EWM course outcome

For outsiders our course lessons often look just like some chill people hanging out around a fire. That may sometimes be true, but there is always something more happening actually.

The teachings and learning experiences are more subtle and not as obvious as, say drawings and paintings in an art course or thick folders of homework in college courses.

Throughout the course there is a shift happening from “going out into nature” to “being part of nature”. From the outside this may look exactly the same – a person taking their backpack and going for a walk in a forest, park, field, wherever outside. But the person themselves is doing something quite different and the inside of the backpack looks probably different, too.

Let me explain in some detail:

The person “going out into nature” feels separated from the “nature” out there. They have to prepare and brace themselves to survive challenges and dangers from a potentially hostile nature. They tend to take a lot of gear with them. Outside they look at their environment like one looks at a movie or a painting, as a scenery to their own life, without deeper understanding. They use this scenery as they see it (often leaving long-lasting traces) and afterwards come back to the safety of their man-made home.

The person “being part of nature” knows its place in the universal web of life and feels connected to strands of this web near and far. They go out to feel at home in nature. Their backpack may contain some water and food, too. But usually there is less shiny gear, less protection from unlikely dangers, less overall stuff. They tend to wear less clothes or shoes and immerse themselves more in all elements. They leave less traces, they connect deeply to the places they visit, they treat other living beings with as much respect as they want to receive themselves. They are grateful for nature´s gifts and bid farewell to the place before they return to the isolation of their man-made home.

The returning person actually can look different even from the outside, some dirt may prove immersion and contact.

For many of us the EWM course was a re-awakening of our inner child. As children, most of us were playing outside, rolling in the mud, throwing leaves, knowing the hidden places in the nearby hedges, building forts from sticks and moss. Growing up there was less and less space in our life for this simple connection to our environment. Now we had to reconnect and to find this sense again to being part of something bigger. Starting out with the first course days and some other individual tasks to be done outside (like sit spot) we gradually built our web of nature connection, culminating during the 3 weeks tour to Sweden. Most of us (me included) have never spent such a long time exclusively outside before. We returned to Germany, to our families, to college and work changed not only from the outside (leaner, suntanned, stronger) but also and maybe more pronounced changed at heart. We know each other and ourselves on a deeper level. We know more about our abilities and skills, how to communicate, how to rely on the group. We feel more at home outside.

Of course, not everyone is experiencing this shift to the same extent or in the same way. Some are just a bit more comfortable outside and more self-confident in other settings. Some are re-discovering old habits or hobbies outside. Others take their time outdoors to new levels in different ways.

Some profound insights from this course can be found in every participant.

We are already using these mentoring tools and skills not only in our everyday work, we are utilizing them in the planning process for our practical exams, comparing different methods, finding the most natural way to implement them (see also earlier blog posts, for instance “bees and trees…” from September 2021).

The time sitting around a fire is always spent sharing these experiences, learning from and with each other, connecting as a group, caring for each other, making plans, striving to heighten our awareness and understanding, sharpening skills, and so much more…

Don´t be fooled by cursory glances and superficial appearances!

The chill people around this fire are working hard, but that doesn´t keep them from enjoying the process. Christine Tirkot

Celebrating gratitude – the last day of EWM2020

On Wednesday March 9th we last year students met for the last time as a course in the usual setting. Everybody was helping. Preparing a comfortable meeting place has become second nature to all of us. Some were bringing food or cooking over the fire. We spent the day focused on gratitude. Everyone was contributing – sharing food, guiding group rituals and singing, sharing stories and memories of learning content. Some were putting finishing touches to their crafting projects. We appreciated and celebrated nature ´s spring awakening. And we acknowledged the sad topic of war in Ukraine with peace songs.

Great emphasis throughout the day was on gratitude for everything that is special about this course and the content we have been studying, the insights we take with us. This course is not about dry teachings soon to be forgotten, but about learning from and with each other, about the lasting connection and the re-connecting to nature we are experiencing and spreading.

Especially the 3 weeks tour to Sweden helped us to immerse ourselves in nature and to gain insights, knowledge and skills to pass on to the next generation. This is our task as educators. Many of us are already carrying the spirit of the course into their work in childcare institutions. How could future generations learn to protect their environment without learning to love its beauty?

Our mentors with their innate enthusiasm instilled in us the desire as well as the skills and knowledge to lead children and adolescents onto their individual paths to exploring nature, to find their own thrill and joy of discovery. Now we are the multipliers teaching and mentoring children to know, to love and to protect their environment.

