September 30: "What would we have
to do to survive right here, right now".
Despite the short notice (1 week) 5 people showed up for a day of
exploring a semi-wilderness area with the theme of "What would we have
to do to survive right here, right now". This was the first
meeting of the Wildwood Trackers club, utilizing the Study Group format.
Participants met at 10:30am Sunday morning. We discussed the
framework for the meeting, and agreed by consensus on how we would proceed for
the day. Using the framework of the "sacred four" (shelter, water,
fire, food) we wandered throughout the area and cooperatively explored the following topics:
identified various wild edibles and medicinal plants. Also
identified poisonous plants. Over 60 species of plants were identified.
discussed cooking methods: pit steaming, cooking on coals,
discussed fire-making methods that might be easiest in the
area: bowdrill, handdrill.
determined what animals are present in the area: raccoon,
beaver, muskrat, squirrel & chipmunk, deer, amphibians, insects, etc.
discussed methods of catching animals (snares, traps,
throwing sticks) and
where we might set these devices.
discussed the use of birds of the area for food and how we
might capture them.
looked for shelter sites: open woods, sheltered woods, crevices and caves.
evaluated various shelter construction methods: debris hut,
rock-walled shelter with log roof, crevice. We concluded that in many ways,
this area is most suitable for fire-warmed shelter options.
discussed how we might purify the water that we found. The
problem of dissolved pesticides and chemicals seems to be an insurmountable
looked for various types of woods for tool-making
(bow-drill, bow, traps, etc)
evaluated the stones of the area for use in making stone
tools (not very satisfactory)
stalking and silent movement, concealment, de-scenting.
discussed invasive alien plants and their effect on local
discussed toilet paper substitutes
brainstormed various ways of sheltering from the rain (an
important factor in cooler climates)
discussed methods of preserving food
This list is not complete, but is an overview.
We then each built a basic figure-four trap from available
The group varied greatly in the amount of experience and
training that we each had in various areas, from a great deal to very little, yet we found that
each person had a lot to offer the group as a whole. We felt that the primary
factor that made the meeting so successful was that each person who participated
brought an attitude of focus and enthusiasm (passion) to the meeting and kept it
for the entire meeting. And we all
felt newly inspired to work more diligently on the skills we reviewed during