This year, the Pathfinders have been experiencing nature in many different avenues. We have worked on learning about the trees around us. We have begun looking at animal tracks to learn about what may be living around us that we do not always see. And we have worked on some of our camping and outdoor skills, including fire-building without matches or lighters.
Why learn trees? Because they are all around us. Because different trees and collections of trees can tell us about the environment in which they live. Because being familiar with the trees can ease our sense of anxiety if we find ourselves... misplaced... when we go out. If we can know about the trees around us, we can be as familiar with our surroundings in the woodlands as we are in our own neighborhoods.
Why study animal tracks? We have limited time outdoors, and we may not be able to see the animals around us. But we can see their tracks, their scat, and other signs of their passage and interaction with their environments. Knowing about the animals around us eases our uncertainty when we go outdoors. It reduces the sense of the unknown, and helps heighten our awareness. And it is fun to imagine what the animals were doing when they passed by.
Why practice survival skills, like fire-building? It can increase our confidence is our ability to keep going even if things aren't going to plan. It can increase our own sense of accomplishment (when the spark ignites the tinder, it really feels great). It helps us understand the basic tenants of fire (fuel, heat, oxygen), and thus gives us ways to solve challenges when we may need a fire for warmth, lighting, or signalling. Sure, a match is easier to use, but knowing we can strike a spark into a fire is pretty cool.
We look forward to sharing other accomplishments, skills, and knowledge building as we work and explore together this Pathfinder year! Thanks for supporting the SAIL Pathfinder Club.