I feel deeply grateful for being a participant in this course!

Without this experience for instance the forest group project in the SOS children´s village would not exist. Weekly children from age 6 to 12 visit the nearby forest and explore the natural environment in a playful way. Especially children and youths living in residential homes benefit from this method of learning and connecting to nature, in experiencing self-efficacy and developing resilience. One of our ongoing projects is the exhibition of trash in front of the SOS village drawing attention of the public to our waste picking activities in the forest.

Simone Geguszies

announcing our activities
our place in the forest
waste on display

Wilderness mentors welcome international guests at Schlaubemühle

From 25.04.-04.05.22 Potsdam´s Wildnismentors were having guests from Sweden and Romania. The visit formed the last part of an Erasmus Strategic Partnership Project. After getting to know the base of the German Wildnismentors by circling the island of Hermannswerder in canoes our guests received some input on the Coyote Mentoring approach. They also followed a songline to the course place in Kieskutenberge forest. Basics of the circle way and in wildlife tracking were applied during the following nine day stay at BUND centre Schlaubemühle. There we did not have to go far to find an abundance of animal footprints and bird voices. At nightly campfires we exchanged stories, songs and dances from our countries or made our own ones. A longer hike led us to an overnight stay at a BBQ cabin at lake Treppelsee. Early morning bird watching/listening and a rallye around the lake provided more stories and songs. At a weekend marketplace German Wildnismentors offered several activities for the guests: felting, body wellness, knot binding wristbands, footprint artwork. Back to Potsdam the whole party said good bye to Hermannswerder in a dragonboat race.

Participants most of all appreciated that they had time to follow their passions and to rediscover their inner child. Three years of project work was displayed at Coyote Camp during 30. Bildungsforum Internationaler Spielmarkt on Hermannswerder. There teachers of three countries also offered workshops on certain aspects of their approaches.  AP  

    

Birdlanguage

As days are getting longer birds´ voices are becoming even more noticeable. It will be many more in some weeks time. The repetitive melorhythmic stanza of the wood pigeon, the clacking sounds of starlings who also imitate exotic birds they might have met while being away, the tawny owl calling more often now, woodpeckers competing in drumming sessions and of course the melodic flute song of blackbird are some examples of what is going on. 

Blackbird is a good teacher to start dealing with birdlanguage. Whenever you hear a blackbird singing its rather long melodic stanzas you can be sure that no enemy will be around, that it is a male probably attracting a female and/or indicating that it is his territory. In contrast to singing, calling sounds much different. It is mostly short sounds usually using one note only to express contact calls, begging or warning. As ground breeders blackbirds are masters in both, ground alarm and air alarm. Typical “duk-duk-duk” sounds in a frequency depending on how close the enemy actually is indicate ground alarm. Highly pitched  “ziiih” sounds indicate predators from above as sparrow hawk who is feeding almost exclusively on birds.

Task: Try to differentiate between bird song (or baseline) and alarm. In a next step you could figure out the source of the alarm: Is it yourself or other predators looking for prey? If bird alarm is expressed further away (60 to 70 metres) it could be other animals that have noticed your presence hence uttering a so called secondary alarm. Gradually you will understand what birds are telling about the landscape around.         

Sitting (as introduced in the previous blog) is probably the best way of experiencing baseline in bird language. Some more birds are rather sensitive to changes around them hence giving their warnings to all other species around. Tits who are so curious are a good example for that as well as the high “tix-tix” of the woodpecker.

Extended tasks:

Listen for a differentiation between melodic singers, rhythmic singers and melorhythmic singers. Paraphrase the singing with metaphors, syllables you can hear, etc.

Listen for the second one of a species!

Spot the bird and perceive features like silhouette, type of beak, length of legs, top of head, shape of tail, prominent wing feathers, flight pattern. Add drawings to your nature journals. AP

Foxwalk, owl eyes, deer ears – Extended core routines of nature connection

Extend your `core routines`, combine them and awaken further senses by applying so called animal forms to your sitspot routine. Experience `foxwalk, `owl eyes` and `deer ears`.

`Foxwalk`

Did you ever get to see how a fox is sneaking up on its prey and jumping onto it? Foxes live mostly solitary and are on a hunt at night and at dusk; then they roam their territory in search of food. They use their excellent sense of smell and hearing to track down their prey. Numerous whiskers on the snout and paws are used to perceive even the smallest movement and vibration. According to recent studies, they sneak and pounce on their prey aligned with the north-south axis of the compass. So – they must have some kind of sense of magnetism.

