Earthwork Wilderness Survival Training School | 413-340-1161

Earthwork Survival Skills with Zoar

This Program is an introduction to survival fires, shelter building and discovering wild edibles.

Learn skills that have been passed down for generations: starting fires without a match, building shelters that could save your life in an emergency situation, identifying and gathering wild edibles, and recognizing medicinal plants. Learn the skills to have peace of mind in the woods as well as be prepared for comfort in the outdoors without a tent.

Classes take place on the 90 acres on and around Zoar Outdoor in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains and Deerfield River Valley. No prior experience is required.

All full-day Programs will provide a delicious picnic-style lunch with salads, homemade breads for deli-style sandwiches, cookies and, perhaps, foraged edibles prepared over an open fire. A sheath with knife will also be provided for you.

Classes will be held rain or shine; please be prepared to be outdoors in the event of rain.

October 15, October 22, October 29
November 5, November 12, November 19

10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Minimum Age: 14, or 10 with an accompanying adult

$120/adult, $100/child; 50% deposit required

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER THROUGH ZOAR: http://www.zoaroutdoor.com/instruction/earthworks-survival-skills.htm

Emergency Survival & Self-Sufficiency Skills Workshop

FOR ADULTS ONLY

Be Prepared…Not Scared

The weather in New England can be robust. We’ve seen drought, tornadoes and microbursts, hurricanes, freak snowstorms in October and severe thunderstorms after winters of an abundance of snow. Maybe the ice storms of Winter 2008 or Halloween Snowstorm 2011 brought an “emergency” to your door step? These storms are powerful teachers. We are reminded that we need each other and need to have certain awareness and skills.

Come to our hands-on workshop–an introduction to survival skills…and living in harmony with the Earth. Shelter, water, fire and food will be covered.

$50/person PREPAID (add $10 if pay day of)

Emergency Prep & Self-Sufficiency Skills

REGISTER HERE

Call 413-340-1161 for more information.

(the last Wild Edibles of 2016 is today, 1-4 pm)

Earthwork Survival Skills w/Zoar

 

This Program is an introduction to survival fires, shelter building and discovering wild edibles.

Learn skills that have been passed down for generations: starting fires without a match, building shelters that could save your life in an emergency situation, identifying and gathering wild edibles, and recognizing medicinal plants. Learn the skills to have peace of mind in the woods as well as be prepared for comfort in the outdoors without a tent.

Classes take place on the 90 acres on and around Zoar Outdoor in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains and Deerfield River Valley. No prior experience is required.

All full-day Programs will provide a delicious picnic-style lunch with salads, homemade breads for deli-style sandwiches, cookies and, perhaps, foraged edibles prepared over an open fire. A sheath with knife will also be provided for you.

Classes will be held rain or shine; please be prepared to be outdoors in the event of rain.

October 15, October 22, October 29
November 5, November 12, November 19

10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Minimum Age: 14, or 10 with an accompanying adult

$120/adult, $100/child; 50% deposit required

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER THROUGH ZOAR: http://www.zoaroutdoor.com/instruction/earthworks-survival-skills.htm

Earth Skills Workshop

with Frank Grindrod & Jeff Hatch!

Spend the day learning basic bushcrafting skills, wild edibles and medicinal foraging, friction fire with bowdrill, natural cordage & more!

Steadman Pond, Monterey, MA
$75
EMAIL FRANK @ EARTHWORKPROGRAMS.COM

REGISTER ONLINE

EARTHWORK-AUGUST-14-EVENT

Way of the Scout

way of scout 14Monday, August 1-Friday, August 5, 2016, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., with an overnight Thursday-Friday!
$380-$430, sliding scale; $150 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)
REGISTER HERE

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.

SUMMER CAMPS 2016 SCHEDULE

ALL Summer Camps (Leader in Training, At Home in the Woods, Way of the Scout and Hunter-Gatherer) are held in Conway, MA.

