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Mon, Jun 28


Hawke's-Towpath Preserve

Fledglings Skills Summer 2021 (ages 11-15)

Join us once a week for a taste of adventure! Grow as a part of a community, learn new skills, develop self-reliance and gain confidence in your own wild nature.

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Fledglings Skills Summer 2021 (ages 11-15)
Fledglings Skills Summer 2021 (ages 11-15)

Time & Location

Jun 28, 2021, 9:00 AM – Aug 03, 2021, 3:00 PM

Hawke's-Towpath Preserve, 54 Tow Path Rd, Gorham, ME 04038, USA


About the event

   We came for the sun’s heat from high in the sky that bathed us in its radiant light. Walking along on the path by the river, we listened with reverence to the breeze in the trees. Grapes, wild, surprised us as we rounded the bend; are they ready already? We couldn’t resist. Purple-stained teeth, we grinned at each other, poked holes in the ground and spit out the seeds. These are the plants of the future.

   Some bittersweet’s here, strangling the oaks and the maples. We separate them and give thanks for the sticks. We head to the shore to swim and weave baskets. Down by the water, who is it? A heron! We pull out the glasses and gaze. A green heron, head-feathers ridged like a razor (turns out that it’s rare), was stalking for fish. Oooh! - did she get it? She got it. A gift.

   We’ll always remember that moment again.

Join us once a week for a taste of adventure! Grow as a part of a community, learn new skills, develop self-reliance and gain confidence in your own wild nature. Learn how to make shelter, find food and water, and start a fire from the landscape. Study the natural world to understand the habits of the trees, plants, animals, rocks and rivers with whom we share our lives. Practice communication to resolve conflict, maintain boundaries, and build friendships. Play games, make art and make memories.

Our goal is to create the container for long-term, multi-generational communities of children to learn together outside. Learning happens best when young people are encouraged to follow their own curiosity. We cultivate the sense of wonder inherent within us all, and allow each person's unique passions to affect the flow of education. We use a variety of small-scale, place-based living skills, activities, games and stories about natural history to teach kids what they need to know.

What we do: you can find us wandering in the woods, down by the shores, splashing in the streams, foraging for food and medicine, cooking over an open fire, climbing trees, building shelters, playing games, weaving beautiful baskets, making music with handmade instruments, following birds and animal tracks, carving spoons and bowls and bows and arrows, safely using tools, loving the elements and watching the weather.

The keystone principles we teach are:

1. We are all deeply connected to the land, and to each other,

2. Each of our actions have effects on all those around us,

3. The earth gives us what we need with loving generosity, and,

4. With patience and resilience, we can make the necessary mistakes required to learn how to be healthy, happy, helpful humans in a world that so desperately needs our presence.

We meet every Monday from 9am-3pm. We work to maintain a mentor:mentee ratio of 1 to 5. Space is ultimately limited to 15 students. In order to ensure our community is a diverse and safe space for all children, registration may not guarantee enrollment. If there is sufficient interest from the community, we can open for a second day per week (or switch to a different day.)

Sample daily schedule:

  • Meet at base camp. Welcoming games, nature museum.
  • Fox-walk into the woods.
  • Open the day at woods camp: fire-making, songs, gratitude circle, chores
  • Kid-directed exploration
  • Lunch (brought from home) with interspersed snacks
  • Sit spot (core routine)
  • Crews: our regular mentor-led skills lessons, also work on personal projects
  • Shared stories from kids
  • A story from a mentor

We revisit the following twelve themes, with a special focus every week:

1. Shelter: building and finding huts, lean-to’s, snow forts, digging and climbing

2. Water: locating and purifying water, rock-boiling, making salt from seawater

3. Fire: fire safety, building good fires, fire-by-friction, open-fire cooking

4. Food: foraging for wild edibles, making and preserving food, gardening

5. Music: organic music instruments, singing, dancing, and songwriting

6. Community: work together, share responsibility, camp chores, communication

7. Stories: an intrinsic human skill and an essential component of relationship

8. Games: unique, fun games and unstructured learning make up half our time

9. Tools: knives, saws, hammers, hatchets are all practical tools to be used safely

10. Art: making paint and paintbrushes, weave bags and baskets, etc

11. Silence: fox walk to your sit spot, use owl-eyes and deer-ears to listen and learn

12. Tracking: studying animals’ patterns help us keep in tune to our surroundings

Summer Semester 2021 Dates

June 28         

July 5, 12, 19, 26       

August 2


  • Forest School Summer 2021




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