Feel like starting a fire isn't hard enough? Learn the secrets of primitive fire making as we dive hands first into the art of the bowdrill fire. This skill is not often practically useful but will give you a better appreciation for the ability of our ancestors and the qualities of the woods around you. Flint and steel fires will also be covered though not as in depth. Get ready to sweat as you feel the heat, from the bowdrill action if not your fire.
This class is designed to help you become a better naturalist by increasing your awareness of the world around you through improved use of all your senses. We will immerse ourselves in the landscape and participate in various guided exercises and games to strengthen our powers of observation through seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and various other senses such as balance, direction, temperature, etc...
This will be very “hands-on” and experiential, so come prepared to get off the beaten path and enter into close contact with the wild elements. Many of the techniques we will be practicing are inspired by the guide books of Tom Brown Jr. founder of the Tracker Survival School and John Young author of Coyotes Guide to Connecting with Nature.
Butterflies fill our world with beauty. They also play an important role in the functioning of our ecosystems, and are significant indicators of environmental health at the local level. We will discuss the basics of butterfly biology then go for a hike to find and identify some of the species who make their home in the Irish Hills. Close focusing binoculars will help, but are not essential. Also many butterflies love wet meadows and fens, so come prepared to walk on water.
Come learn the basics of getting to know our feathered friends. Throughout the course of a walk we will cover how and what to observe when identifying and watching birds, what different kinds of bird calls mean and apply this knowledge to identifying some of the birds we see as we are out and about. Wear sturdy shoes and bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them!
Look up! The night sky changes a little bit each night throughout the year. Come to explore some of the shapes and stories that adorn our sky and enrich our human history. Sarah will point out constellations with a nifty green laser - taking some of the guesswork out of learning your stars. It’s summer triangle time!
11007 Mull Hwy
Tipton, MI 49287
There will be a 5 minute hike out to our stargazing destination (and fire pit). Please bring a flashlight, weather-appropriate clothing and blanket, yoga mat or sleeping pad with you (to lay on)! This will be a sitting/laying down event.
Walking through a woods in spring you may come upon a seemingly insignificant puddle. Do not be deceived, however, these "Vernal Pools" as they are named play host to a significant number of species. From amphibians and birds to the otherworldly Fairy Shrimp, Vernal Pools are alive with the lives of often secretive creatures. Come out and explore how these temporary wetlands are critical to a forest's health, what threats there are to their continued existence and of course, what amazing creatures call them home. Be prepared for walking some distance to get to the pools and wear sturdy shoes
Meet at 11703 Noggles Rd, Manchester MI
We will go out to search and collect shoots and greens at their most tender and delicious stage. Garlic mustard, honewort, violets, stinging nettles, wood sorrel, wild asparagus, milkweed shoots and dandelion greens are some of the plants that we may encounter, learn to identify and enjoy.
We will bring back what we collect and cook it up over an open fire for a light lunch.
Folks are encouraged to bring a basket to collect into.
See you there!
Enjoy miles of trails and spring beauty during this 5k run/walk hosted on the Kellum family property. It promises to be an entertaining afternoon of the outdoors, live music, games, food and drink. Find out more on Facebook at Trillium 5k or e-mail us directly at Open Grown School
One of the most beautiful displays of spring is the passage of the bright and brilliant wood warblers on their flight to their breeding grounds in the north. Their dazzling array of colors is all around us for a few weeks in May, as they stop in for a snack to fuel up for the rest of their journey. Yet, as showy as they are they can be easy to miss if you don’t know where and when to find them. We will learn how to locate these special visitors and to become better observers through learning about their habitat, behavior, songs, as well identifying species through visual characteristics. Bring binoculars.
Together we will search the forest floor and learn to identify these small yet significant seasonal blossoms. We will look into the reasons they make such a short appearance, attempt to understand their role in the ecosystem, and learn something about the habitats they prefer here in southern Michigan. The focus will be on flowers, but we will also explore some of the non floral spring ephemera such as frog song, sap flow, flooding and fiddle heads.
Not much thought is given to lowly cordage or rope in how it has shaped our growth as humans. From the first fishing nets to the lines on ships cordage has taken us above and beyond our primitive origins. Take a step back in this workshop where we will be exploring the making of cordage from natural materials. Topics to be covered will include the I.D. of good cordage plants, ethical harvest practices and of course hands on practice making your very own cord. A short walk will be included to harvest some of our own materials The ability to make cordage is helpful to practicing other primitive skills and great for making your own bracelets and necklaces. See you there!
Look up! The night sky changes a little bit each night throughout the year. Come to explore some of the shapes and stories that adorn our sky and enrich our human history. Sarah will point out constellations with a nifty green laser - taking some of the guesswork out of learning your stars. Wear warm clothes and welcome spring with us!
11007 Mull Hwy
Tipton, MI 49287
There will be a 5 minute hike out to our stargazing destination (and fire pit). Please bring a flashlight with you!
photo courtesy of Trevor Jones www.astrobackyard.com