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Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.  Albert Einstein

Week Three of Summer Camp 2017!

Sarah Chaffee, July 15, 2017

Bear Camp

This week the members of Bear Camp had the option of joining a guild that focused on different interests. One of the guilds was Tool Time where campers focused on making tools and crafting supplies made from bones. Clay Creations was another guild where campers made pottery from natural clay and built their own primitive kiln to finish their projects.

Campers cooking a wild edible treat in a fire.

The final guild was called Wild Edibles, Plants and More. This group of campers spent time exploring the Arnot Forest while identifying and harvesting various wild edibles and learning about their medicinal purposes. On Wednesday night they made cakes using day lilies and other wild edibles they found.

Campers enjoying the sweet taste of day lilies.

On their last night of Bear Camp, campers participated in an epic scavenger hunt that tested them on everything they had learned that week. They were also able to finish up some final crafting projects and practice their friction fire skills.

Campers admiring a torch they made.

Capture the Flag

The Sassy Squirrels and the Rabid Wolves had an epic week of Capture the Flag camp at the Ellis Hollow Natural Area. Each team made their own flags bearing their chosen name and enjoyed a week filled with variations of Capture the Flag.

Members of the Sassy Squirrels proudly holding up their flag.

Campers playing a partnered version of Forest Fire.

When they weren't playing CTF, they enjoyed wading in the creek, making bowls out of clay, playing Camouflage and even harvesting some black caps!

A camper playing a game of Camouflage.

A camper with a handful of harvested black caps.

Fire Wizards

This week the woods of 4-H Acres was filled with an eager bunch of campers hoping to become Fire Wizards. They learned the art of fire-making by completing daily challenges that required them to build fires using different methods of fire-starting. The Fire Wizards also gained a deep appreciation and respect for fire and all it can do for us.

The Fire Wizards placing tilapia wrapped in leaves and sweet potatoes into the pit.

On Friday they put all of their fire knowledge to the test by digging a pit they filled with rocks heated from a fire. They wrapped tilapia mixed with wild edibles and sweet potatoes into the pit and covered it with dirt. An hour later they unearthed their feast and enjoyed the rewards of their hard work.

Tilapia and sweet potato cooked by the Fire Wizards.

Growing Wild

This week's theme at Growing Wild was insects! Each day they learned about a new insect and by the end of the week they had seen spiders, caterpillars, butterflies and they even had a special visit from the Queen Bee herself!

A sweet moment between Zach, a Growing Wild instructor, and a camper during lunch.

A camper enjoying some free-play at the creek by Trillium Camp.

Growing Wild became friends of the insect world by acting out caterpillar poetry, creating a spider web and rescuing slugs and worms that had been exposed during the rain. They also enjoyed lots of free-play in the creek and time on the "horsey log".

Growing Wild campers with their instructors Monica (left) and Nina (right) having fun on the "horsey log.".

Hunter Gatherer

Bear Clan

The Bear Clan spent most of the week in the Hemlocks and at Raccoon Motel where they learned about throwing sticks and practiced aiming at targets.

A Bear Clan member participating in a throwing stick exercise.

This group used the rainy weather to their advantage and practiced how to build fires in a wet environment.

A camper hiding during a game of Camouflage.

They were also very aware of their surroundings and because of this found many feathers and other gifts of nature. On Friday they put their hunting skills to the test to try and capture the elusive "Pinegator."

The Bear Clan playing a rhythm game.

Deer Clan

The hunters and gatherers of the Deer Clan made their camp for the week at White Pine. They enjoyed building fires, learning about plants and how to ethically harvest them and making new friends.

Members of the Deer Clan with Hani, one of their instructors, making a discovery in the creek.

As the week progressed their knowledge of the woods and its resources and their ability to work together as a team improved.

Wolf Clan

This clan made Mystery Camp their home for the week. They built deadfall traps, improved their coal burning technique and enjoyed movement and fire challenges.

Oscar, a Wolf Clan instructor, and a camper listening to a story.

The Wolf Clan also loved to play stalking games and worked well as a team during these missions. During free-play, these campers liked to spend their time exploring the creek and the beaver dam, looking for crawfish, frogs and other aquatic critters.

A happy group of Hunters and Gatherers after winning an epic game that tested their survival skills.

On Friday the entire Hunter Gatherer tribe played an epic game that tested their knowledge of shelter building, harvesting wild edibles and collecting water.

Oscar, dressed as a character from a story, asking a CIT a nature question during the game.

At the end of the day they gathered back together to listen to a story and eat some delicious fruit!

Liana, a Deer Clan instructor, telling the Hunter Gatherer tribe a story.

Jedi Academy

This week 4-H Acres had some very special guest instructors from a galaxy far, far away to help teach the younglings of Primitive Pursuits how to safely use the Force. Masters Tuber and Sage Blossom spent the week in a remote area of the Hemlocks where they worked on daily Force-focusing exercises that challenged the younglings physically and mentally.

Master Tuber.

Master Sage Blossom.

On Monday they had to work as a team to steal three orange bandanas that were guarded by drones. In order to successfully retrieve them, they needed to practice their camouflage and stealth skills.

Two younglings trying to trick the drones by pretending to be a tree.

A youngling trying to camouflage himself from the drones.

On Friday they were put to the ultimate test when they had to defeat a Sith Lord. Luckily they had their lightsabers and new skills taught to them by their Jedi Masters, and were able to defeat the Sith Lord and bring him back to the light.

A youngling during a physical challenge.


The Trailblazers explored a diverse set of landscapes this week, trekking through three hollows, climbing up an unpathed mountain and even setting foot in downtown Ithaca! At the beginning of the week they visited Shindagin and Texas Hollow, where they walked through a bog and saw a turtle. On Wednesday they went to Griggs Gulf State Forest where they bravely became true trailblazers and climbed up a mountain with no path. Once at the top they made a shelter and fire to keep warm and dry during a rain storm.

The Trailblazers enjoying their day at Griggs Gulf State Forest.

On Thursday the Trailblazers became the "Urbanblazers" and used maps to successfully navigate their way from the Cornell Cooperative Extension to Ithaca Falls. On the way campers and instructors stopped to admire people's gardens and used this as a good time to practice their plant identification skills. At Ithaca Falls the "Urbanblazers" enjoyed playing by the water and even found some charcoal they used for face paint.

A Trailblazer enjoying the view at Ithaca Falls.

Rain and lightning may have changed their plans for the rest of the day but the campers didn't let it bother them. Instead they had a great time in the Tompkins County Public Library where they read books about nature and even got to play with some kittens from the Browncoat Cat Rescue! At the end of the week they drove to the third hollow, Michigan Hollow, and enjoyed an adventurous last day together.

A camper getting a charcoal mustache drawn on by Jenn, a Trailblazer instructor.

Thanks for reading! We're looking forward to our fourth week of camp here at Primitive Pursuits!

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Need a trail guide?

We’re happy to help you navigate. Give us a call at the office (607) 272-2292 ext. 195 or use the link below

Get In Touch

Don't miss a beat, add yourself to our list to get all the latest details.