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What could have potentially been a very wet week turned out not so bad after all. The main shelter was still raised, as well as a few smaller group ones, however we didn’t have the occasion to dive for cover at any point. Lucky!
In amongst the now popular ‘tribes’, we managed to spend the vast majority of the session working with tools. Whilst a small group of children were demonstrating their skills with knives, the rest were off ecologically harvesting suckers from the bases of trees using secateurs. With regard to the knives, the children had correct sheathing and unsheathing modelled to them and repeated it well. We revisited the rule of blood bubble and about how to cut in front of your knees or with both legs together and to your side. Some used loppers to segment larger fallen branches and others had the opportunity to use handsaws on thicker limbs. It was good to get Cherry class using tools again in just their second session back in the woods and we will continue to develop this skill next week.
A major highlight of the session has to have been the removal of a fallen elder tree which was damaging surrounding foliage. The trunk had split and, though it had not fallen across the path and it was not a hazard, we took the opportunity to harvest the natural resource. Next week we will focus on how elder can be used to make beads for woodland ‘bling’! The tree was first trimmed of many of the larger branches with loppers and then severed from its split trunk using a handsaw. Then came the impressive moment. Using timber hitches and a multitude of ropes, some of the children pulled and heaved and hauled with all their might trying to get the tree down the steps to the area where we work. It was such tough going that more children had to be called and with a lot of whooping and hollering the tree came down! Lots of perseverance shown by the Cherries, great job!
Hopefully there will be more of an opportunity to show off their skills next week. I look forward to it!