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Fox Walking, Fire Stealing, and a Game in the Wild


Today, after our Opening Circle with the Woolly Bears, we played a big game of Blob Tag to awaken our bodies. Over snack, Max told a story about Coyote stealing fire from a pair of beasts, jealously guarding the fire for themselves. Coyote enlisted the help of many of his friends and snuck close to steal an ember. In the end, fire was locked safely inside a great tree, and Coyote taught the humans how to make fire by friction. This story appears to be widespread among many First Nations cultures and we gratefully enjoyed enacting a few things from the story throughout the day. 

The two groups of Cobblers each had their own experience. Theresa and I split up with one half of the group (the Bobcats) and Raven and Max with the other (the Pine Barrens crew, named for the pine grove in which they reside on Fridays). Our learning trajectory is similar on most days, and we start and end our day as one group. After splitting up, the Bobcats set about adding more leaves to their lean-to and took part in a fire challenge scenario, in which we found ourselves miles from civilization kindling a fire for a hypothermic Theresa! Meanwhile the Pine Barrens Crew was honing their sixth sense in some really cool awareness exercises. The Bobcats, after building a fire structure (but before lighting it) decided to put their sneaking skills to the test (like Coyote) and sneak up on the Woolly Bears. We snuck along the deer trails through barberry brambles and got really close! The Woolly Bears welcomed us and showed us their impressive fire tipi and the fluffy tinder they had collected from the landscape just a moment before. We practiced our fox-walking skills with them and played a hiding game before departing.

Upon arriving back at camp, we realized that the Pine Barrens Crew had surrounded our camp unseen (mostly). We graciously extended our welcome to these unexpected guests as we lit our first fire of the season together. They departed and each group had lunch in their respective camps.

After lunch, each group took separate trails to meet up deep in the woods for a big game in which everyone takes on roles of the animals and attempts to survive in the wild. There were Herbivores, Omnivores, and Carnivores and, as you have probably guessed, each animal has its own needs for food procurement within the game. There was much running, sneaking, and visits to a central watering hole, and all the while there were two "hunters" attempting to get within arrow range of the animals. This is a much-loved game in which the students get to feel the freedom of wide boundaries and participate in a game that requires a diverse skill set. Running, hiding, agility, strategy, group strategy, and awareness all are very much needed at the same time in this game. We played two rounds and ended our day with a sharing circle.

—Josh and the Cobble staff