By Tim Drake


What do you do if you are a motivated 15-year-old girl who has “practiced” survival skills and learned about wild edibles week after week since 6th grade?

If you’re a Primitive Pursuits participant you field test your skills. In the safety of a group of peers and instructors, Lily began her three-day challenge by building a great shelter of all-natural material.

Even late summer nights can dip into the thirties and without a blanket, sleeping bag or tent your shelter better be good. For extra warmth try bringing in a (non-sedimentary, because those can explode) rock or two, pre-heated in your campfire. Be careful!

A natural spring that flowed from the hill provided clean drinking water. To be safe, boil it first. 

No matches, no lighter, no flint and steel, no problem! Lily made a friction kit from wood harvested on the land and a rope of natural fiber, performing “magic” and making fire from scratch.

If you’re brave there is a lot! Lily went for grubs from a rotten log, roasted goldenrod wasp larvae, ants, and threw in a fish or two caught in a nearby pond and that’s just the protein. Teas from wild edibles rich in vitamins and minerals are essential.

For Lily, this was certainly a powerful confidence-building experience and really fun! What brings more security than feeling that no matter what you can take care of yourself? For the other participants, it was a powerful role-modeling experience and a chance to help a friend succeed.


All Lily needed was the opportunity, a wealth of well-practiced survival skills, and good mentors. Are you ready for a challenge?