Concentric Rings Programs
Our main objectives throughout the Concentric Rings Programs are three-fold. Our first purpose is to give students solid survival skills they can call upon should they ever get lost in the woods. Our second purpose is to give the students an endless adventure experience. We strive to fuel passion and curiosity and awaken the natural desire to learn. We have found that survival skills are extremely effective in this area, as they are ancestral to all of us - they are truly our first need. Our final goal is to connect the students to the natural world in a profound and palpable way. We have found that by showing the intense and incredible beauty, and the ease with which connection to that beauty is found, students become Caretakers of this Earth without any prompting from us. This attitude of respect and awe is infused in each of the skills and activities we teach.
All of these skills can be adapted to any season. We strive to spend the majority of our time outdoors, however, we understand the limitations of teaching programs in the winter. For a winter program we would alternate time both indoors and outdoors depending on the age and level of experience of the participants.
Full Day Workshop-The following is an example of a full day program (9am - 5 pm) that we have done for groups in the past:
Conservation of energy is important in a survival situation. It is easy to become afraid and lose sight of what to do and end up wandering around in a panic. Often people who are lost immediately begin to think of finding food, however, shelter is the most important element in a survival situation. A person can live for a month without food but can die of exposure in as little as 3 hours. We teach the students to build a debris hut. This type of emergency shelter serves as both a tent and a sleeping bag. We will build one shelter together as a class.
Materials: This will require a patch of woods with sticks and leaves
Time: approx. 2 hrs
An explanation of the importance of fire (warmth, water purification, cooking etc.) will be given along with a demonstration of a matchless fire-making technique called the bow drill. The students will have an opportunity to try the bow drill or an alternate fire-making technique such as the fire crutch, pump drill etc.
Materials: Fire-making materials supplied by the Foundation
Time: approx. 1 1/2hr
The throwing stick is the primary weapon in a full survival situation. It is simple, readily available, and effective for small animals. First and foremost the students will be given an explanation of the ethics and principles of hunting and trapping. This will be accomplished through a discussion of Native American practices. These include the preparations, swiftness so as not to cause suffering, and thanksgiving. The students will all choose a throwing stick and we will move throughout the landscape while practicing stalking and silent movement through the woods. At the end the students will have the opportunity to practice throwing the sticks at an inanimate object.
Materials: throwing sticks supplied by the Foundation
Time: approx. 2 hrs
We will inspire the students with ideas of becoming invisible - this is how the scouts could walk around in broad daylight without being seen. We tell them that fox walking and wide angle vision is the way they will see animals in the forest, with enough practice they can touch them. We explain this is also the way to become silent. Don't they want to be able to sneak up on their friends and family without being seen or heard? Many of the awareness games we play are blindfolded. A great game is called "Fire Stalker." In this game, one blindfolded person sits in the middle, with "coals" (pinecones, rocks, bandanas, anything) placed in a tight circle around him/her. At our command, the other students attempt to stalk in and steal the "coals" without being heard. They have to get all the way back to the outer edge of the circle with their "coals," if they get caught, they have to go back and wait for their turn to start over.
Time: approx. 1 hour
We like to sit down with the students and have a discussion about what we call the "caretaker attitude." We talk about the level of respect necessary to master any of these skills, and that becoming a caretaker may be the only way to save our home. Of course, we are touching on these ideas throughout the workshop, but here we have a deliberate discussion about them.
Time: approx. 30 min.
Weekend Program (i.e. Friday evening to Sunday at noon)
Throughout the weekend we would work on:
• friction-fire techniques (see above description)
• debris-hut shelter building (see above description)
• awareness exercises and games (blindfold string walk, fire keeper etc.) to work on the participants other 4 senses, increase their balance, and move more fluidly
• throwing stick explanation and practice (see above description)
• trap construction and uses
• tracking: identification of animal tracks and gaits, learning to interpret cluster tracking (reading a group of tracks as a whole), and identifying tracks on the landscape. Learning how to Lost-proof yourself and your family.
• camouflage and movement: through fox-walking and wide-angle vision the participants learn to move quietly through the woods. We also teach participants how to camouflage into their surroundings and the possibility of touching an animal.
• Primitive cooking techniques: i.e. using rocks to boil water (useful to purify water and cook in a survival situation), pit-steam cooking, cooking with ash, wild edibles...
• Evening activities; blindfolded drum stalk, story telling