In wilderness pedagogic you use the so called foxwalk to raise your focus and awareness und to move as silent as possible e.g. not to disturb and startle animals. Ideally practised barefoot it basically means bending your knees slightly to gain better balance and slowly putting down your foot whereas toes come first, then the outer rim of your foot and then the whole sole initially without putting weight on your foot. This will enable you to feel the ground and hence to find a good spot for placing the step to come. By slowly rolling over the ground the surface is slowly contracted to prevent rustling noise. If you feel a thin twig e.g. or leaves you would then place the foot to a different place. Once everything will fit you start putting weight on your foot. Even while lifting the second foot you are careful to do so in a controlled way to prevent unnecessary noises. `Foxwalk` you can apply in different paces, quickly but also as slowly as if hardly not noticing any movement. Doing foxwalk in slow motion means that your soles will take over the job to observe the ground while your eyes will be free to watching the environment. This is also called `seeing with the soles`. Fox walking also includes openness, curiosity and full body awareness. Alignment with the path in front of you – wider view – so that you can anticipate sources of noise. Mindful and silent movement involves the whole body, including arms etc. Choice of clothing and shoes is also important.

`Owl eyes`

In contrast to many other animal hunters, owls have a forward-facing pair of eyes, just like us humans, which enables them to see binocularly and measure distances. Their eyesight is many times better than that of most birds, and owls´ eyes are extremely sensitive to light, allowing them to detect small amounts of residual light. In addition, they can rotate their heads up to 270 degrees to secure themselves from the sides. It is important for hunting in the twilight to have the widest possible radius of field of vision to perceive even the smallest movements. In complete darkness they follow their amazing hearing. An owl is able to precisely hear and localize a mouse scurrying under a 20 cm thick layer of snow. It also helps that she can fly almost noiseless.

So let´s train the so called owl eyes. Normally your view is centred to the place of the clearest optical perception. This corelates more or less with a tunnel view where we only see a small field very clear. But our eyes can also switch into a wide viewing mode. To adjust to that mode you can stretch out both arms away to the sides, wiggling your thumbs and moving both thumbs together until both of them get visible. This is wide angle view – seeing an extended area even if a bit blurred. However, what the eye can detect thoroughly is movement and that within a bigger radius. One can also move hands inside towards outside to set the field or even move hands up and down to set the frame of wide angle perception. It is just about playing and getting astonished. The field is usually wider than you assume and it gets wider the more you train. If you have tuned in stay in that mode and see what will come up. Owl eyes offer the biggest chance of opening our visual perception. This kind of viewing, rather wide angled than focused and rather in an attitude of finding than searching is comparable with the practice of the so called soft view. `Soft view` is an perception exercise in yogic and buddhist meditation practice.

`Deer ears`

Deer are mainly evening and twilight active. In the colder month, ricks and their young join together in herds which then usually break up again in the spring. A herd can include more than 50 animals. In this community there is a regulated distribution of tasks: some graze, the other deer observe the surroundings. As soon as danger threatens, they give a warning signal and an escape movement begins. Deer have excellent hearing. Their ears are long and pointed and are about 2/3 of the length of their head. In addition, dear can move their ears. If they suspect danger, they prick up their ears and try to locate the origin of suspicious noises in the area with the help of ear movement.

So – your own sense of hearing you can support by the practice of the so called deer ears. Here you extend your outer ears by putting both your hands behind your ears to extend the outer ears and pointing them slightly ahead of you. Again – you can play until you have reached best reception. Slowly move in a circle doing so. What can you hear? Try the same movement without deer ears and sense the difference. It is enormous, isn´t it? This also works with open hands facing backwards or upwards. GW

Sitspot routine as a mentor

`Core routines of nature connection` as starting point and fundament of `Coyote Mentoring`

In wilderness education and deep ecology it is assumed, that modern people are often not connected with the signs, sensations and voices of their inner self and of the natural world around them. Our body system is tuned into the daily routines and habits which follow the requirements of a so called civilized lifestyle and our genuine natural feedback systems are often half asleep, weakened, distracted or overloaded so to speak. That lack of awareness leads into more or less consciously disregarding the essential needs, vitality, wisdom, flow and cycles of our inner and outer nature – a state of mind and being which is named `disconnection`. Core issue of wilderness pedagogics is to light the spark and nourish the fire of `reconnection`. To awaken and strengthen that genuine human ability it is essential to practice so called `core routines of nature connection`.

