Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?! Looking back, I see it’s been over a year since my last post – and what a great year it’s been! Well, I guess one of the many advantages of being busy is that I get to spend more time outside doing what I love, rather than sitting indoors on the computer blogging about it – and I’m OK with that! Slowly learning to juggle both though! 🙂
Octopus Community Network
After making connections with Octopus Community Network in late Dec 2013, we’ve worked together several times, including January 2014 at the Biddestone Road Open Space consultation event, where I ran a fire-lighting and cooking workshop (see previous post); the Wild Places lauch event in Archway Park in early April, with mini-beast hunting, den-building, nettle string and elder bead jewellery workshops; and Environmental Summer School, for which the Octopus crew ran a few sessions of their own and called me in to do bushcraft. Over two sessions, I focussed on the survival skills of den-building – more on this later – and, in the second session, knife work and fire, making mini-fires, followed by a big fire in a fire pit and then whittling sticks on which we cooked bread on the larger fire.
More recently we have participated in a Fun Day for residents on Bemerton Estate, where we focussed on the prolific bird activity of the season with a bird trail, pinecone bird making and nest-building.
Last Saturday as the opening event for Graham Street Park, N1, which has been recently refurbished and, as usual, Octopus called on my bushcraft skills for the event. We had a mini-firelighting workshop, followed by toasting marshmallows on a larger fire, then mini-den building again.
Now, building a proper survival shelter takes time and lots of resources so, as we were in a space with limited natural resources with limited time, I opted for mini-den building – with the help of five strapping….miniature men as models! Mini-den building is a good starter exercise to get participants thinking about technique, resources and planning and comes with the brief that the dens must be built to scale using only twigs (branches) that the mini-figure (we) would really be able to manipulate – no sense using materials of a scale that we would be unable to manipulate in real life. This challenges participants to think of alternatives to the brute strength that would be involved in ramming a tree-trunk sized branch into the ground, such as using a forked branch and leaning several branches together, forming a tent structure. We had some great results from this innovative lot, as you can see!
Archway Launch Event, April 2014
Graham St Park re-opening, March 2015