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    • Wolfshead
      Post count: 82

      I teach Physical Education as my profession.

      I have been given the opportunity to teach an elective course next fall for the full school year on the outdoors and backwoodsman skills. I can even teach bowhunting! This is a High School elective with Seniors and Juniors having first choice at signing up. We are located in Central NY between Syracuse and Lake Ontario.

      I however are asking for your help:

      If you were able to attend a class such as this or had a child taking a class such as this what would you like to see taught?

      I do not want it to be a “here’s a knife and some flint see you in two weeks” type of class. Some basic survival skills will be taught but mostly on the side of “if you are out hunting or hiking and need to spend the night unplanned” type of thing.

      Clay Hayes videos will be shown!

      I thank you in advance for your thoughts comments and suggestions!

    • Charles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      I ran an outdoor ed program for three years that served kids from K through 12. One of the cornerstones was orienteering instruction. If you want some curriculum and lesson suggestions, shoot me a PM with your e-mail address.

      Having looked for lost hunters as a SAR volunteer and having communicated with many hunters on the subject, I can say without fear of contradiction that backcountry navigation is woefully inadequate among the VAST majority of hunters. Fix that for your charges and you will have served them well.

    • Col Mike
      Member
      Post count: 911

      Eids beat me to it. Couldn’t agree more that map reading, compass skills, and making it fun with orienteering is a great start. Heck that could be an entire semester.

      I would add that the single best skill you can teach with it, is what I call “observation” don’t look- see- take time to study what you see. Do not have them naming plants and animals and birds, you learn nothing from that, but if you observe over the seasons you learn a bit. The naming of stuff comes later for those who are smitten by the experience of just watching.

      What an opportunity:D Many more ideas that I can provide PM me at herdering@earthlink.net

      Have Fun

      Mike

    • Mark Turton
      Post count: 759

      When you are happy with their level of map reading and orienteering you might consider including something from Tristan Gooley ‘The Natural Navigator ‘ & ‘Walker’s Guide To Outdoor Clues and Signs’ Don’t through it all at them but there is plenty in those two books to compliment what you have already planned to teach.

      Have fun Mark.

    • Mark Turton
      Post count: 759

      And

      Bush Craft by Mors Kochanski

    • James Harvey
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      I guess whenever I’ve done any instruction or helped run courses at work the first question is “what is the end state”? What do you want the students to be able to do, or to have been exposed to, at the end of the course?

      If the end state is to have kids that are empowered, interested and confident enough to go out and seek their own adventures, what a wonderful course that would be!

    • Steve Capps
      Post count: 85

      Lot of good comments so far. I agree with eids and the colonel, but as a former land nav instructor for young Marine officers I can tell you that this is not a skill easily passed on. I suggest you emphasize some basic dead reckoning skills. The sun always rises in the east and sets in the west. Water runs downhill and in New York it is pretty hard to go more than a few miles downstream without running into a road. All roads lead to civilization.

      I would also include some campfire cooking lessons and fishing. Everybody likes to eat and catching fish is just plain fun.

    • SteveMcD
      Member
      Post count: 870

      Yup.as a past instructor I couldn’t agree more. Orienteering would be on the top of the list. Then, outdoor survival skills, how to make a lean to, how to make a solar still, how to prevent and treat hypothermia and heat stroke. And of course, my favorite…. bloodtrailing and tracking.

      I doubt they allow it but, sharpening knives and broadheads with a whetstone has become a lost art.

      Hey I tip my hat to ya’. All the best!

    • David Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2270

      Another nod toward practical orienteering. As an old Eagle Scout and woodsman of eastern Pa where roads and streams are very plentiful, I still have to think hard when out of my element. Orienteering, as stated above, can be hard to wrap your head around for some. I think it’s best to start the concepts early. You have a great opportunity and so will your students. Enjoy! Dwc

    • paleoman
      Member
      Post count: 918

      You have some great suggestions up there. I will throw out teach “opportunism”. If you find some shreds of birch bark, stuff a few in a pocket for a fire you may someday need, if you find some ripe blackberries, stuff your face:D, remember that hollow log or other natural sheltering places, etc. Teach them just enough to appreciate how much our ancestors had to know to survive and how humbled we would be stepping into their world, as they would ours. The old term, maybe not pc, but the best of the meaning of “gone injun” strikes me as a worthy nuance.

    • Ptaylor
      Member
      Post count: 579

      I think it would be good to learn how to identify and deal with the hazards of your area. Poison ivy identification and how to treat it with local plants, like jewelweed. Definitely the danger of ticks and lyme disease. Hypothermia was already mentioned, shelter and fire building. Not sure what else is a real danger your way, but the hazards would be good for the to know.

      Sounds like a great course. I wish I had a year long class like this in high school! Have fun and good luck!

    • Charles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      colmike wrote: Eids beat me to it. Couldn’t agree more that map reading, compass skills, and making it fun with orienteering is a great start. Heck that could be an entire semester.

      I would add that the single best skill you can teach with it, is what I call “observation” don’t look- see- take time to study what you see. Do not have them naming plants and animals and birds, you learn nothing from that, but if you observe over the seasons you learn a bit. The naming of stuff comes later for those who are smitten by the experience of just watching.