Deeper meaning of the `core routines of nature connection` is to expand the human consciousness due to opening up for aware and present being in nature with all senses and getting experience based to realize one´s own close interweaving with the natural network of life, what reawakens curiosity, amazement, openness, trust, awe, gratitude and responsibility for us and our universe in the face of miracles of life.

After five years of personal practicing and deepen and broaden that experience while sharing with my colleague and mentees via performing, journaling and reflecting I have the impression that the `sitspot` or `secret place` might be one of the most valuable mentors among a broad diversity of `core routines`. Mainly because it teaches you to come back to a quiet, open and observant attitude. For me the `sitspot` is like the calm space in the eye of the storm – helps for all what you can meet and find in life.

`Core routine`: `Sitspot` or `secret place`

The `sitspot` or `secret place` is an exercise of precepting, observing and hence re-connecting back to nature. Over the course of the season you regularly visit a place to spend some time in silence to experience the animate earth with all senses and consequently to get in touch and resonance with it. Due to that you will get to know your place and yourself in an intense and awareness rising way. You can find that place following criteria of preferences or the place can find you e.g. guided intuitively by aimless wandering. It makes sense to stick to one or two locations you will become familiar with. So you will learn to perceive changes, to understand movements and processes that the place undergoes in a year´s course. You will recognize the influence of the weather regarding well-being and phenomena. By fully aware approaching the place and staying there you will give animals the chance to get used to your presence and to show themselves – even make contact. You could extend your perception of `sitspot` and your way there by drawing a map of the surroundings, by sensing which story(s), which song(s) the place induces, by exercising in listening, seeing, tasting, smelling, feeling, balancing or meditating. There are no limitations to the curious and friendly tuning into the inner and outer nature within the here and now, except not feeling comfortable and dealing with spinning and jumping thoughts. So you have to find out how to comfort your body and to calm down your mind before or while being at your place. With your returning presence, openness and allowance the place will begin to talk, evoke questions, give comfort and companionship to you.

Personal task as preparation for the LTTA in Germany

Please find your `sitspot` and note how you found the place or the place found you. Which are your criteria for a good spot?

Please note your preparations in order to feel comfy and calm at your place. Do you bring something with you (gear, food …)?

Please try to visit that spot at least three times before we meet in Germany. Take your time and be present.

Take some notes afterwards: thoughts, images, experiences, questions, sensations, songs, poems – whatever appears/ comes up. Which time of the day have you been there? How was the weather/ atmosphere? How did you feel when you entered the place? How afterwards? How long did you actually stay? (…)

If you want, you can extend the core routine by wandering, mapping, sketching, tracking … whatever comes to your mind – only: Please try at each visit to stay at the place in silence and aware for a while before falling in activities again; say about half an hour minimum.

GW

Outdoor learning in Romania

In February wildnismentors of three countries got to know the Outward Bound experiential learning approach in a 10 day Erasmus+ funded mobility in Sovata/Romania. We enjoyed team building as well as energizing games, cooperatively climbing the Jakob´s ladder in the ropes course and an expedition to the Gurghiului mountains. Watch our video to get to know about leader of the day ceremony, snowshoe walking, digging a snow den to sleep in and so much more. Also visit our January blogpost to see stunning animal footprints we have found in the mountains.

For a detailed description of one of the Romanian participants visit Timmi´s blog.  AP

MEMORIES
from
Szováta, Outward Bound
February 2022


Here comes a collection of memories, thoughts and photographies from the swedish group that visited Outward Bound in Szováta, Romania. Each one of us have contributed in our own way so that you as a reader can get a glimpse into our experience of this very interesting and developing journey.
We hope that you will enjoy it!

TOVE, Swedish student

This photo shows a moment that I dearly remember from our journey. It is when we on the second day hiked up on a hill with a beautiful little chapel looking out over Szováta and were encouraged by Emöke and Dorina to engage in a solo moment. I chose a beutiful pine tree to lean my back against and enjoyed the wiew. What came into my mind at this moment was that we sometimes really need a moment of solitude or space to be able to take in, process and enjoy our new experiences. Moreover it’s a great opportunity connect with nature, to be in it with all your senses, and with your full attention. It is truly wonderful to be in a group/team and chit chat, laugh and share stories, but these moments of silence and space in between makes the social times even better!

