November 2018, busiest month yet for Earth Living Skills!

We have had an amazing month!

  • We built a wigwam at the Wyckoff House Farm and Museum with 120 4th Graders from BNS

  • we made shelters and cordage with 4th graders from GUGCS

  • we had an ongoing homeschooler group in Prospect Park on Tuesdays

  • we taught an afterschool class at BNS on Wednesdays

  • we did a day of wilderness skills with BCS 11th graders

  • we did a girl scout program with Urban Kid Adventurers

  • we did an overnight with the Artemis Moon group with Wild Earth

  • we built a Mayan house with wattle and daub with BNS 5th graders

  • an epic buried treasure birthday party!

  • and more!

Exciting developments include trying strap drill strategies with kids as an alternative to bow drill friction fire. Nancye continues to hone her phragmites harvesting technique. Many thanks to all staff, participants, and to the Earth for a memorable month outside!

Central Park Homeschoolers, Thursday Classes Spring Session

It's been a really fun group.  This week we experienced the rich spring flora and sampled some wild edible plants.  We also played Fire in the Forest and one round of Tail Tag and learned how to make cordage.  Feeling very grateful for our amazing parks in NYC!

Prospect Park Homeschoolers Monday Group 5/14

We've been having great classes each week!  This week we went down by the lullwater and foxwalked past sooo many turtles without disturbing most of them, we saw some kind of heron, and we played coyotes and rabbits, learned about throwing sticks, and how to make cordage.  Last week we did some tracking guessing games and played eagle eye.  

Only one more class in the spring session...

ICE 7th Grade Campout 2018

65 7th Graders from the Institute for Collaborative Education, 5 teachers and 9 Earth Living Skills instructors spent three days and two nights at the Princeton Blairstown Center in early May.  There were lots of activities:  burnt out bowls, awareness games, friction fire, plant walks, sleeping out in shelters, getting camoed up and sneaking up on other groups, whittling, bird language skits, big games in the field and more.  

Prospect Park Homeschoolers, Friday Class

It was a rainy day so we made a shelter!  Then we played a game of chance and peeled some pine bark inside our shelter.  Our shelter was warm and mostly dry, and all 6 of us fit in pretty comfortably.  


Prospect Park Homeschoolers Monday Group

Our first class was amazing!  A mounted policeman rode past and started to canter.  We followed the tracks and were able to identify exactly where he started to canter and could tell which track was first.  Later we were able to even follow the tracks on the pavement!  We also saw some new spring plants and many kids tried putting mugwort leaves in their shoes.

Brooklyn New School 4th Grade Eastern Woodland Museum Projects

This January ELS instructors supported Brooklyn New School 4th Graders realize their visions to create bows and arrows, lacrosse sticks made by steam bending green sticks, various games, drums, hide tanning and more.  The museum was well received by other students and parents and we received some kind feedback from 4th grade teachers:

"Just wanted you to know we got tons of feedback about the "bumped-up" (not my words) projects you did with the kids--in my room, the drums especially were a fan favorite! They wowed some long-term 4th grade teachers even. So glad you're part of this team and process, and hope to keep bumping things up."

"Thank you Nancye!! A few parents told me that their kids normally never talk about school but they told them all about project time and all the tools they got to use!" 

Central Park Homeschoolers Fall 2017

Two groups of 8 homeschoolers learned about wilderness living skills such as shelter building, friction fire making, lost proofing, stone tool making and more.  At the end of each 2.5 hour session the two groups would come together to play a large group game such as tail tag or Mice and Ermine.


Prospect Park Homeschoolers Fall 2017

A group of 6+ homeschoolers spent 3 hours in the park for 6 alternating Fridays.  We made fires using various methods, played some fun games, did blindfolded awareness activities and worked on other skills.  It's really nice to spend time in the park over the course of the Fall season and to deepen our connection with this amazing park and each other.


BNS 5th Graders build Mayan House in Urban Meadow Community Garden November 2017

Using bamboo, clay, twine and reeds, 5th graders built a small Mayan style house in a community garden.  The garden is used by play groups and pre school aged kids so the 5th graders had the opportunity to show the younger kids what they were doing.

 Processing the daub:  mixing clay, sand and hay

Processing the daub:  mixing clay, sand and hay

 Pounding stakes into the earth to make holes for the upright poles   

Pounding stakes into the earth to make holes for the upright poles


 Mixing the clay, straw and sand

Mixing the clay, straw and sand

 Tying the poles together

Tying the poles together


Brooklyn New School 4th Grade Wigwam Building Project October 23~26, 2017

4th Graders enhanced their Eastern Woodlands curriculum by building a wigwam on the roof of the Brooklyn Children's Museum.  They built it over three days and the fourth day was spent putting finishing touches on the wigwam, and rotating through hands on stations where 4th graders got to try their hands at atl atl dart throwing, tracking, quickie bow and arrow shooting, hide softening, and observing artifacts from the archives of the Brooklyn Children's Museum.  We also enjoyed a special performance of drumming and dancing as well as storytelling by the Red Storm Drum and Dance Troupe.


 Earth Living Skills instructors Paul, Ian and Zach inside the wigwam frame.

Earth Living Skills instructors Paul, Ian and Zach inside the wigwam frame.

Earth Skills Camp 8/7~8/11/2017

Earth Skills Camp has been at the Maxwelton Outdoor Classroom on South Whidbey Island since 2013.  This summer's camp was super fun!  We added singing to our schedule and had lots of new games to share.  We built shelters and did a lot of blindfolded activities.  We also played mice and weasels, made quickie bows and had fun exploring the beautiful land and sneaking around.  We are looking forward to next summer!!