      Beat you to it again. 😉

      “In addition to the structured activities, Ek noted that it is equally important for students to just simply appreciate being in the great outdoors.

      “‘We let them just enjoy themselves outside,’ he said. ‘Just to be out and feel it, hear it and touch it means a great deal to these kids who might not have that opportunity.'”

      Outdoor classrooms help orient students

    • Col Mike
      Member
      Post count: 911

      Charles you can “beat me to it” any time that your doing that super effort with education for the young ones and the added bonus that you have families involved. Well done:D.

      Trust Wolfshead will take you up on the offer.

      This morning while we were getting organized to go trim back our jungle (after a week of rain) the crows were calling across the road and Linda asked what do you think that’s all about–well I figure they are harassing a predator most likely an owl. So we grab the bino’s sneak across (well you really can’t when crows are involved) and yep there was the biggest horned owl I have seen in some time tucked right up next to the trunk of this big old oak. We observed him for some minutes then quietly slipped away.

      Great start to any day.

      Mike

    • Wolfshead
      Post count: 82

      Gentlemen,

      I thank all of you for the great responses

      This is a great opportunity for students as well as me

      I really appreciate all of the advise

      Here is a rough draft of my class syllabus to give you an idea of what I have been thinking

      Outdoors-Backwoodsman Class

      Course Syllabus

      Mr. Clarke

      Mitakuye Oyasin Mitakuye Oyasin (All Are Related) is a phrase from the Lakota language. It reflects the world view of Interconnectedness held by the Lakota people. The underlying belief of interconnectedness with all creation, is a part of many Yankton Sioux prayers, and is found in use among Native American people. The phrase translates as “all my relatives,” “we are all related,” or “all my relations.” It is a prayer of oneness and harmony with all forms of life: other people, animals, birds, insects, trees and plants, and even rocks, rivers, mountains and valleys.

      COURSE OBJECTIVE:

      This is a full year course that meets every other day.

      The course focuses on developing a greater understanding of skills required to spend time out of doors in “the Backwoods”.

      It is designed to give the student basic knowledge, understanding and respect of our natural surroundings while allowing them to spend time there comfortably and safely.

      COURSE OUTLINE:

      This course is designed for success although the student may choose to fail by choosing to engage in negative behaviors and making poor choices.

      Throughout the year the following content areas will be addressed;

      Respect & Responsibility for Nature How to be in the woods

      Navigation Fire

      Explore Bowhunting Food

      Tracking Conservation

      First Aid Shelter

      Tools

      GRADING POLICY & REQUIREMENTS FOR SUCCESS:

      Grades involve all quizzes, tests, projects, homework, and PARTICIPATION.

      Requirements for success include:

      • Regular attendance

      • Preparedness

      • Class participation

      • Tests and Quizzes

      • Homework and Class projects

      MATERIALS NEEDED:

    • David Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2270

      Sounds like a great time. Love that Lakota phrase. That’s a great beginning, middle and end. All the best to you, dwc

    • Stephen Smiley
      Post count: 46

      Sounds great, you’ve got a good outline going. I’m especially pleased to see a high school course like this being developed in Upstate NY.

    • Col Mike
      Member
      Post count: 911

      Wolfshead

      You are gonna enjoy this me thinks. Keep us posted with some photo’s and sit. reps.:D

      Mike

    • Mark Turton
      Post count: 759

      Wolfshead

      Meeting every other night is quite intense for you, may I suggest giving the students projects that they then must present to the whole class.

      Look forward to hearing how things are going, Mark.

    • TMS
      Member
      Post count: 39

      Sorry to come late to the campfire on this one. I also taught a similar course at an independent school (non-public) but it was some time ago. Some things have changed, like the proliferation of “survival-type” reality shows on TV which do not always show good decision-making or the reasoning behind some decisions. So one thing you may want to include is some type of “risk-reward matrix” for backwoods decision-making. Here’s a couple of examples of what I mean from the inimitable (and hopefully not followed by many) Bear Grylls. In the first episode of his first TV show (can’t even remember the name it was so long ago – but I do have a copy of VHS) he thought he heard a bear in the night, so he ran out of his tent and dashed through the woods without a light of any kind to escape. Then he later wanted to cross a river, so he jumped off a 30 foot cliff into the water and swam across. Now maybe I’m old fashioned but I can think of many, many bad things that can happen running through the woods at night with no light and jumping from height into unknown water. There may have been some good reasoning behind those decisions but that was never shared with the viewer.

      One other piece of knowledge that was shared with me early in my outdoor experiences was the “Rule of Threes” (under optimal conditions you can survive three minutes without air, three hours without shelter in inclement weather, three days without water, three weeks without food). That little bit of information shaped what I taught my students and still shapes what I carry into the backcountry on my own adventures.

      If you have any questions about my course or curriculum, please feel free to PM me. I would be happy to share what I have.

    • Charles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      Hey Doug, have you seen this?

      Explore Bowhunting curriculum from the ATA.

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