What to Bring!
- Written note if your child will be picked up by someone other than you
- Medical forms (if required) and final payment (if not already taken care of)
- A filling lunch & a snack in an insulated-type lunch bag (healthy food choices please)
- A knife (lock blade or sheath knife) for carving (your child will not be able to use a Swiss army knife or other knife that does not lock–safety first); the children will fill out a knife safety contract with us that we ask the parents to sign as well (See more information on Knives in Safety Reminders below)
- A water bottle (or 2) just for water (see more info on Hydration below)
- Sunscreen & a wide-brimmed hat
- Insect repellent, as needed (no DEET please) (see Tick info below)
- Sneakers or hiking boots are the best footwear… close-toed shoes for around the fire
- A day backpack
- Extra clothing. Dress appropriately according to New England weather. Be prepared for rain, hot/cool weather, and we get muddy too. Extra clothes in the car for the week may be helpful.
- Raingear/plastic bag/poncho on rainy days
- Fleece or wool is preferred for cool/cold days
- Journal and pen, if desired
- Curiosity and sense of discovery!
Children will not be able to use a Swiss army knife or other knife that does not lock–safety first. An excellent source for inexpensive lock-blade or small sheath knives for carving and as a wilderness tool is Ragweed Forge (https://www.ragweedforge.com/SwedishKnifeCatalog.html) The Mora Companion MG Carbon #11863 is a good choice
The children will fill out a knife-safety contract with us. During our Programs, we teach knife safety principles to be followed anytime a knife is used, such as:
- Posture: Use a knife sitting cross-legged with elbows on knees or kneeling, etc.;
- A knife is a tool, not a toy;
- Always consider where the blade will follow through if it goes through the wood and adjust if necessary;
- Only use and store the knife in a safe place (keep in mind other family members);
- Use the hand without a knife in it to draw an imaginary “safety circle” and make sure no one steps into the circle (always be aware of the safety circle’s boundaries);
- A dull knife is a dangerous knife;
- Never use a knife when emotional.
Please, be sure your child brings plenty of water. Mornings may start cool, but by midday, we really need the hydration. Fruit juices are OK in small amounts, but most of our liquid should be pure water. Chronic dehydration is a reality in our culture. Water is good for muscles, organs, discs and the brain, and it helps our entire system function at its optimum. If you want to learn more about hydration, a great read is Your Body’s Many Cries for Water by F Batmanghelidj.
Dog ticks and deer ticks can be found anywhere in our region where there is brushy vegetation. Deer ticks are tiny; nymphs are smaller than a period at the end of a sentence–and can carry diseases such as Lyme, which, when untreated, can be permanently disabling. We are getting better at treatment when caught early.
Please check your children for ticks every day if they have spent any time outdoors. Teach your children how to check themselves too; it is a great awareness skill. Check entire body, especially warm hidden areas like hair, armpits and groin. Check yourself, too, as well as your pets. It’s also a good idea to wash outdoor clothes immediately in very hot water; otherwise the ticks can crawl off of clothes in a hamper and bite later.
If you find a tick that is not embedded, remove it and kill it with alcohol. If it is embedded, use tweezers to carefully remove it, grasping at the head and pulling straight back. Keep the tick; you may want to get it tested for disease. When a person is tested there can be a delay in knowing whether or not Lyme is discovered. Go directly to the source: have the tick tested. You certainly should be alert for any symptoms of Lyme disease. Find more information here (https://www.mass.gov/tick-borne-diseases)
TICK TESTING–“The UMass Amherst Laboratory of Medical Zoology (LMZ) tests ticks to determine whether or not they carry the pathogens that cause Lyme Disease and ten other tick-borne pathogens. All species of ticks do not carry all of these pathogens.” https://ag.umass.edu/services/tick-borne-disease-diagnostics
At Earthwork Programs, participants learn to identify and use many edible plants. However, identification skills are not foolproof, and therefore, participants will also learn how to identify poisonous look alikes. Please emphasize with your children, like we do in classes, that they must have a knowledgeable adult identify a plant before they sample it. If they are not with an adult edible plant expert, they shouldn’t eat anything they find in the woods. We also encourage cross referencing field guides and resources. Safety first!