All weeks are Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EXCEPT JULY 4 WEEK–Tuesday, 7/5-Friday, 7/8.

June 20-24: At Home in the Woods SC1, ages 7+
June 27- July 1: At Home in the Woods SC2, ages 7+
July 5-8 (Tuesday-Friday): At Home in the Woods SC3, ages 7+ ($252-$300, sliding scale, for 4 days)
July 11-15: At Home in the Woods SC4, ages 7+
July 18-22: At Home in the Woods SC5, ages 5 to 7 AND 7+
July 25-July 29: At Home in the Woods SC6, ages 7+
August 15-August 19: At Home in the Woods SC7, ages 7+

(As weeks fill, we will note **FULL** and will start waitlists for those Programs.)

Unless noted, all weeks are $315-$375, sliding scale, per child per week ($150 nonrefundable deposit due upon registration)

———————————————————————————————-

SPECIFICALLY FOR PRETEENS & TEENS:

Leader in Training 2016–July 5-8 (Tuesday-Friday): Leader in Training*, ages 12+. $252-$300, sliding scale, per child (FOR 4 DAYS) ($150 nonrefundable deposit due upon registration).
* Leader in Training: Specifically for those interested in becoming a peer mentor (see below for more)
Way of the Scout—August 1-5, ages 10+ (pre-requisite: child must attend At Home in the Woods or an Earthwork Programs weekly seasonal Program prior to attending). $380-$430, sliding scale; $150 nonrefundable deposit required.
Hunter-Gatherer—August 8-12, ages 12+. $315-$375, sliding scale; $150 nonrefundable deposit required.

Igniting the Fire Within–Earthwork Expedition

$250 discount for full payment received by February 11! So, only $2,749/person for 8 days/7 nights in New Mexico…learning wilderness skills and “igniting the fire within”

EXPEDITIONS ARE BACK! Earthwork Programs in partnership with Blossom Journeys presents:

 

“Igniting the Fire Within”

Ancient Landscapes & Skills in New Mexico

8 days & 7 nights
Hiking, Practicing Survival Skills, Kayaking & so much more!
Limited to 16
 
Does your spirit soar when you disconnect and get out into nature? Develop self sufficiency and confidence in the great outdoors with 8 days of personalized instruction by Wilderness Survival Expert, Frank Grindrod and his Earthwork Team.
This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to join a small group of like-minded individuals and discover the skills that allowed ancient cultures to live in harmony with Mother Earth.

Take Action Now! Book before February 11th to take advantage of the $250 price reduction.

 
Tour Inclusions:
  • Daily wilderness skills building with Frank Grindrod
  • One-on-One skills building with 2 additional Earthwork Team Leaders
  • Tracking in White Sands National Park
  • Day hike into Santa Fe National Forest
  • Guided Kayaking trip on the Rio Grande
  • Locally guided exploration of the ruins at Pecos National Historic Park
  • Visit to Petroglyph National Monument
  • Tour the Mescalero Apache Cultural Center with a tribe member
  • Round-trip airport transfers
  • All local tour related transportation
  • 4 nights’ accommodation in a Santa Fe National Forest area lodge
  • 3 nights’ accommodation in a Ruidoso area lodge
  • 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 6 dinners
 
$2,999/person*
 
SPECIAL OFFER! $250 DISCOUNT FOR PAYMENT RECEIVED BY FEB 11…$2,749/person*
 
*Rates are based on double-occupancy. Does not include travel to New Mexico.
Blossom Journeys will make every attempt to match singles with a roommate. If a roommate is not available, a single supplement will apply.
 
REGISTER BY EMAIL TO frank @ earthworkprograms.com . Subject line: “Southwest Expedition Registration”
You can also contact Jenn Suprenant of Blossom Journeys (774-402-0861jennsuprenant @ gmail.com)
(note: remove spaces between @ sign in email addresses)

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

F&M Great Swamp FallAs we walk into the forest, we see all the different types trees, and we know, somehow, that they all have a purpose in life, just like we do. We notice many have lost their leaves this time of year, and the forest looks completely different—kind of empty because you can see so far, and it is very open. However, that is just the surface; let’s look closer.

