| Andrew Miller

Never Underestimate a Changemaker: Primitive Skills Workshop

Changemaker Primitive Skills DayThis past weekend, students from our Changemaker Program got off their screens (finally!) and into the field for a chilly Saturday afternoon of practicing primitive skills. “We’ll be lucky if they make a little smoke,” we told the land managers that had given us permission to teach bow drill fires at Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat.

We learned quickly: never underestimate the power of a Changemaker.

If you’ve ever tried to make a friction fire, you know it’s no easy task—but with grit, tenacity, and some top-notch instruction from our resident survival skills guru (perhaps better known as CI Founder Ford Church), nearly half of our group successfully made hot burning coals using only their bows and their muscles! Want to learn how you too can make a friction fire? Check out this awesome tutorial!

Once we were nice and warmed up from the exertion of rubbing sticks together really fast, we started in on our next necessity for survival: a place to sleep! Using only natural materials that we could find, students built the ribs and laid the insulation for a classic debris shelter, a simple yet effective way to shield yourself from the elements if you’re ever caught in the backcountry without a tent.

Other highlights of our day included a rowdy game of spud (with a deer-hide ball, of course), making jump ropes out of cordage woven from dead grass, and a sampling of some tasty hardtack and ranch-style beans. We wrapped up our day with a pine-needle tea toast as the sun set over the mountains and bald eagles roosted above our heads, cold, happy and feeling accomplished.

Cheers to being together and getting outside!

Written by CI CAP and Changemaker Program Instructor Chelsea Tossing

See more photos from the program here!

Categories: Changemaker

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