very common grass-like non-poisonous reeds (Phragmites species), which form dense stands twelve feet tall. But reeds have flag-like flowers, and leaves originating along the stalks. When the two species compete, reeds tolerate more salt, and wins out on land. But they can’t grow in shallow water, like cattails. Caution: Young cattail shoots resemble non-poisonous calamus (Acorus calamus) and poisonous daffodil (Amaryllidaceae) and iris (Iris species) shoots, which have similar leaves (excerpt from Steve Brill ).

IMPORTANT: NEVER EAT A WILD EDIBLE UNTIL YOU’VE LEARNED FROM AN EXPERT.
For more information on wild plants and their uses and classes, visit our website.

summer camp fire

At Home in the Woods SC 2 6/26-6/30, 9-3 daily

Every Week is a NEW Experience.

AT HOME IN THE WOODS SC 2

Ages 7+

June 26 (Monday)-June 30 (Friday)

9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Conway, MA

$330-$390, sliding scale ($165 non-refundable deposit required upon registration)

Earthwork Programs’ vision for Summer is to offer experiences that will introduce children to a new awareness of themselves and the natural world around them. We achieve this by immersing them in nature through adventure experiences, wilderness living skills, nature awareness, tracking, communication and community building skills, and by bringing forth native teachings from elders around the world.

REGISTER FOR SC 2 6/26-6/30

CLICK HERE FOR ALL SUMMER CAMPS (& SLIDE SHOW, TESTIMONIALS, TYPICAL CAMP DAY)

Summer Programs

Call Frank Grindrod at 413-340-1161 for more information.

summer camp

At Home in the Woods SC 3 7/3 & 7/5-7/7, 9-3 daily

Every Week is a NEW Experience.

AT HOME IN THE WOODS SC 3

Ages 7+

July 3 (Monday) & July 5 (Wednesday)-July 7 (Friday)

9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Conway, MA

$264-$312, sliding scale ($165 non-refundable deposit required upon registration)

Earthwork Programs’ vision for Summer is to offer experiences that will introduce children to a new awareness of themselves and the natural world around them. We achieve this by immersing them in nature through adventure experiences, wilderness living skills, nature awareness, tracking, communication and community building skills, and by bringing forth native teachings from elders around the world.

REGISTER FOR SC 3 7/3 & 7/5-7

CLICK HERE FOR ALL SUMMER CAMPS (& SLIDE SHOW, TESTIMONIALS, TYPICAL CAMP DAY)

Summer Programs

Call Frank Grindrod at 413-340-1161 for more information.

summer camp shelter

At Home in the Woods SC 4 7/10-7/14, 9-3 daily

Every Week is a NEW Experience.

AT HOME IN THE WOODS SC 4

Ages 7+

July 10 (Monday) -July 14 (Friday)

9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Conway, MA

$330-390, sliding scale ($165 non-refundable deposit required upon registration)

Earthwork Programs’ vision for Summer is to offer experiences that will introduce children to a new awareness of themselves and the natural world around them. We achieve this by immersing them in nature through adventure experiences, wilderness living skills, nature awareness, tracking, communication and community building skills, and by bringing forth native teachings from elders around the world.

REGISTER FOR SC 4 7/10-7/14

CLICK HERE FOR ALL SUMMER CAMPS (& SLIDE SHOW, TESTIMONIALS, TYPICAL CAMP DAY)

Summer Programs

Call Frank Grindrod at 413-340-1161 for more information.

delta summer camp

At Home in the Woods SC 5 7/17-7/21, 9-3 daily

Every Week is a NEW Experience.

AT HOME IN THE WOODS SC 5

Ages 5-7 AND 7+
(This is one of the weeks for the Little Campers–separate group!)

July 17 (Monday) -July 21 (Friday)

9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Conway, MA

$330-390, sliding scale ($165 non-refundable deposit required upon registration)

Earthwork Programs’ vision for Summer is to offer experiences that will introduce children to a new awareness of themselves and the natural world around them. We achieve this by immersing them in nature through adventure experiences, wilderness living skills, nature awareness, tracking, communication and community building skills, and by bringing forth native teachings from elders around the world.

REGISTER FOR SC 5 7/17-7/21

CLICK HERE FOR ALL SUMMER CAMPS (& SLIDE SHOW, TESTIMONIALS, TYPICAL CAMP DAY)

Summer Programs

Call Frank Grindrod at 413-340-1161 for more information.

making fire bow drill

At Home in the Woods SC 6 7/24-7/28, 9-3 daily

Every Week is a NEW Experience.

AT HOME IN THE WOODS SC 6

Ages 5-7 AND 7+
(This is one of the weeks for the Little Campers–separate group!)

July 24 (Monday) -July 28 (Friday)

9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Conway, MA

$330-390, sliding scale ($165 non-refundable deposit required upon registration)

Earthwork Programs’ vision for Summer is to offer experiences that will introduce children to a new awareness of themselves and the natural world around them. We achieve this by immersing them in nature through adventure experiences, wilderness living skills, nature awareness, tracking, communication and community building skills, and by bringing forth native teachings from elders around the world.

