The Berwick Young Naturalist Club was busy building natural abodes this weekend and we wanted to share our efforts.
After our opening circle of intros, gratitude and song we warmed up with a game of Elf Tag before heading into the woods at the Black Rock Community Trails on the North Mountain. The promise of shelter building, or perhaps the mild weather (or both) brought out an enthusiastic crowd on this first Saturday of December. With 11 kids (including a tiny baby) and 7 adults, we followed the pink trail watching for possible animal shelters along the way to inspire and inform us before we attempted our own.
As we gathered under the bare deciduous trees beside the trail we reviewed some principles of wilderness survival and shelter building before exploring the area and deciding on the shelter we want to work on. We discussed the importance of location, location, location. Location will inform:
1) materials (can you find what you need close by without expending too much energy?);
2) conditions (what’s it like where you plan to build e.g. weather, prevailing winds, wet or dry underfoot? etc.); and
3) safety (what are the hazards and where do you need to build to stay safe?) All of these will inform where and what you should build.
We explored the area we were in which had may fallen ash trees from Hurricane Arthur a few years ago, and lots of fallen leave along with some older falling or fallen spruces. We broke into a few groups to pursue three shelter projects. A large group embarked on completing a partially built debris hut started by me some weeks earlier that I had to abandon when it got so soggy In early November and then I got called out of province for a few weeks. A small team of boys found a spacious tree-root cave and proceeded to make it cozy. And the third was a father-son duo who built a small lean-to with a soft mossy carpet.
We out in a god hour of work and were pretty pleased with our results although no one was volunteering to sleep out overnight. We imagined how we might market our new green buildings and here is what we can offer:
Three eco-homes, close to trails, Bay of Fundy and a community centre. All three built of all-natural materials meeting tried and tested architectural standards. Energy bills are exceptionally low. Sizes vary: 1) spacious 7-person cave with soft floors and decorative ceiling; 2) Airy, child-friendly abode (fits 1 small child) with green shag carpet; and 3) contemporary design, cozy A-frame – sleeps one large adult or a few children and their dog. Can you match the ‘shelter’ descriptions with the pictures?
Thanks for another fun outing Team Berwick and guests from away. Looking forward to seeing you for our next outing on Dec. 31st. Watch the events section for details soon.