Monday, April 14, 2014

Forest School training

At the end of this month I finish the Forest School Training. My dad sang Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, when he saw me last summer, ax in hand, making a horse saw. Crockett was an American folk hero, who lived in the 1700 and 1800, soldier, senator twice, and frontiersman. Frontiersmen were the pioneers who moved into the frontier zones at the time. He was strong and was credited with acts of mythical proportion. I hardly consider myself a frontiers-woman, certainly not a soldier, and far from politician. But I like the idea of being the Queen of the Wild Frontier, if studying more, and pushing my boundaries counts.

For the Forest School course we have to learn how guide a group of learners into the forest, and offer a chance to experience and explore a natural environment. We share information on flora and fauna, geology and rock formation. We may discuss ecology and how to minimize our footprint. However the journey is far more than academic. It is an immersion into a beautiful setting, with an opportunity for Silence and calm. There are exercises we propose such as the 3S: sit, still, silent. The purpose is to quiet mind and body for a while. According to studies in UK, this experience helps to build self-esteem and helps with behaviour issues in children. During some of the visits we guide on how to make instruments from natural materials, using tools like a hatchet, a Mora Knife, a bow saw, and pruning shears. Practitioners must submit a portfolio with three fat chapters on diverse aspects of administration of a Forest School including parent handbook, risk management, policies and procedures, first aid certificate, history of forestry, and a lot more.

Here I am building a shelter in a beautiful place near Maniwaki, Quebec. This picture will go in the portfolio, in the section of Practical Skills and Woodland Management. The white background is a frozen lake. The other photo is where we built the fire next to the stream. What a place! Alejandro took the photos and videos while I sang, Mariii Mariii Gomez, Queen of the Grand Frontier.

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