This moment is also very important to me. It looks dark, wet and a bit tough perhaps… But it wasn’t at all! A couple of us decided (with Adáms help) to build a quinzee. We worked until it got dark, and although it took a lot of time and hard work it was so fun! We initiated a system where two people were digging inside the quinzee, one person was handing the snow filled bucket out to two other people who emptied the bucket – to send it right back inside again. While doing this we came up with these little sounds: ”HUH!” and ”HAH!” which made it feel so much more enjoyable. For me I was glad to notice that we as a group made something that could’ve been (as before mentioned) dark, wet and tough, into a fun and joyful teamwork experience!

CHELSEA, Swedish pedagogue

How the exchange affected me? Well, I remember having had a couple of hectic days where we had done loads of team-work activities and I felt a little worried about how we were all going to manage to be outside together for three nights. As we were planning the expedition there were discussions about what differences and similarities our schools had towards the concept of “bringing groups out in nature” and it seemed like we had quite different ideas and methods. The Romanian Outward Bound Program and the Coyote Mentoring methods which the German group uses seemed different from how Sjövik does “Friluftsliv” and “Färd”. But there we were, four nights later, and it felt like we had all become a big family. We climbed the mountain in snow shoes, sang songs together, made fire under the stars and enjoyed “fika” in the sunshine. We followed the tracks of a wolf through the snowy trees and on the top of the mountain, the snow was so deep the spruces were made into ice sculptures and all we could hear was the wind. We all enjoyed being outside together so much our different “methods” made no difference. Being together, laughing together and looking for bear tracks in the snow brought us all together, and I felt so close to everyone even though we had only known each other for a couple of days. This, for me, was a very cool experience. That regardless method, we all want to achieve the same thing: being together outside – exploring nature.

JONATHAN, Swedish student

This moment was very special to me cause the view was both special and amazing. It was so new for me to be able to see through the trees down to the earth. You can se the tree line then under that is the mountain line. The nature is truly wonderful.

LINDE, Swedish student

This photo represents how much fun we had playing in the snow and literally walking in a fairytale.

This photo represents how we made it to the top and enjoyed our lunch. Some were colder than others, must most of us happy and ENJOYING nature and each other’s company. Such surrealistic and beautiful surroundings. Like we were in a dream but than even better! Also really cool how the group became a group on the expedition! 

No words…. <3

Jonthe and me 🙂 because we had so much fun together and because he and sooooo many others where so loving and helpful lifting my backpack on and off my back without any problem (because I had injured my hand I wasn’t allowed to lift). The helping hands meant a lot to me <3

This pic represents group effort and thankfulness. The second group (my group) arrived later at the cabin, where the first group had started working already. It looked like a LOT of work and it was so wonderful we came ‘home’ to that. AND great to see that they were doing it with a smile.

This one is of me, Tove and Malin with our Romanian outward bound buffs and a feather sticked into our hair. It just makes me happy. How we’ve became (even) closer but also how we all in our group enjoyed nature’s gifts so much.

Here’s to the group that found something interesting again. I loved how we all dragons got so curious, excited, creative and conscious on our trip. We really took time for it. Really loved being present!!!

Of course I had to add André being excited about tracking. He made me super excited about it too!!!

DANIEL, Swedish Student

Being together with people you don’t know, that come from several different corners of Europe, and all living outdoor life together in ways you haven’t ever tried before, created many deep moments of connection and experience.

MALIN, Swedish Student

The first picture is from the second day in Outward Bound, Jacobs ladder. To be able to get to the top we needed to work together and communicate. When climbing with my group I felt free and right in my comfort zone. I liked the way we communicated and the feeling everytime we came one step higher and then finally reaching the top with the help of each other.

The second picture is about a challenge from our expedition. I got the chance to practise and overcome my uncertainty with reading maps and compass, it was a great feeling being able to navigate and finding the way, with the help of the group!

JONATHAN, Swedish student

TRAVELING BETWEEN SEASONS AND BIOTOPES

We started approximately 600 meters above sea level close to Szovata. I quickly began to curse my choice of boots for this hike. After some consideration I had chosen to bring my Lundhags Guide-boots, a boot made for harsh winter conditions. But so far winter in Romania looked like a whole different thing from Swedish winters. Snow was nowhere to be found, the sun was shining, and the temperature was around ten degrees. After an hour or so the hike started to get steeper, and we were gaining altitude quite rapidly. But it was still spring, especially as far my overheated feet were concerned. 

We climbed a hundred meters, then another hundred, and then another hundred. Now things started to look promising. Suddenly we were surrounded by snow, in the middle of a beautiful beech forest. Now, as a swede, this was very fascinating. In Sweden we do have beech forests, but they are located in the southern part, on sea level. I was stunned by how beautiful this, for me, new type of winter was. And my feet happily thanked the change in climate.