The conifers take center stage with their deep green and contrast to the snow; while they do shed their needles, they are primarily green all year, which is why they are called “evergreens.”

Using touch—reach out and feel the needles

hemlock branchWhen we reach out and feel the needles, and when we rubbed them in our hands and smell, there is that amazing pine scent reminiscent of a Christmas tree—that strong aroma that can remind us of the holidays.

Visual things to watch for

As we look even closer, we notice really short needles (less than an inch) that are flat and on the underside, there are distinct white lines like racing stripes; this is an excellent identification characteristic. It also has the tiniest little stem you can barely see. In botanical terms, when you look it up in your field guide, this is called a “petiole.”

Feel the texture of the bark

These trees have really smooth bark when very young, and as they get older, it becomes stiff and deeply furrowed (creating indented grooves). Look at many different trees—young and old—and compare the feeling of the bark, and how the young ones are really tender and the older ones are like a rock.

hemlock 2Natural history viewing our past

In the 1800s, Eastern hemlock (Tsuga Canadenses) was used heavily; these trees would be anywhere from 250 to 800 years old. They were harvested in great numbers and were sought after for a special quality they possess: great amounts of tannic acid—up to 12%—used for tanning hides and preserving leather; the outer bark was used and soaked. Some of the hides were kept in vats (barrels of soaking tannins) for up to six months in order for them to turn the dark tea color and create a preserve and coloring for the produced leather. Hemlock tanneries were all over the Northeast, and they shipped the hides from here all over the world.

What I have personally seen, and you can too!

hemlock 1In the picture, you can see the needles and the bark. You can see underneath the very outer light brown bark, there is a dark purple color; this is a great characteristic for being able to identify Eastern hemlock.

What use are these trees now? They are a tremendous resource for wildlife: the needles create shade to give animals and birds cover. So they are used for nesting, denning and protection from the elements.

I often find many deer and moose in these areas…tracks, signs and tons of “browse” (feeding sign). This is where deer “yard up” (all stay in same area communally); this helps create safety in numbers and helps avoid being surprised by coyotes. It also makes it easier for them to move, because they pack down the snow to conserve their energy during these hard winter months.

I’ve also found coyotes’ beds, which look like circles; the heat from the coyote’s body melts out the impression of its nose where he/she is melting snow with the breath.

Outdoor challenge and scavenger hunt you can do with your children

See if you can find the interior bark that is purple. Hint: When you look around at the base of the tree, you can see the flakey bark chips; look under there.

Tracks and sign: if you look on the very tops of the branches, close to the trunk, you will often see squirrel territorial teeth marking sign, or going up a mature tree, you can see the claw marks and sometime bite marks of our black bears climbing since they use Eastern hemlock as babysitter trees (mama sends her cubs up them in times of danger or when she is away for long periods).

And at the bottom of the hemlocks, underneath the dense needles protecting from the wind and elements, you can find deer, fox, moose and bear beds. Let’s not forget the calling cards of raccoon and porcupine too—scat!

If you find little holes and black powder on the ground and through the roots, it’s possible you have found Truffles (fungus).

Can you find the little Hemlock cones that look like little tiny pine cones—about ½ inch. Can you find the racing stripes on the underside of the needles?

Ancient Times and Early Humans: A View of the Past

Let’s look at early humans and how they and their tools changed over time.

We need to see through the eyes of archeologists and anthropologists to learn the specific skills and tools for dating artifacts and linking them to specific time periods.

This means we need to use our tracking skills! Lets get started…

hunter gatherer diarama

Hunter-Gatherer

Imagine you are taking a journey back in time to 2.5 million years ago. There was fuzzy creature hunched over with a large extended jaw and human-like form with long arms and a long trunk breaking rocks. This animal is our ancestor hominid (human-like creature). They were a primate that could walk upright but still had trunk and arm adaptations for climbing trees. They also slept in trees for protection from predators. Our distant ancestor stood only about three feet tall.

