Earth Connection is a school of primitive skills and wilderness survival located in Northern Virginia and North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham area) that has been in existence for over a decade. Our hands-on classes are reasonably priced because we don't believe in big price tags for primitive skills. That's just not natural!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

American Indian Heritage Day at JPPM

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (JPPM) hosted American Indian Heritage Day on Saturday, August 12 and Earth Connection was there. The weather could not have been any better than it was, not too hot with a slight breeze off the bay.

The event featured educational sessions and entertainment highlighting American Indian culture and history through hands-on activities, demonstrations, exhibits, and live performances. Days before the event Governor Ehrlich Jr. encouraged "… all Marylanders to attend American Indian Heritage Day and learn more about the history and culture of our great state's original inhabitants," which I suspect a few took his encouragement to heart.

Although it was a slow start out at the Indian village, many made it down to our humble village of demonstrations.
There were over 1500 visitors over all. Those 1500 or so guests experienced traditional and contemporary expressions of American Indian cultural heritage, including music, storytelling, arts, and crafts. Many of the visitors explored the hands-on activities in pottery, finger weaving, archery, hide tanning, primitive cooking and stone tool making. The event also featured the continuing construction of replica woodland Indian village with a wigwam and work shelter where the primitive cooking was set up.

The Mid-Atlantic Primitive Skills Group (MAPS) provided demonstrations on primitive cooking, cordage and hide tanning for the event in the woodland Indian village still under construction. Oregon Ridge Nature Center provided stone tool making. Earth Connection (EC) provided some of the primitive cooking demonstrations with MAPS.

EC provided a green stick grill, pit cooking and clay pot oven demonstrations. We cooked up croaker and spot fish, buffalo, venison, game hen, quail, corn on the cob, plenty of vegetables, but only the demonstrators could partake of the bounty. Guests were bound to the food provided by the event concessionaires. That was good for us.

There were also many folks that stopped by to say hello during the event that have come to EC classes in the past. I hope to see more of them out at EC in the future.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Heatwave Cooling Off

Now that the Heatwave is essentially over, EC wants to pass on some heat coping skills and lessons learned to help us outdoor freaks that spend too much time outside.

Here are some easy tips on Staying cool:
  • Take a mid-day siesta. A simple countermeasure to extreme heat is not play in it... take a break. Avoid exertion during the hottest time of the day. Putting your feet up and resting in the backyard shade is very effective and environmentally friendly.
  • Use a wet towel or hankerchief around your neck. This will cool your core down more effectively than you might think. There are even commercial versions you can purchase for you and your dog, but a hand towel is cheaper.
    • Open a window. When your fan and air-condition is not working due to a power failure... open a window. But, do it right. Most of us have forgotten how to open our sash windows to maximize airflow (if you have this style... we do). If you understand the fluid mechanics of natural ventilation and have a sash window in the right place and right height then go for it. It is best to have your sash window open equally top and bottom. The cooler (relatively) air flows into the room through the lower opening and flushes the warm air out through the top. If you can, leave sash in this position overnight for best results. The cool external air also cools the walls, floor and ceiling that have absorbed the days heat.
      • Change your diet. Avoid heavy protein foods like meat and dairy products that tend to increase metabolism and raise body heat and fluid loss. Of course, drink plenty of fluids... like WATER! Eat more cold food like salads and fruit that contain water.
        • Avoid the Sun. Avoid direct sunlight if possible. Use sunscreen as a sunburn will limit your body's capability to cope with the heat. Wear light-weight and light-colored clothing that is loose and porous, and a wide-brim hat.
          • Know the symptoms and treatment for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Symptoms include: headaches, nausea, an intense thirst, sleepiness, hot red and dry skin, a sudden rise in temperature, confusion, aggression, and convulsions and a loss of consciousness. Treatment: immediate cooling of the body in anyway that is feasible.