REGISTER FOR SC 6 7/24-7/28

CLICK HERE FOR ALL SUMMER CAMPS (& SLIDE SHOW, TESTIMONIALS, TYPICAL CAMP DAY)

Summer Programs

Call Frank Grindrod at 413-340-1161 for more information.

making cordage summer camp

At Home in the Woods SC 7 8/14-8/18, 9-3 daily

Every Week is a NEW Experience.

AT HOME IN THE WOODS SC 7

Ages 5-7 AND 7+
(This is one of the weeks for the Little Campers–separate group!)

August 14 (Monday) -August 18 (Friday)

9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Conway, MA

$330-390, sliding scale ($165 non-refundable deposit required upon registration)

Earthwork Programs’ vision for Summer is to offer experiences that will introduce children to a new awareness of themselves and the natural world around them. We achieve this by immersing them in nature through adventure experiences, wilderness living skills, nature awareness, tracking, communication and community building skills, and by bringing forth native teachings from elders around the world.

REGISTER FOR SC 7 8/14-8/18

CLICK HERE FOR ALL SUMMER CAMPS (& SLIDE SHOW, TESTIMONIALS, TYPICAL CAMP DAY)

Summer Programs

Call Frank Grindrod at 413-340-1161 for more information.

get kids outdoors

At Home in the Woods SC 8 8/21-8/25, 9-3 daily

Every Week is a NEW Experience.

AT HOME IN THE WOODS SC 8

Ages 5-7 AND 7+
(This is one of the weeks for the Little Campers–separate group!)

August 21 (Monday) -August 25 (Friday)

9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Conway, MA

$330-390, sliding scale ($165 non-refundable deposit required upon registration)

Earthwork Programs’ vision for Summer is to offer experiences that will introduce children to a new awareness of themselves and the natural world around them. We achieve this by immersing them in nature through adventure experiences, wilderness living skills, nature awareness, tracking, communication and community building skills, and by bringing forth native teachings from elders around the world.

REGISTER FOR SC 8 8/21-8/25

CLICK HERE FOR ALL SUMMER CAMPS (& SLIDE SHOW, TESTIMONIALS, TYPICAL CAMP DAY)

Summer Programs

Call Frank Grindrod at 413-340-1161 for more information.

wilderness first aid lit

LIT + Wilderness 1st Aid 7/3 & 7/5-7/7, 9-3 daily

Every Week is a NEW Experience.

LEADER IN TRAINING (LIT) + WILDERNESS FIRST AID TRAINING

Ages Preteen & Teen

July 3 (Monday) & July 5 (Wednesday)-July 7 (Friday)

9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Conway, MA

FOR LIT ONLY: $264-$312, sliding scale ($165 non-refundable deposit required upon registration)

FOR LIT PLUS WILDERNESS FIRST AID TRAINING (8 hours, book & certificate): $450-$510, sliding scale ($225 non-refundable deposit required upon registration)

Leader in Training (LIT) Camp offers the opportunity for preteens and teens to practice their wilderness skills as well as learn how to peer mentor.

Upon completion of the LIT week, participants are assessed and may have the opportunity to attend any or all At Home in the Woods Programs as an LIT for half price! There are LIMITED spots for LITs at each At Home in the Woods week (ONLY 2/WEEK RECEIVE LIT DISCOUNT)…so be sure to register early!

WILDERNESS FIRST AID TRAINING!

LITs who are interested in becoming Wilderness First Aid certified are invited to choose this option. It will include 8 hours of training during LIT week along with the book and a certificate (which is good for 3 years).

REGISTER FOR LIT ONLY 7/3 & 7/5-7
REGISTER FOR LIT + WILDERNESS 1ST AID 7/3 & 7/5-7

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT LIT

Leader in Training (LIT) Camp

Call Frank Grindrod at 413-340-1161 for more information.

martial arts wilderness skills way of the scout

Way of the Scout

Monday, July 31-Friday, August 4, 2017, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., with an overnight Thursday-Friday!
$400-$450, sliding scale; $200 nonrefundable deposit required.
10+ year olds who have attended At Home in the Woods or 1 of our seasonal Programs

Wilderness Skills and Martial Arts

Limited Spots! (10)

While attending our At Home in the Woods Summer Programs, your children learn wilderness skills that the “village” does together.

In Way of the Scout, your children learn how to develop proficiency with their own skills. They will practice:
* advanced firemaking, shelter building and camouflage
* blindfold activities
* learning to listen to inner vision…meditation
* water stalking
* night movement (how to move in the night without a flashlight)
* calling in owls
* campfire stalking

They will learn martial arts movements, animal forms, advanced stalking and stick fighting (a way to learn balance, coordination and strength). Warriorship training is not about war…it’s about being able to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves…very empowering for all!

With a close-knit community, we will all help each other grow into the Way of the Scout.

REGISTER FOR WAY OF THE SCOUT

 

 

Page 1 of 212