You’ve seen it on T.V. A burly survivorman cuts a few branches off a tree, rubs one in his hands, and–just like that–he’s got a fire. Sitting on the couch in your living room, you may think, “I could never do that.” This month, two Colorado survival skills schools are teaming up to prove that anyone can make a fire without matches.
From June 25-30, Crestone’s Earth Knack Stone-Age Living Skills and Arvada’s Sarqit Outdoor Living School will host the 25th Annual Earth Knack Gathering at Happy Dog Ranch just south of Chatfield State Park and Reservoir in Littleton. Sandwiched between wild mountains and suburban subdivisions, the event’s location says it all: you don’t have to be Grizzly Adams or Bear Grylls to incorporate stone-age and modern sustainable living skills into your urban life.
The event will feature five days of classes, talks, and workshops on a wide range of topics, providing something for the whole family. Those interested in ancient skills can learn to flintknap (make stone tools), tan deer and elk hides, identify wild edible plants, make a sinew bowstring, or launch darts with an atlatl. Others more interested in modern homesteading skills may want to take classes in blacksmithing, animal husbandry, natural building, wet felting wool, and spinning. And for kids and kids at heart, a daily family camp will feature fun activities including finger painting with natural pigments, archery, making string out of natural fibers, and more.
Robin Blankenship began Earth Knack at her home in Boulder in 1990. Though the school’s first few June gatherings were held on the Front Range, Earth Knack has operated mostly out of Crestone since relocating eighteen years ago. But an occasion as special as the 25th anniversary, Blankenship said, warranted a return to Earth Knack’s home turf.
“We’re excited to bring some of the nation’s most knowledgeable instructors to Denver,” said Blankenship. “Especially with the recent popularity of urban homesteading, we hope to teach folks useful skills that they can incorporate into their everyday lives. You don’t have to go out into the woods to make a friction fire!”
“Before I took a class with Robin, I was a city girl through and through,” said Earth Knack instructor Jillian Liebl. “It took a while, but I eventually realized that deep inside I was craving a connection to the earth. Learning–and now teaching–the skills that all of our ancestors once practiced is incredibly empowering and fun. Believe me: if I can do it, anyone can.”
The gathering, which includes onsite camping and dinner around the campfire each night, requires an immense amount of logistical planning, a feat Blankenship realized would be difficult to accomplish long-distance. Enter Arvada’s Sarqit Outdoor Living School, the gathering’s hosts. Sarqit founders Drover and Beth Hall said they wanted to help bring the Earth Knack gathering to the Front Range again to reach a broad audience.
“We have been going to primitive skills gatherings around the country for many years now and have always wanted to bring one to the Denver area,” said Drover Hall. “Beth and I see this gathering as a time to come together to form a community, have fun camping, and learn skills that will better our lives.”
The 25th Annual Earth Knack Gathering will be held June 25-30 at Happy Dog Ranch in Littleton, Colorado. All ages are welcome and are invited to camp onsite for the duration of the gathering–even if you live in the Denver area. It's your chance to get away without going too far from home!
Tuition for the five-day event includes camping, dinner each night, and top-notch courses. The cost is $265 for adults, $150 for ages 8-16, $85 for ages 4-7, and free for 3 and under. The day rate is $50 for adults 16 and over, $30 for children 4-16, and free for 3 and under. Group rates are available. For more information, or to register, please visit http://www.earthknackgathering.com/
About Earth Knack Stone-Age Living Skills: Located near Crestone, Colorado, Earth Knack has been offering primitive skills courses, wilderness treks, and sustainable modern life skills teaching since 1990. Robin Blankenship, who owns and operates Earth Knack, has worked in the outdoor education field since 1978, teaching for Larry Olsen’s School of Urban and Wilderness Survival, Outward Bound, and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).
This year, Earth Knack will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a five-day gathering near Denver in June and a wide assortment of classes at the school site in Crestone, including hide tanning, wild plants intensives, archery and bow-making, footwear series, animal processing, and much more. For a complete course schedule, please visit www.earthknack.com.
About Sarqit Outdoor Living Skills: Sarqit, directly translated, denotes a means of wandering. Now that is a beautiful idea! We are all wanderers and need a means to wander. As we travel upon this globe we are given the privilege to gather. We gather around us people that we trust: friends, and more importantly, family. We gather treasured belongings that remind us of good times past and others that remind us of bright futures ahead. We gather knowledge which betters our life and enriches our days. As we wander we are in need of a means to eat, sleep, move, and do. Together we are united in this, ever since the beginning. Thus Sarqit Outdoor Living School (S.O.L.S.) is here to teach a means of wandering. Sarqit is based in Arvada, CO. For more information, please visit www.sarqit.com.