The Wild Heritage program was developed to meet the needs of local schools in learning about and celebrating our common human heritage. This program provides hands-on experience of the universal arts, crafts and skills shared by all our ancestors. We teach the basics of making art from nature-based raw materials, the skills of using stone-age hunting and firemaking tools, and hands-on crafting of rope, one of the basic artifacts necessary for life. These skills are the basic ones commonly represented in many archaeological sites of different ages all over the world, so are not tied to any specific ancestral or modern human group. Every human alive to day has ancestors who, at one time or another, used these skills to survive, so we teach these skills in the context of gratitude for all our ancestors who gave rise to us.
This program is not an Indian Education for All program and is not intended to take the place of Indian Education for All.
The setup consists of four outdoor stations, with one or two adult volunteers at each station. Each station houses an activity relating to a different aspect of human material culture: hunting, fire, fiber and bindings, and visual arts. Each station can take up to ten students at a time. We will move indoors in inclement weather.
Our program starts with a quick morning training session for at least four faculty or parent chaperones to each run one of the four activity stations. Then we gather with the students and staff for an opening circle, story, and a walkthrough of each station. The students are then divided into even groups and sent to activity stations, and allowed to rotate through so that everyone gets a hands-on experience of each activity. After station rotations, we gather for a closing circle and reflect on what we learned.
Maximum participation is 40 students per session, and the program is a full day of hands-on fun.
Fire by friction:
Our ancestors learned to spark fire by rubbing sticks together, and changed human history forever. Cooking, light, warmth, and ecological management have been part of our skillsets ever since.
Humans have been making our world beautiful for thousands of years. For this station, participants will pound their own earthen pigments and, combining pigment with hide glue binder, and paint their original designs on stones or wood. Or they will scuplt their own unfired clay figurines. Whether the station features clay or paint will depend on a joint decision between the school and Ravenwood instructors.
Have you ever gone camping and forgot the rope? Human ancestors couldn’t go to the hardware store to buy this necessity. Learn to make it from plants!
Using tools to hunt let us effectively feed our families. Practice shooting a bow, and try out the most ancient ranged tool, the atlatl.
*Participation in the Hunting Tools Station is dependent on a student’s ability to demonstrate safety on the range.