How do we know this? Clues left behind that have been preserved. Archeology is the scientific study of historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts. By studying their bones and tools we come up with ideas about them and their culture; it is like putting together a puzzle.

The bones become stone over time by a process called fossilization. These fossils can last for millions of years. Wow! Archeologists have also found pieces of various stones that have been chipped in a predictable manner with significant controlled force for a similar result. Tools!

Enter the Age of the Tool Maker

1-stone tools

Stone Tools

Look at the picture of the projectile points pottery and resin on an animal skin that was tanned for use of clothing, bags, etc.

These artifacts – the three on the left with 2 that are broken and all lightly colored are great tracks left behind that I share during our classes where we make stone tools and teach about ancient civilizations. Its one thing to read about it, but to actually MAKE it gives a deep respect for the artist and craftsmen these people were.

1-making stone tools with resin

Making Stone Tools with Resin

From an atl atl, a tool designed to throw spear shafts, the point can be seen on the far left with the upside down v that looks yellowish, is from the archaic period. According to my good friend Charlie Paquin, an Experiential Archeologist, which is someone who does not just study things they find but they also replicate it by making it themselves, this artifact also has a worn point which could be from hitting something hard like bone or a rock when launched from the atl atl, or it could have been used as a drill.

Here is a List of Exciting Finds We Continue to Discover

Africa’s Olduvai site: discovered hominid bone remains dated at 2 million years old.

Shanidar Cave in the Zagaros Mts of Iraq found eight prehistoric people over a 100,000 years old.

Oldest fire remains, evidenced by a ring of rocks, big ash deposits and stone tools, indicate habitation. This 790,000 years old site was discovered along the Jordan River in Israel.

in Beaches Pit in England, Archeologists found fragments of stone around fires dating back 400,000 years ago. These were flakes hit in a precise way with pressure that would break stone in a predictable way to create an edged tool.

Clay-fired vessels from 18,000 years ago were found in China. One of the first containers was a steatite-type soap stone that could be shaped with stone and set directly on the coals of fire.

There is so much to learn from our past that can help us understand our future.
Enjoy the outdoors.

Re-Awaken a Long-Lost Tradition of Gathering Wild Food as a Family!

Let’s Get NUTS!!

Hickory HarvestThere are all kinds of fall events. In addition to going for a hike and seeing the foliage, how about harvesting some nuts to prepare and eat?

There’s an amazing tree in the forest right here around us that will help us develop a stronger connection to the natural world. This is such an important part of our patterning on nature that plants seeds for the rest of our development and our ch
This tree is strong, majestic, camouflaged and blends in well with the other trees and not well known by sight, but totally worth the effort in recognizing how to find it…once you can find it. Next you have to figure out which one tastes the best because there are different kinds of hickory trees.ildren and how we will interact for years to come.

It’s not often that you hear people talk about hickories—they are not well known—so let’s go over some identification details that will be helpful in being able to develop the secret to finding this tree and some wild edible foraging skills too.

As we get started, direct your focus on looking at the different habitats in your area and aspects of the trees, bark, leaves (on the ground which may be easier to reach) and up in the tree, note branching structure and nuts and outer coating (husk). Find an area that has a lot of oaks, because we are looking for an oak-hickory forest type. Trees need to be older than 40 years for producing nuts; the younger trees will not.

