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July 9-14, 2014 - Great Lakes Traditional Arts Gathering

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Briar Patch Outdoors

Course Descriptions


This course is a prerequisite to all advanced courses. It is a very comprehensive course that begins with understanding survival psychology. Then the fun really begins! We will cover all areas of basic wilderness survival including fire making techniques; constructing shelters from natural materials; finding and purifying water; utilizing tools and equipment; using a map and compass, as well as celestial navigation; knots, ropes, and making cordage; identifying edible and medicinal plants; basic trapping techniques involving constructing and placement of snares and deadfalls; organizing and using survival kits (possible bags); fishing; signaling; how not to get lost; and much, much more. There will be a lot of classroom and hands-on field training, and both primitive and modern techniques will be taught. Every skill learned will be practiced in the field. We want you to leave this course feeling totally confident and comfortable in the wilderness. Nowhere will you find a course as complete and enjoyable. Cost is $780.


Spend a week submerged in the stone age! Some of the subjects to be covered will be primitive fire making, bark lean-to, rawhide, bone and leather, flint knapping, pitch glues, lamps & torches, bark baskets, finger weaving and way too much more to mention. Each project will be built upon the previous skills learned; everything you make will be yours to take home. There is no prerequisite for this course, but a basic familiarity with hand tools like knives and awls would be helpful. Cost is $780.


I can offer these programs at ANY location as well as our home base near Clare. These are one day (6-8 hours) trips to learn the useful plants of an area - those that are food, fiber, medicine, poison, or in other ways utilitarian. We will make a meal in the woods using plants we have harvested. Ethical and safety concerns will be addressed, as well as resources one may use for further study. This is a great way to begin to appreciate the natural world in a new way. Cost starts at $50, depending on


Gourds are a versatile and widespread resource. Learn how to grow and process these fascinating plants into any number of projects! Several methods of ornamentation will be examined and practiced. The focus of the class will be containers, but musical instruments, masks, and bird-houses are all possibilities. Tools will be provided, and each student will go home with seeds, a completed project, a new awl, and all the techniques needed to produce and decorate their own gourds. This class is for those with an artistic side as well as those with an appreciation of cultural preservation and primitive skills.


Learn how to take herbs from the field, forest, or even your yard and make a variety of useful items. Current literature on the subject will be examined. The process for producing salves, oils, balms, tinctures, decoctions, infusions, and more will be explained, demonstrated, and put into practice in this hands-on class. Students will leave with a printed set of basic instructions for making a variety of useful preparations. This will include products with medicinal, culinary, and household uses. Also, each student will leave with samples of several preparations we will manufacture in class.

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Send an email to georgehedgepeth(at)hotmail(dot)com

Briar Patch Outdoors
219 Holmes Street
Durand MI 48429
(989) 288-0168

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