In Guild Camp we focus on the passion of our campers. They spend a week diving into a topic and exploring all aspects of that topic with one of our trained mentors. Days will be spent in their guilds and afternoons on the river.
Young Naturalists Guild with Mike Weems:
This guild we be an exploration of the rich diversity of living things covering the 100 acre forest of Earthsong including; plants, animals, insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians, fish and birds. Map and compass orienteering, animal tracking, and nature photography will draw the eye further into the natural world happening all around our campers. We will turn over logs, track animals, and see how many plants we can identify. We’ll hunt down spiders and other insects. We’ll practice our stealth and our sneaking skills learning to further embody the lives all! Mike Weems is a Master Naturalist of the best kind. His passion for learning and observing nature is contagious. He openly shares his knowledge with those he spends time with in a forest setting. There is nothing he loves more than making new discoveries and learning new information about the world around him.
In this guild students can expect to:
- Identify at least 5 different species of trees – very likely more
- Mushroom safety and identification
- Explore insects and spiders safely and in an exciting way
- Become familiar with regional mammals, reptile, and amphibian species and how they live
- Recognize animal tracks and how to identify them using a field guild
- Practice orienteering using a compass and creating a map
Wild Kitchen with Eileen Schaeffer
In Wild Kitchen, the kids will learn how to both botanize and cook local plants. We will learn basic culinary techniques that can be applied to a diversity of dishes as well as identification and harvesting skills for an array of local and cultivated plants at Earthsong. The class will be hands-on and instructional. Kids will learn about nutrition, gardening, and ecology throughout the day. They will learn recipes but will also develop their own. Eileen is an herbalist and nutritionist whose greatest joy is sharing her love of plants, bugs, fungi, and all sorts of critters with others. She hopes to use her nutrition education to connect kids (and kids at heart) with nature and plants on a deeper level while preventing illness and disease. She is an avid artist and works freelance.
Campers can expect to learn:
- Basic culinary techniques such as proper knife skills, how to poach an egg, clean a mushroom, etc.
- How to identify plants
- Safety and sustainable harvesting protocols for foraging wild plants
- Skills needed to prepare basic infusions, decoctions, and oils from plants
- How to view nature as an abundant, culinary paradise and more
- How to make their very own wild kitchen recipe book
Our primary goals for the bushcraft guild are building competence with hand tools, resourcefulness, awareness, and creativity. We love making useful and beautiful items from the materials that the forest provides — it is so fun and rewarding. We will come prepared to offer instruction on specific projects every day of the camp; however, we strongly encourage the kids to pursue their own interests and creativity. If someone really wants to make something other than the project we planned for the day that is fine with us. We will support them in that as much as we are able to as long as it isn’t something that will distract from the group activity too much. We must be able to maintain awareness of the whole group for safety’s sake at all times. If both can be done — we say go for it!
Basic Bushcraft with Soleil: For the camper who is just taking an interest in skills. We will focus on:
- Knife safety and how to apply practical carving techniques — spoon carving, making tent stakes, making a fire hearth, etc.
- How to set up a tarp shelter with five useful knots and how to take down a tarp shelter.
- How to build and tend a fire — kids will practice cooking over the fire and learn the difference in types of wood and material used to build a fire.
- Animal tracking — connecting food sources to animal patterns, physical tracks and sign of animals, following animal trails, etc.
- Plant identification — creating our own field guide, finding edible and medicinal plants and discussing how to safely identify them.
Advanced Bushcraft with Bernard: For the older campers who have held knife certification for several years or campers who attend our year long programs. We will focus on:
- Advanced knife and saw certification – prerequisite before learning hatchet skills
- Carving a comb or fork, bird’s mouth notch
- Hatchet basics — if prerequisites are completed
- Using sticks, rope, and tarps to build versatile shelter
- Friction fire with bow drill — making and using kits to take home
- Fire building, tending, and using
- Making wooden bow saws