Hickory TreeMichael Wojtech has a fantastic book, Bark: a Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast. I highly recommend it, and this will help give you some really great images and great detail on what to look for. We are fortunate that he has shared an image with us here in the article. I am feeling very grateful for all his research and his graciousness in sharing the knowledge.Most the time when you find hickory nuts they will be right under your feet. They are likely to be in an area that has a lot of squirrel activity; also blue jays are active in eating and caching (storing) them too. There are many kinds of wildlife feeding on this bounty: deer, bears, turkey, raccoons. You may find tracks and signs of their feeding, climbing and presence. You might even find the nuts on the pavement of the roads, parking lots, and other parks, golf courses and recreation areas. (Be mindful of the use of pesticid
Start to create maps of the area of your favorite spots and begin to look forward to visiting those special places around harvesting times every year. As a forager, this is a good thing to pay attention to and develop the habit of. Create special names and stories about these places, and soon you will want to return often, whether you are harvesting or not.es where you are harvesting food.)After gathering for a little bit, you might want to add a little excitement, if necessary.GAME: Nutty Squirrels–In this activity, you are a family of squirrels. By noticing the types of trees, are you able to find from where the hickories are coming (which is the parent tree?)? This is a great way to utilizefield guides and general observation skills. How many nuts can we gather as a group in a certain time limit? Ready set go!
You can always weave in predator-prey dynamics; lots of animals and birds eat squirrels!

Hickory in ShellBack to figuring out which nuts we have. Once you have the nuts in your hand, you can find out whether or not they are hard hickory nuts or soft? Why is this important? This will help in identification and to help you be successful in picking the best tasting ones and which to gather.

Look closely at the features of the nut. Is the husk thick or thin? When I say “thick,” I mean like a quarter- to half-inch thick. “Thin” is similar to an acorn shell, sometimes thinner.

Next, you need to shell and crack your nut. If it cracks really easily, you have what’s called a “soft hickory.” If it cracks really hard and the shells are like rocks, you have a hard hickory. There are two different groups of hickories: hard and soft.
Since there are no poisonous hickories, you can experiment and may be lucky enough to find Pignut Hickory, which is a thin-husked hickory with a hard shell similar to Shagbark but a little bigger in size and more nutmeat inside. This is the PRIZE one that can double your harvesting efforts.This is really helpful because the hard hickories with the hard shell have the sweet nutmeat inside. The soft hickories have the bitter nutmeat; at least it needs to be leached (take out tannins) and can still be edible. We are going to focus on the ones that do not need the extra step of leaching. These are the Shagbark and Pignut Hickories

Hickory Shell.

I have found that Shagbark and Pignut together are excellent. There is some information out there that says Pignut is bitter, but I think they’re confusing that with Bitternut. It can be a little confusing, so let’s focus on the hard and sweet hickories this time.

You can crack nuts i

ndividually, similar to the walnuts you get in the store, using a pick and getting the nutmeat out (which really makes the effort worth it when you taste the goodness). It can take about 20 minutes, and you can have a generous handful.

Teagan Crushing Hickory NutsThere is a learning curve of breaking the nuts to access them. You will find that some of them are hard to hold and hit just right, (watch those fingers) break the nut and try to open it; you have to be careful how much force you use because too much force just smashes it then you have the shell mixed in with the nutmeat and it can be challenging to get that out.

Learning traditions from our past and developing seasonal harvesting routines for free food creates an enriching future

A Recipe from our Past Called “Powcohicora” (Algonquin Language)

Historically, the native people used hickory. The way they did it was to pulverize the nuts, crushing the shell and nutmeat together, and place all of it in a container and boil it with a watchful eye. The shells sink and everything else rises to the top and they skim the heavy liquid off the top, which is called “decanting.”

Crushed HickoriesImportant: They got a special cream off the top which is hickory nut cream, and the rest of it underneath the cream is hickory nut milk (sweeten to taste, but not necessary).

This is not only sweet but it also can be very good as a soup broth or for a stew; it’s full of oils and healthy fats (very high in calories as an easy to digest oil including the high-quality essential fatty acids shown to prevent heart disease), and it’s a good source of vitamin B1 and magnesium. They also provide protein, carbohydrates, iron, phosphorus, potassium, trace minerals, and vitamins A and C
I hope this has inspired you to get out into the fields and forest, and in a sacred way, harvest from these great beings. I also would love to hear about your experiences learning about wild food. May we meet each other underneath a beautiful hickory tree…

Welcome to the Hickory Club.

 

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