Rick's Journal

Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patrick's Day

It has been a while since I last wrote, and much has happened! I spent a few days leading a winter survival intensive up in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Tahoe in February, and we made igloos, snow caves, fires in the snow and great survival kits.... The snow pack was about 5 or 6 feet thick, which is the most snow I have seen all winter. Here in Cherry Valley, it has been pretty much a warm winter. The best thing about the Tahoe area was that it was in the 50-60ºF temperature range during the day, and at night in the 20s, so it was just about perfect for running our class!

I have spent much of the last few weeks, after getting back from California, writing, doing the layout and graphic design for some new brochures, print ads and planning programs for the upcoming year. We have been working on all kinds of new programs, including our Earth Shelters and Historical Replicas, which is really exciting for us. The Algonkian Wigwams and Longhouses are just awesome, and I really am excited that we can offer these programs to other educational centers, museums or schools. Barry is also completing work on a seriously big Bark House over in Cooperstown, and the students here are learning a ton about making long term earth shelters.

We are doing a little maple sugaring here at Hawk Circle, as well as helping with native American traditional sugaring off demonstrations for the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown. It is great to show so many people the way natives did rockboiling, or used birch bark containers and clay pottery to boil down the sap. Barry has a lot of birchbark buckets for sap too, which are pretty cool.

Summer is coming and is also in the front of my mind. I am hiring staff, making plans for each program, and Luke has been doing alot of 'systems planning' for each part of our program here, with Trist's help too. This is going to help with the flow of each program, reducing energy on the so called 'bottleneck or redundant' areas and help us put more and better energy into the students/kids, too. Examining these systems, from how chores are done, to how our kitchen runs, all add up to being conscious of our entire organization, and move from an "Ad Hoc" style of operation, to a system that is actually based on strong direction and organization. I cringe when I think of how much time, effort and energy has been spent on problem solving the same areas, by so many staff! It seems like a small thing, each system, but really, it is a vital aspect of our growth and evolution.

Well, I have to get back to work here, but it is good to write and post these new pictures. Please feel free to call or write with any questions, if you have the time. It will let me know someone is actually reading this! I love to connect with people who love wilderness skills and nature and community.

Be well!