Wednesday was Wilderness Survival Wednesday, and it was definitely filled with loads of helpful information for all of our campers!
The morning started out with a group activity that had the campers deciding on which five items they would want with them if stuck out in the wild. It was so interesting to see how items varied from group to group, and the reasoning behind their choices. Afterwards, Justin took us on a hike through the nature trails to talk about edible and inedible vegetation found in nature. We even had a few campers eat ants-- talk about bravery!
Once everyone was finished with lunch, we played a fun game with a tarp; each group had to fit onto a tarp, and then flip it in half without having any member of the group step off the tarp. It was great seeing everyone work together towards one goal-- with a quite a few laughs in there, as well!
We then hit the trails, and spent some time with Justin learning about fire safety and primitive fire starting techniques. After a lesson on the necessities for a fire (oxygen, fuel, and heat-- the fire pyramid), campers split into groups and used different tools to start a fire: steel wool and a battery, oversized magnifying glasses, and flint and steel kits were available for the groups to try out. Each fire was started inside a pie tin (safety first!) and doused in water at the end of the activity, so Smokey the Bear won't have to worry about a thing!
Once all of the fires were put out and the messes cleaned up, Rachel gave everyone a lesson on the seven 'Leave No Trace' principles, which are: plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors. These principles are designed to assist outdoor enthusiasts with their decisions about how to reduce their impacts when they hike and/or camp-- definitely valuable information for Michiganders.
Campers were also showed the process of water purification, and why it is important to have clean water while out in nature. We even purified some of the water from the pond to make it drinkable!
To close out the day, everyone was placed into pairs where one team member was blindfolded. The non-blindfolded team mate had to assist their blinded friend through a mini obstacle course by giving them detailed information about their every move. Talk about a difficult task!
Thursday promises to be another exciting day at 4-H2O Eco Challenge 2011-- we have birding on the schedule, so check back tomorrow night for a full update on the day's activities!