We continued climbing. When we at 1400 meters altitude arrived at our final destination for the day, a nice hostel at the bottom a ski slope, the snow was almost a meter in depth. Groves of spruce trees started to break the previous domination of the beeches. 

The day after, we continued our climb. Spruces continued to gain ground on the beech, until we found ourselves in a completely spruce-covered landscape. The snow depth was now around one and a half meter. Being this high up, while still being surrounded by trees in this winter wonderland environment, was nothing short of amazing. The experience of travelling this quickly between seasons and biotopes is something that I will remember for a long time.

Impressions of two German participants

Simone

I am deeply touched by the beauty of the Romanian landscape and nature which seems unspoiled in some areas. The expedition to the mountains was an amazing but also exhausting experience. The group really became a unity. The collective experience caused cooperation and trust among all participants. Everybody could develop further by overcoming hurdles and relying on the group. For me the communication in English, the ascend on the Jacob´s ladder and some other challenging situations presented such hurdles.

It was very interesting to learn more about the differences and similarities of our programmes.

The feeling of community, the warmth and cordiality, the laughter, the singing, the joy, the fun, the interesting conversations and the friendship to participants from 7 nations will always be a very fond memory of mine. Simone

Christine

When I think about those 10 days in Romania, I feel blessed – blessed to meet a lot of wonderful people, to see and feel and connect to the Carpathian landscape.

We arrived as a bunch of mostly strangers and left as parts of a big family.

I was challenged every day in a lot of ways, physically and mentally. I learned to rely on the others and to care for me as well as the group. I learned to step up as a mentor and a part of the group and to content myself with limited energy. I questioned my beliefs and adapted them. I used snowshoes for the first time. I learned some Swedish songs and the first steps of Kulning (a Swedish vocal technique). I re-discovered the art of needle-binding. I took a bath in the snow. I danced to Romanian folk music. Sometimes I felt totally exhausted and yet elated, connected, part of something great.

These days will stay with me as a profound experience. Now I am more aware of my skills, my limits and my understanding of nature connection and mentoring style.

Tracking mammals

Just another rainy day. Perfect conditions for spotting animal footprints that got stuck in the ground. Watch the video to get an idea of the basics of tracking mammal footprints as well as walking patterns. Document your findings by taking photos or drawing pictures. That way keep records of single tracks and full cycles of footfalls. Follow the track to find out about the way of locomotion the animal was using. Ask questions. If more advanced in that you might measure width and length of a single footprint as well as stride (step length) and straddle (trail width). Send little stories of your personal tracking experiences in the comment section. Happy tracking! AP

Celebrating winter solstice

Winter solstice is here, the longest night of the year. Time to look back on the past year, to be grateful for all the good and the challenging experiences and time to celebrate! We met around the fire to share stories and food, as well as love and joy. Moon and stars were dancing while Mother Earth slept, covered in a white blanket. The bird people sent their greetings – wild geese flying south at midnight, a robin watching our breakfast.

Good bye, 2021! CT

EWM Pre-Christmas Camp

Before Christmas European Wilderness Mentors in their third and last year of training are following their own aspirations at our spot on Hermannswerder in Potsdam. This is what we are doing presently: Burning bowls, carving Christmas trees, making nettle string, throwing ancient hunting sticks, making fire with bow drills and pump drills, manufacturing foldable saws (see May 2021 blog), reading animal tracks, playing animal form games not only to keep warm, telling stories, cooking for the whole pack over the open fire and most of all enjoying each other´s presence. AP

Step by step instruction how to carve a Xmas tree

European Wilderness Mentors on Summer Friluftsliv Tour in Sweden

In August course instructors as well as future European Wilderness Mentors went on a Friluftsliv summer experience to Sweden. As in the years before we were hosted for three weeks by Sjöviks Folkhögskola in Folkärna. The mobility was funded by Erasmus+ programme. Swedish Friluftsliv mentors in training were taking us up north for a canoe trip on Dalälven river, a crafts week at the cabin camp Nysätersvallen as well as a 5 day hike in Vedungsfjället Nature Reserve. This hands on learning experience provided us with numerous skills for a simple and comfortable life outside. Paddling techniques, manoeuvering, capsize training, splitting wood, making fire, carving, fishing, food planning, navigating, building camp, open fire cooking are only some examples. Some of the participants changed visibly during the stay in close contact with their group and the elements. That trip has given us lots of impulses for our work at childcare and youthwork settings in our region as well as for a Coyote Camp in November (see blog entry before). AP