by Dan White, Teva (Nature) Instructor
Did you know that an ant can carry 50 times its body weight? If that proportion held, a 200 pound camp counselor would be able to lift two Honda Odyssey’s (~9000 lbs) with an extra 1000 pounds to spare! While the outdoor education staff cannot match such a feat, we can raise the campers’ knowledge about ants and other insects.
We have also practiced tree identification by learning how to recognize alternating vs. opposite branching; simple vs. complex leaves; round vs. flat leaf stems; and more! The campers particularly like Ramah’s red maples and birch trees. I have been pleasantly surprised by how focused they can get when trying to identify a tree and astonished at the level of maturity as they work to come to a consensus.
We’ve learned about tying knots and fire building has also been educational. The Solelim and Bogrim classes thought starting a fire with magnifying glasses would take little focus; 20 minutes later, they were perplexed. “How do you do this? Teach us!” With a little direction and some magnesium blocks, ten minutes later both classes had strong fires roaring. The Solelim class elected to stay a few extra minutes to help clean up and got to make their own hot chocolate—some of the best I ever had!