Running with the innate exuberant wonder of a child towards nature,
we nurture imagination, inquisitiveness, confidence, creativity, resourcefulness and a connection to, gratitude for and understanding of the world around them. Through stewardship, nature arts, sustainable living skills, and utilization of resources available to a child in a natural setting, children develop gratitude & a love of nature. That connection to nature will be a treasure that children can continually return to in their life for growth, values, compassion, wisdom and joy in their lives.
EARTH CAMP LOCATION
Earth Camp is located in Sebastopol, near Graton and Santa Rosa, in Sonoma County California. The site has 4.7 view acres of orchard, meadow, forest, creek, and extensive gardens, including wildflower, edible flower, herb, 3 Sisters, & extensive vegetable gardens. About ½ acre is fenced, with many of the gardens, a fenced chicken pen, willow dome, tipi, debris shelter, “bouncy trees”, swing, sandbox, play structure, & picnic area. There is also a campground area with a campfire pit & picnic tables. Best of all, the land backs up to the Atascadero Valley, with it’s beautiful wetlands filled with birds and wildlife.
EARTH CAMP ACTIVITIES MAY INCLUDE
- Wanders – hikes where we follow the children’s wonder; “solve mysteries” through tracking and signs; understand what’s happening now through bird language; rockhound (search for arrowheads & use cool rocks); stalk ducks and frogs; find cool insects, reptiles, amphibians, nests; notice clouds; play in the creek; make forts; draw plants or scenes; take care of the land (stewardship – clearing blackberries from where we want to play, etc.); and more.
- Sustainable living & homesteading skills – gardening, pressing apple juice, build a solar oven, build with cob and willow, preserve food with solar food drier and pickling, make dye from plants, make herbal salves, care for chickens & goats (including milking goats & incubating eggs), make cheese, solar projects, and more.
- Adventure – In the past we’ve done belayed tree climbing & slackline. This year we may do climbing silks & trapeze from our oak trees. We’ll do challenges such as the epic “coon cave adventure” and more.
- Primitive & Survival Skills – The favorite is ARCHERY, but we also learn to make fire without matches, make debris shelters, gather water, process leather, gather wild foods, learn to use a compass, do some “lostproofing” games, whittle, and more.
- Elder Storytime – Each day we’ll have Elder Storytime, and once a week we will honor a local elder with gratitude for his/her gift to us of story.
- Games – teaching ecological principles, stalking techniques, sensory awareness, team building and more in games such as camouflage hide & seek, animal imitation, predator-prey, etc.
- Arts & Crafts – mostly using natural materials, often native-style arts such as making cordage, baskets, tule fish, cattail hats, flower crafts, “Andy Goldsworthy” style art, grass bracelets, leather pouches, bamboo or gourd rhythm instruments, homemade drills to make soapstone & seed necklaces, homemade looms to make woven grass mats, and other crafts such as nature journals, pinhole cameras, woodworking, bird feeders or recycled art.
- Music – Everyday we’ll do some music, sometimes featuring the kids, often featuring Farmer Buzz with his guitar or banjo, sometimes bringing in a guest with dijeradoo, and more.
- Special Guests – Each week, we will have 1-3 activities taught by a special guest. In the past, we’ve made mushroom kits, learned yoga, made cob “bug ovens”, dyed wool with plants & done finger knitting, made a solar photovoltaic fountain, and more. Probably this year our most featured special guest will focus on aerial arts: climbing silks & trapeze. We’re also looking into featuring wild animals or birds.