Fire-Making Skills: Igniting a World of Learning at Wild Nomads Forest School
“Making fire is a form of prayer. With your hands together you bow over and over hoping that fire will come and visit you. With the smoke rising, you send prayers and thanks to the sky. This is how the oldest Gods were worshipped. Gods of bone, and wood, and rock, and blood.” ~Luke McLaughlin (Holistic Survival School)
At Wild Nomads Forest School, we believe in empowering our young learners with valuable skills that connect them to nature and foster their self-confidence. One such skill is fire making, a vital skill in the world of outdoor education. In this article, we’ll explore how students aged 9 to 13 at Wild Nomads Forest School learn the art of fire making using various techniques, including matches, ferrocerium rods, and the ancient bow drill.
Why Fire Making Skills Matter
Fire is a fundamental element in the world of survival and outdoor education. It provides warmth, protection, and the means to cook food. But beyond its practical applications, learning to make fire is an opportunity for students to connect with their environment, develop problem-solving abilities, and gain confidence in their abilities.
Safety First: The Importance of Responsible Fire-Making
Before we delve into the methods our students learn, it’s crucial to understand that fire-making comes with responsibilities. At Wild Nomads Forest School, safety is our top priority. We ensure that our students grasp the importance of responsible fire-making and the potential risks associated with it. We always have trained instructors supervising the activities to ensure everyone’s safety.
1. Using Matches
For many beginners, using matches is the first step in their fire-making journey. Our instructors teach students how to use matches safely and effectively. Here’s a simplified breakdown of the process:
- Gather the necessary materials: dry leaves, twigs, and larger logs.
- Create a fire lay: Arrange the materials in a way that allows air to flow.
- Strike the match: Safely light the match and carefully transfer the flame to the fire lay.
- Maintain the fire: Gradually add larger logs to keep the fire going.
2. Ferrocerium Rods
Ferrocerium rods, also known as fire starters, are excellent tools for fire making. They are compact, reliable, and a staple in many survival kits. Here’s how our students learn to use them:
- Gather materials: Prepare a fire lay just like with matches.
- Hold the rod: Grasp the rod in one hand and the striker in the other.
- Strike the rod: Quickly and firmly strike the rod with the striker, aiming the sparks onto the prepared fire lay.
- Ignite the fire: With practice, the sparks will catch the dry tinder, starting a fire.
3. Bow Drill: An Ancient Art
The bow drill is an ancient fire-making technique that dates back thousands of years. It’s a challenging skill that our students learn to master over time. Here’s a simplified overview of the process:
- Gather materials: Select the components of the bow drill set – spindle, hearth board, bow, and socket.
- Prepare the hearth board: Carve a small notch near the edge of the board.
- Assemble the bow drill: Attach the spindle to the bow and place the socket on top.
- Start drilling: Apply downward pressure and rotate the spindle with the bow while maintaining a steady rhythm.
- Collect the ember: As friction generates heat, a glowing ember forms in the notch.
- Transfer the ember: Carefully transfer the ember to a bundle of dry, flammable materials.
- Blow gently: Blow on the ember to ignite the materials, creating a fire.
The Journey of Learning
At Wild Nomads Forest School, we understand that learning fire-making skills takes time and practice. We provide our students with a safe and supportive environment to develop these skills gradually. Through patience, perseverance, and expert guidance, our students not only master the art of fire making but also gain a deep appreciation for the natural world around them.
Over the school year, students will learn:
- Fire Safety
- Theory of fire
- Ferrocerium Rod
- Creating & using Char Cloth
- Natural tinder
- Manufactured Tinder
- Splitting wood with an axe
- Splitting wood with a knife – Batoning
- Creating Shavings
- Tipi Style (Pros and Cons)
- Log Cabin Style (Pros and Cons)
- Dakota Hole (Pros and Cons)
- Bow Drill
- & More!
Fire-making is just one of the many valuable skills we teach at Wild Nomads Forest School. It’s a skill that fosters self-reliance, resilience, and a profound connection to the great outdoors. We believe that by empowering our students with these skills, we’re preparing them to face life’s challenges with confidence and a strong sense of adventure.
If you’re interested in enrolling your child at Wild Nomads Forest School or want to learn more about our programs, please don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our beautiful location at 1874 Highway 20 in Fonthill, Ontario. We look forward to igniting a world of learning and adventure with your child!
COST: $250/wk or $68.00 per student, per day
Time: 5hrs (10:00am to 3:00pm)
Extended Care: Available ($15.00/h)
Materials: All equipment and materials are provided
Setting: Students will be outdoors for their entire day (shelter will be available)
Ages: Minimum 6 years old
Booking: Due to COVID-19 Restrictions all students must schedule online.
Location: 1874 Highway 20, Fonthill, ON L0S-1E6