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Wilderness Skills Class

Spring Equinox 2022

Photos by Reichelle Cananan Spencer Warnock with students in the wilderness skills class final meeting on May 11, where they demonstrated what they had learned.

Spencer Warnock, 6th grade teacher at Alta Vista Elementary and Intermediate School, led a year-long Wilderness Skills class for his students. The focus of this class was to gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation of their local environment and foster respect and connection to it through wilderness skills.
What did students learn over the course of the class? Procuring shelter, water, fire, and food (in that order) are the essentials.


Students demonstrated building a simple debris shelter.


They learned where and what to look for to find water, and how to make an emergency water filter from charcoal, sand, grass, and pea gravel, using both a plastic bottle and a naturally made wooden container. (see middle two photos, below)


Students demonstrated fire by friction in four different ways: the picture shows the pump drill, a fire-by-friction method that uses centrifugal force. Due to high wind and risk of runaway fire, it had to be put out right away in the container. (see photo, lower right)


This class and culminating event on May 11 were a great success!