It has been a while since I posted on my website so I thought I would let you know what we have been up to. Between soundscaping, bushcaft and survival courses, classroom teaching contracts and days, a new bushcraft gathering at Blueberry Mtn., some travel, making new friends and enjoying family, life has kept interesting!
Blueberry Mountain Flutes
After a large batch of cedar flutes from last year, I am down to the last few ( see flutes ). Moving forward,I feel inclined to make branch flutes. These are taken from unique and often twisted branches that really blend in with nature. But, they take around 10-times the effort to make so numbers will be quite limited. I have one started and a few branches curing now. So, if you wish to attain an affordable flute…get em while they last …as the branch flutes coming will be ‘costly.’The ethereal sound of a native style flute in the outdoors along with its portability is something to be experienced. . Even the smell of the humid red cedar flute when played adds to the experience. I hope you are enjoying yours!
Another year and hundreds of hours of nature recordings. I will be presenting an introduction to soundscapes in a few days in Almonte. Here is the write-up taken from the host group Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists Field Naturalists. Hope to see you there.The sounds and rhythms of nature by Cheryl Morris On Thursday, January 21, 2016, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) will host the fourth presentation of their lecture series which is based on the theme ‘Naturally Special Places’. The event will be held in the Social Hall of Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte, Ontario at 7:30 pm. Our guest speaker for the evening will be Chad Clifford, and he has entitled his presentation “Exploring the Soundscapes of Naturally Special Places.” Mr. Clifford is a soundscaping specialist and works to record nature’s symphony of sounds. He will provide an introduction to soundscaping including the aesthetic qualities of nature sounds and how nature-based recordings are used in research. A glimpse at Cornell’s Raven Pro software will demonstrate the power of technology in studying the sounds nature provides to those who are intent on listening. Chad will describe some of the common and not-so-common gear used for nature recording, including do-it-yourself options for microphones. Numerous recordings made by the speaker will be played throughout the talk. The presentation will also describe the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust’s efforts to collect data in support of their biological monitoring of properties, a function with which Chad has been intimately involved. As well he will touch on some public education events that are offered by this important group.Mr. Clifford is the founder and director of “Wilderness Rhythms”, a Lanark-based company with a focus on facilitating a deeper appreciation and respect for nature through quality wilderness experiences and the introduction of practical survival priorities – shelter, water, fire and food – plus an awareness of the aesthetic essence that is a part of nature. Mr. Clifford is author of the book “Wilderness Rhythms: Playing Music to Enhance the Nature Experience”. Through this insightful and sensitively-written book, Chad shares his extensive understanding of traditional woods and survival skills and nature lore, as well as his experience of injecting music into nature-based activities. The second section of the book is written in the form of a journal through which the author uncovers how a state of expanded awareness can be reached when one practices within the realm of nature.Mr. Clifford states, “With the expanding intrusion of the noisy and mechanized world, our natural soundscapes could soon be listed as endangered. How fortunate we are in the Lanark Highlands to still find natural soundscapes where we can attain at least 15 minutes of nature’s voice uninterrupted. Beyond the aesthetics of natural soundscapes, we are collecting hundreds of hours of soundscape data within the protected land trusts of our area.”Please join MVFN for this informative and fascinating presentation. Refreshments and discussion will follow the talk. There is a non-member fee of $5. For further information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair, Gretta Bradley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bushcraft and Nature Lore
The fall season had me working on a heritage path at Fulton’s Sugar Bush and Pancake House where I do bushcraft demos every spring (starting in February). From starting fires by rubbing sticks to making primitive bows, coal burned items, bannock, and native style flutes. I also did similar demos at Pinhey’s Point Park for a few days.
I also finished the semester teaching a survival skills course at Algonquin for aviation students. We managed to have a day trip to Fulton’s and made a couple of shelters, learned a few fire starting techniques, primitive traps, and more.
We held the first Blueberry Mountain Bushcraft Gathering too with Roots to Fruits Brittany and Alister and friends. We kept this first gathering small and not advertised…it even snowed on us..haha We look forward to opening this experience up a little in 2016–stay posted.
And of course, I offered some private training and courses along with some volunteer sessions for various groups. As you may have noticed, I have not been advertising these courses as individuals/groups inquire we tend to go with that and advertise when more participants are needed. There are a few course in the works where we will need more participants this spring and will post when dates are confirmed.
Above is Tania in her Inuit style kayak made without any wood screws or metal fasteners–all joints are hand tied. We learned about making these from our friends Steve Conty and Louise Barker and later made a few ourselves and with students in the arctic. More advanced bush crafts like this or bow building are also options. There is a time and financial commitment of course for such intensive courses.
If you are interested in taking a course or wish to chat about some of these topics feel free to drop me an e-mail. There is a wide variety of training available beyond the more intensive survival, bushcraft, nature lore and tracking. For instance, staff training , map and compass, GPS use, and many basic skills can be learned in small group sizes.