Ok, well, maybe it was Camp Shankitunk not the Bat Cave exactly! We had a great time and learned so much. We also learned that we have so much more to learn! Yikes! All 3 of us are interested in learning it though and one of us may need it in future park ranger work so we are going to start working on 4H Forestry Curriculum at home.
We arrived Friday night at dinner time and got settled into our cabins. Maddie and I were in the Bat Cave while Brian was in “Welcome to the Jungle” with the other dads and sons. Brian said the amount of snoring certainly made the name appropriate! We brought dinner along with us to eat then Maddie started getting to know some of the other kids that we would be spending the weekend with.
We didn’t realize until Sunday that Maddie had ended up making friends and hanging out with a group of kids who were 14-just turned 16 years old. They didn’t realize how young Maddie was either! Obviously they all met in the middle and were enjoying each other. Have I ever mentioned how much we love 4H kids? Friday night also included a bonfire and games.
Saturday morning we got up, had some breakfast then headed off to learn some things! First up was how to use a Biltmore Stick to measure the diameter and volume of a tree. Volume of a tree being how many boards you could create and sell from the tree. Its a pure estimate and not an exact science! First they had to figure out their pace which was how far 66 feet would be for every 2 steps they took.
I had to take this picture because I was waiting for someone to yell “For Narnia!!!” and take off but everyone was very absorbed figuring out what they were doing and missed the opportunity!
After this session we went inside for tree identification. In my world that would be how to use a field guide. In Forestry world it is memorize what the tree looks like so you can tell me later.
After that was lunch. Meals were prepared by one parent who was in charge of that all weekend with both kids and parents helping to finish up and serve. We all chipped in to make the weekend work because that’s what 4H’ers do. Once lunch was eaten and the kids had raced around a bit we headed out for a hike. This 4H camp has a learning forest directly across the street which was donated for that purpose. There are examples of both good and bad practices in forestry. It was also on the side of a mountain. I thought we would never make it back to flat land!
Then we moved on to maps and compasses. These were not easy sessions. I probably would’ve flipped that to morning if I was given the choice. Lots of math, lots of trying to follow confusing directions. The plan at home is to work on topographical maps this winter. These two pictures sum up Maddie and Brian’s feelings about them!
I was very proud of Maddie! She certainly got frustrated but she stuck to it and did get some idea of what she was trying to do !
Sunday was dedicated to testing the kids on the skills they had learned the day before. Maddie didn’t do as well as she hoped to do. Brian and I reassured her that we were there for fun and to check things out, not to ace a test. Maddie wants to be good enough to go to the National Competition when she is old enough (14 years) so we said we would study at home and work toward that goal. Goals are good. Knowing how far you need to go to reach the goal is even better!
Working hard on her test!
All in all it was a great weekend with good people!