Posted by: wolfcampcollege | January 25, 2011

Wilderness Survival for Homeschool and After School Classes in Puyallup & Snohomish

We had a rainy Tuesday in Puyallup and a sunny Wednesday in Snohomish for our classes on Wilderness Survival.  We spent the first part of each class inside talking about the Critical Order of Survival then headed outside to practice what we learned. 

Collecting leaves for the debris hut.

Collecting grass to use as insulation for our shelter.


Creating a mini debris hut for Skye's stuffed dragon.

After heading outside at each of the locations, we spent a few minutes talking about what to do (and what not to do!) if you get lost in the woods.  Skye did a couple of demonstrations (many thanks to our  volunteers!) to show everyone how a search dog works when looking for lost people.

The beginnings of a debris hut (spine and ribs).


Chris taught everyone about the importance of breathing and how it can even help to warm you up a bit!  Then everyone tried to see how long they could hold their breath.  Chris won out this week at 1 minute 16 seconds.  It’s really hard to do unless you practice.

Learning the stages of building a debris hut.

We walked around at the various locations looking for and talking about places that might provide natural shelter.  We learned about the 5 W’s (wood, wind/weather, water, widow-makers and wigglies) and their importance in selecting a safe place to stay.

The Snohomish homeschool class and their mini debris hut.


The Puyallup after school class and their debris hut.

Depending on the location, students chose a site and spent a few minutes gathering supplies from the surrounding area to make a shelter.  We brought materials such as tall dry grass, leaves and branches with us to the Snohomish class for everyone to use.  Then Chris evaluated everyone’s debris huts and offered suggestions.

Pulling apart jute rope for use in a tinder bundle.


A spark from flint and steel landed on the char-cloth and will soon be blown into flame.


Creating fire with flint and steel.


Another successful flint and steel demonstration.

We talked about using water in a survival situation and how to sterilize it by rock boiling if you don’t have some sort of pot or kettle available.  Then Chris demonstrated how to make fire using flint and steel and by friction using a bow-drill.  Finally we discussed the importance of food and some of the native plants that could be used as wild edibles if needed.

Making tinder from cedar in preparation of the bow-drill fire demonstration.


Bow-drill demonstration - creating fire by friction.


Skye on the steps of the Thumbnail Theater in Snohomish watching the bow-drill demonstration.


Where there's smoke...


Learning proper bow-drill form.


Discussing what to do during a fictional wilderness survival situation.

The topics we discussed are so vitally important and there is so much information to share that we were only able to provide the briefest of summaries in our two hours together.  Our hope is that with this overview of the basics each family will be able to assess their level of preparedness and work to fill in the gaps so they’ll be ready should the need arise.



  1. It’s cool to see what Wolf College used to be like. You guys are still awesome!

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