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Thriving On The Coldest Night Of the Year

Published December 13th, 2013


2013-11-23-17.35On a blustery evening in late November – the coldest night we’d had thus far in the year, 24 nine-thirteen year old girls slept out on the land with nine Wild Earth staff and volunteers.

Check out how sweet and peaceful they looked (image left) after a delicious meal of burritos, gathered together around the two fires they had built, fueled by the wood they had gathered, seated on the log circles of their own making, warm and ready for a sneaking game in the still and chilly night!

Earlier in the day, some of the girls finished making bow-drill sets with Michelle Linneman, some worked on their plant ID skills with Erin Rauth, some played wonderful and ridiculous getting-warm games with our fabulous teen volunteers, Emma Murphy and Kaya Jordan, and some of the girls who’ve begun making bows worked on making arrows with our special guest – Michael Ridolfo.  Michael brought his pre-fabricated arrow-points, 14 years of experience teaching naturalist and awareness skills, and immense patience and kindness.

2013-11-23-13.04The following morning the girls packed their (impressively large) backpacks, ate a warm breakfast of oatmeal and scrambled eggs, and played running games sprinkled with fits of yelling and laughter.  

At pickup time they marched proudly up the hill towards closing circle carrying almost all of their own things, where they met their families with rosy-cheeked smiles and shining eyes.  The girls told their families the story of their time by sharing skits and a song, by showing off the arrows they had completed with their incredible focus and tenacity, and by telling about their favorite moments from the overnight.

I’m already looking forward to the spring, when I’ll have the pleasure once more of leading this capable, playful, caring, independent, determined group of girls for their second overnight. Learn more about Artemis Moon Girls Program.

Alisha Mai McNamaraAlisha Mai McNamaraAlisha Mai McNamara, Programs Director

Mai grew up in southwestern CT, where she spent her days clamoring across barnacled boulders lining Long Island Sound, and capturing crickets to feed to her leopard frogs. She studied acting at Emerson College and graduated from Hampshire College with a self-designed B.A. in ecosystem mimicry agriculture and community circus theater. Alisha Mai has run nature-immersion programming since 2008, with Vermont Wilderness School, the Institute for Natural Learning, Wolftree Programs, White Pine Programs, and most recently, Wild Earth. Mai enjoys working with girls and teens, and incorporating physical play into her programs. She draws upon her background in theater and circus to create zany and magical experiences in nature. Alisha Mai is certified in Wildlife Track and Sign (Level II) through CyberTracker, and is a Wilderness First Responder. She teaches vinyasa yoga and aerial silks, and studies at Circus Warehouse in Queens. More about Alisha Mai's work.

2 thoughts on “Thriving On The Coldest Night Of the Year”

  1. David Brownstein says:

    I am so inspired by the women who led and the girls who participated in this overnight. And, as always, I am so grateful to Michael for bringing his gift to the community. Mai, thanks for leading the way with the vision to make this Artemis Moon Girls adventure a reality! David

  2. Alisha Mai Frank says:

    awww thanks David. =) And thanks for your endless support as always. <3

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