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Firemaking, Tracking, Longmatch, and Friction Fire

Published April 6th, 2017

Below is a story from the Artemis Moon Girls program for 9-14 year old girls:

It’s been a few weeks since our last day out in the woods together, but the memories are still sweet and vivid, frozen in time as one of our last days of winter this year! At this past Artemis, we got back to our normal rhythm of small group time in the morning and choice based time in the afternoon, and though it was cold, we kept warm with fire, games, and the perfect cure to cold: lots of laughing and singing!

Each group of girls spent their morning exploring various skills and fun. The Red Squirrels each got the chance to make a solo fire. While they have built plenty of group fires, there’s no greater teacher than solo time with a fire and the girls all came away learning an incredible amount about fire building and tending.

The White Tailed Deer explored the land and savored the last bit of snow by going tracking. Through watchful observing they were able to follow the tracks of a fox!!

And the Grey Wolves did a combination of these two activities by traversing the land with fire. The wolves created beautiful long matches, which are bundles of natural materials that can hold a coal while traveling. The long matches are made of a variety of materials like barks, grasses and fluffy seeds, which when created carefully, hold the coal’s heat, but does not erupt into flames. The wolves were able to successfully travel from their campsite to the big group’s site and to light the central fire with their longmatch coal.

During the afternoon, one could hear the squeaking serenade of a dozen bow drill kits hard at work as Micheala led the girls in some serious friction fire practice. We were so proud of one of our youngest campers, a Red Squirrel, and one of our newest instructors, as they both got their very first coals!!

Lily, Lyn and I held the Winter Olympics, where the girls gave it their all in nature inspired challenges like climbing, crawling, jumping, and howling. It was too cold to work on hand projects so the rest of the group went exploring what will likely be the last winter landscape. On this adventure they began learning some of the fundamentals of being a woodswoman, like tree ID and tracking.

Winter has been amazing, full of teachers and adventures. We’ve loved every bit of it and can’t wait to see what the spring will hold!

Until then,
The Artemis Team

Esperanza GonzalezEsperanza GonzalezEsperanza Gonzalez, Program Director

Esperanza is, and has always been, a teacher at heart. From the early age of 8 she would hold play groups in her church and tend to the young children who would often disrupt the sermons. This passion to teach carried on through the years, bringing her to SUNY New Paltz where she received her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and History. While living in New Paltz, she merged her love for the outdoors, her passion for teaching and her organizational and entrepreneurial skills into many different educational programs. She has taught in various local schools, led theater groups, kids yoga, art programs and of course worked with Wild Earth in a number of programs. Her commitment to community connection has guided her community service work in jails, juvenile centers, Americorps, inner-city art programs, soup kitchens and many more volunteer based initiatives. She sees every child's potential and knows there is no better way to hold their blossoming than through the arts and the exploration of the natural world. More about Esperanza's work.

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