Plants are on everyones minds and hearts as we head into week three. 

This week was about plants and camps explored the world of plants in unique ways. Cattails, Goldenrod, Raspberry Leaves, Currants and Hickory Trees were just some of the plants campers got experience with during the week. 

Luna’s Fire used the cattail in a variety of ways, mainly to create covers for their journals. They also used it to weave ornate headdresses and baskets. They even boiled and ate the root of this plant. Campers paired the cattail with ferns for their headdresses and used charcoal for face painting. They even managed to coral me into a makeover. During this rite of passage the camp also constructed a lodge from ash and pine logs which they used for ceremony and gathering as a group.  

Primitive Cafe used plants in a variety of ways. The camp used cattails to weave plates and boiled and roasted the roots. They gathered mustard greens, nettle and raspberry leaves for pesto. They made tea from mint and raspberry leaves and the camp gathered black, white and red currants for sauces and compotes. They culminated all this gathering and cooking in a fine dining experience Friday afternoon. I was fortunate enough to be a judge of this culinary showcase. Primitive Cafe chose to serve a Latin inspired menu. Plantains, corn chips with crema, guacamole and salsa were on the menu. These were paired with sauteed peppers and a berry compote for dessert. The judges gave the restaurant four out of five stars. For an impromptu cafe in the woods this was a very good score. The chefs did an excellent job. The wait staff did good and the atmosphere was divine.  

The Pathfinders made a similar woods harvested pesto for pan baked pesto pizza. Pathfinders built their own fire structures for this pizza fire and this fire structure was learned when the group gathered and in pairs to build fire structures for the first time. The pairs built the structure they thought would work the best then the group critiqued each other on their structures. 


Photo of  a Red Currant on 4H acres. Photo: Laura Mead

Campers spent hours shaping and testing their bows this week. Photo: Ben Bookout

Growing wild used plants and specifically currants when they made ice cream in a bag. The camp poured flour, cream, sugar and vanilla into a bag then contained that bag in a bag of ice. They threw these bags around until they became ice cream. The campers were given the option of black, red or white berries in their ice cream. It was a huge success for this youngest camp to have this special treat around the fire at Trilium camp. 

One camp in particular depends on plants specifically, trees to function. Bow camp began with a walk to identify trees which would make a good bow staff. Campers heard about the nature of Shag Bark Hickory, Red Oak and White Ash and why they might make good bow staffs. They also learned the impact of taking a tree has on the ecosystem and how taking a tree under stress or taking a damaged tree can help the forest. The camp decided on a Shag Bark Hickory that had been damaged by another tree fall. They cut down and hauled this tree in two parts back to the pole barn. Here they split and quartered the tree for next year’s bow camp. Campers then selected staffs from last year’s camp and committed to forming these once trees to functional bows. 

Plants play a huge part in camp at Primitive Pursuits this week an extra effort was made to highlight the plants at 4H and in the region. Campers got hands-on experience with useful plants in the forest and learned of the plants’ role in our ecosystem. 


Luna’s Fire puts up their ceremonial lodge at Racoon Hotel. Photo: Lydia Brandt

A Growing Wild camper enjoys ice cream made in a bag at Trilium camp last Friday. Photo: Ben Bookout