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Thread: Bushcraft with cubs

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    Senior Member derekchambers's Avatar
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    Bushcraft with cubs

    Hi

    I am looking at doing some Bushcraft skills with cubs. \apart from shelters, fires, backwoods cooking am open to other suggestions

    Del
    Derek Chambers,

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    How about a compass course? Find an area in a park or something with a chunk of land 30 meters on a side (bigger is fine). Find it on google earth and put a bunch of points on it. Using google earth you can also find bearings and distances between points. Create a couple of paths through the points. Using a GPS put a flag at each point with something written on it. Each bearing/distance takes you from one flag to another. So as long as you're close you get reset to the right point at each flag. As the cubs follow the course they write down the words from the flags. I did this near Halloween and used names from scary movies. The cubs need to know their pace and how to use a compass. I've done this with scouts in the 11 to 18 year old range and spread it over a square mile. For cubs I'd make it much simpler. Maybe put the flags on a grid and only use 8 bearings. I'd just work the magnetic declination into the bearings. Somehow make it a competition that involves candy and they should be happy!

    If you do this let me know how it works. I haven't worked with cubs in a long time. Good luck.

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    Tree identification would be good - feeds into lots of other skills layer like burning properties of wood, woods for pioneering etc. Wish someone started earlier for my Explorers - they can just about identify silver birch now though!

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    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekchambers View Post
    Hi

    I am looking at doing some Bushcraft skills with cubs. \apart from shelters, fires, backwoods cooking am open to other suggestions

    Del
    i think the ones you've already mentioned will form 50% of any bushcraft programme.

    others to look at maybe:

    knife work

    camp gadgets: making nets to using them in activity or as a hammock; tripod hanger; bowl stand; log seat; walls/screens for fires; camp washing structures; tables, &c.

    kit: what to take, how to pack, bare necessities, how to minimize, what to wear, first aid, &c.

    environmental: protecting the outdoors, country code; observing nature - bird, animal, plant and tree id; tracking, &c

    weather: wind, rain, beaufort scale; clouds; lightning including what to do if caught in a storm, &c

    finding one's way naturally: celestial navigation - day and night, sun and moon; tree shapes (comb); using mosses and plants; wind; rainbows; puddles; churches, mosques and graveyards, &c.

    TM
    going...going...

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    Senior Member Ihatecamping's Avatar
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    We do the 'map-free' navigation work. Finding your way with the sun, moon, shape of the trees etc. Sometimes it has to be a bit basic. So we ask them,"Where's the Sun?". Then, "Have you had your lunch yet?" Then, "So is the Sun West of South, or East of South? Right, please lead off in a South-Westerly direction". We're almost at the point where our Scouts don't carry a compass except as a back-up, which is pretty pleasing.

    We've also worked out latitude and longitude of the campsite, using home-made quadrants on a clear night, then using a watch and post in the ground to work out the time of the local noon. That was interesting; like the wisdom of crowds, no individual got it right, but grouped together with the outliers removed, we got very close to the real values. Of course I don't expect them to remember how to do it by themselves, but it might plant a seed for later.

    Have them try making a needle compass. We used magnets to magnetise them, but stropping it on your trouser leg also works. Then they could do basic bearings around a course. It would be interesting to see how they manage carrying the bowl of water for the needle to float on. As I'm a beekeeper we used thin slivers wax to float the needles on, but apparently slices of cork will do.

    Making nettle soup is a good one. Everyone can identify a nettle. You can give them the idea that there is natural food around them, without trying to teach them how to identify things that may or may not be hemlock (but Cubs do enjoy the idea that there's something growing near them that's deadly poison).

    We've also done stalking, i.e. moving silently through the woods, how to place your feet, shift your weight etc. We started in the hall, and I was amazed how loud the ticking of the clock was, when six Cubs are moving silently across the wooden floor, while the rest sit quietly and the blindfolded leaders try to point to anyone making a noise. I'd never heard so little noise on a Cub night.

    Regarding tree identification, we play a version of NorthEastSouthWest, using trees. So we show them six different tree or other plant species in a glade, and call out, "Oak!". They then run to the relevant tree. Instead of commands like 'Captain's coming' you could do 'Lumberjack' (make a chopping motion) or 'Stag' (stand stock still making antlers with their hands branched out from their heads) or 'Timber' (lie flat on the ground).
    The long march through the institutions is nearly complete.

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    Home made water filters crosses the line between bushcraft/survival and environmental/community stuff - 4 pint milk bottles with the bottom cut off hung from some string, hole punched in the cap to let water out - get them to fill the container with stuff they think will act as a filter.

    Did a short session on cooling a few weeks back (as a prelude to a water fight). How they might keep things cool if they don't have access to fridges, cool blocks etc. Evaporative cooling is quite a dramatic demonstration - got a Cub out as guinea pig, put a tea towel over his bare arm, and poured some warm water (had been sat in my car in the sun all day so was on the toasty side of warm) over it. Cub agreed that water was warm and then asked to describe how his arm felt - it goes cold. Point out that that is not because the water was cold, but because the water is absorbing heat energy from his arm in order to become vapour. Then that we can use this on camps etc to help keep things like food cool. Other examples being put it in a stream of running water, use shade etc.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Senior Member chris@8th's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mang21 View Post
    Home made water filters crosses the line between bushcraft/survival and environmental/community stuff - 4 pint milk bottles with the bottom cut off hung from some string, hole punched in the cap to let water out - get them to fill the container with stuff they think will act as a filter.

    Did a short session on cooling a few weeks back (as a prelude to a water fight). How they might keep things cool if they don't have access to fridges, cool blocks etc. Evaporative cooling is quite a dramatic demonstration - got a Cub out as guinea pig, put a tea towel over his bare arm, and poured some warm water (had been sat in my car in the sun all day so was on the toasty side of warm) over it. Cub agreed that water was warm and then asked to describe how his arm felt - it goes cold. Point out that that is not because the water was cold, but because the water is absorbing heat energy from his arm in order to become vapour. Then that we can use this on camps etc to help keep things like food cool. Other examples being put it in a stream of running water, use shade etc.
    The simplest example to show evaporative cooling is to get everyone to gently blow their finger. Their breath will feel warm. Then tell them to lick their finger and repeat the gentle blow. Their breath is now cold as the evaporation of the moisture from the "lick" evaporates, extracting heat. I use this at work all the time when showing people how cooling towers work!!
    Chris

    Akela - 8th Mirfield
    Heavy Woollen District


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    Senior Member Puzzledbyadream's Avatar
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    Looking for signs of animals is a good one, so tracks, poo, nut shells, deer antler scraping on trees. There's some good identifying sheets for things like nutshells online, you can tell which animal has eaten it by the teeth marks!

    Slight variation on fires but old overhead projector lenses make fantastic fire starters if you've got some cramp ball and a sunny day.
    Nyika (formerly Bagheera)

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    Scouting for All and nobody left behind!

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    Senior Member bernwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    The simplest example to show evaporative cooling is to get everyone to gently blow their finger. Their breath will feel warm. Then tell them to lick their finger and repeat the gentle blow. Their breath is now cold as the evaporation of the moisture from the "lick" evaporates, extracting heat. I use this at work all the time when showing people how cooling towers work!!
    You can also do it with a terracotta plant pot, turn it upside down with whatever you want to cool inside it, wet the pot , and keep it damp, place it ideally in a breezy spot, and keep wetting it. We made ice cream on camp last summer! Not totally frozen but a the cubs loved it.

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