Teens spending a Friday night outside, playing with fire

Published June 28th, 2017

Below is a story from our our Ropes Teen program back in February.

Fire and crafting were the themes for the evening, with a break later on to silently walk to the creek, gaze at the starry night sky, and delight our senses in a meditation led by Jonathan.

Our fire was built to burn for at least an hour before we had to add any wood (see our fire structure above). It was a fire made of all hardwoods with the intention of keeping us warm and having lots of coals for coal burning red cedar containers.

When we can, we challenge the teens to light our night time fire using a bow drill kit. It always takes a little longer than with a match, but the gift of fire becomes more alive when we really have to work for it….remarkable to think of how our ancestors did it!

In addition to coal burning containers, we made primitive torches with cattail and mullein stalks. We experimented with tallow (rendered beef fat), and paraffin wax. The wax seemed to burn better than the tallow, but it was neat to see that with some work torches could be made solely from materials gathered on a landscape.

We finished our evening with a small feast around the fire, stories, and gratitude for another beautiful evening spent together on the Stony Kill land.

Thank you so much!

Michaela, Stephanie, and Jonathan

Big thanks to the Maya Gold Foundation for supporting this program and helping to bring teens into the woods for character building adventures!


Stephanie HertelStephanie HertelStephanie Hertel, Program Coordinator

Stephanie grew up in the woods of northern New York State. Her early days were filled with playing outdoors and wild harvesting food. Now, as a certified herbalist and seasoned grower for 6 years, Stephanie's roots are shown in her work as a therapeutic and medicinal garden consultant. She is currently creating and implementing a horticulture therapy program for the Anderson center for autism. Through her love of teaching herbalism, homesteading skills, and other ancient healing techniques, she strives to give others the tools necessary to lead a happy and healthy life. Her passion for making herbal products, natural crafts, and wild harvesting medicinal and edible plants are highlighted in her offerings as a wilderness educator. More about Stephanie's work.

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