Friday, July 17, 2015

Machia Wilderness Camp (VT) Survival Skills-Photos

Machia Wilderness Camp Photos - Survival Skills.

Wilderness Camp survival skills lessons - foraging for food, starting a fire, building a shelter, cooking outdoors-photos. 

The goal of the Machia Wilderness Camp is to introduce youth to the outdoor experience; To learn the life skills needed to survive in nature and learn to be productive keepers of  the earth. Campers are challenged to carry their learned skills into everyday life, and teach others what they have learned.

Lee leads the first group of youth into the woods, pointing out edible plants growing along side the road and along the wooded pathway. 

Some of the edibles or medicinal plants found along the way were: plantain (anti-bacterial) and not uncommon on lawns, burdock (the tuber are edible, nutritious and medicinal, Queen Anne's Lace - chew on the leaves to get a localized numbing effect.

Milkweed both leaves and flower are edible if cooked (boiled) and the flower has a very nice fragrance! Dandelion, and sorrel-looking a little like clover and tasting like a sourball-lemony sweet and sour at the same time. Clover flowers, raspberry leaves when they are young and small.

Bass Tree leaves are edible. 

 In a pinch a lean-to like shelter can be easily built to offer some weather protection.


Lee challenged the group (divided up in pairs) to find fuel (dry tree bark and twigs) and to start a fire. The catch was, he offered each pair of youth only one match.

Lee advised the group to look for standing dead trees as their branches and bark would likely be drier than trees, branches and bark laying on the ground soaking up moisture. One astute camper advised that horseshoe fungus was also a good source of fuel to use in starting a camp fire.

Lee also advised against peeling bark completely around a living tree, and when possible, only removing bark on dead trees. Removing bark from live trees causes them injury.

It was interesting to see the various designs for the to be campfires.

Lee demonstrated splitting small pieces of wood with a knife and also shaving slices off small pieces of wood helped to provide good starter fuel.

                             Here we go - one match lights the fire or we freeze tonight!

  Can we borrow some of your fire?


Ok, did anyone bring marshmallows?

Hopefully Smoky bear will not be upset. 

Now to cook up dinner. 

Smells D E L I C I O U S !

Lee leads the second group of youth into the woods, pointing out edible plants growing along side the road and along the wooded pathway.

Milkweed flower - especially fragrant,
 not unlike a rose. 

   The quiz question of the hike. Lacking toilet paper, while in the woods, and needing to go to the bathroom, what can one use for toilet paper? Preferably something that won't fall apart. No Charmin stores nearby.

Three or four ferns folded up can do the trick nicely. 

 Along with other campers, Mike was successful in lighting a fire with just one match. He advised he always brings three fire starting materials with him when he goes camping, one of which is steel wool which burns very hot.

                                                  Yes, Success!

Lee leads the third group of youth into the woods, pointing out edible plants growing along side the road and along the wooded pathway.

               OH NO. It's going out.                                             Noooooooo 

Back at home base, the campers learn about knife sharpening. 

View more Machia Wilderness Camp photos @

Bernie publishes short stories and photos reflecting Vermont values of Green and Clean and Community. He urges us all to pick up litter in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health. 
Bernie resides in South Burlington, Vermont 

The Machia Wilderness Camp is open to youths age 11-18. All programs involve interactive classroom activities combined with hands on outdoor learning. At the conclusion of the camp, participants can, upon passing the test, receive required certifications needed to obtain VT hunting licenses. Included are the VT. state hunter safety certification, archery certification, and a Lets go fishing certificate.      

Camp Director: Bonnie Machia With years of teaching as her guiding experience Bonnie is an effective executor of a special *vision. Read more about the Machia Camp origination, the origin of the vision @ the *Machia Wilderness Camp website.

 Instructors or teaching staff include (among others):

Denis Briggs- retired Army colonel. He managed the competitive marksmanship program for the Vermont Army National Guard. Denis spent five years as a licensed big game guide in Wyoming. In his 27 years as a certified hunter education instructor he trained over 700 youth in safe, responsible, and ethical hunting practices.
Paul Conover - Bio pending
Mike Menosky  Bio pending           
Ally Degrassi - Bio pending
Chris Degrassi - Bio pending 
Lee Sienkiewycz - Bio pending
Tim Hawley-Hunter education instructor (10 yrs.), Vermont Let's go fishing program (8 years), Bow hunting instructor (6 yrs.).

Apprentices - campers selected from previous years, assist new campers in learning skills while expanding their own knowledge.
Liam, Chole, Jamie, Sterling, Brent, Kyle, Tyler, and Chase. 

Cooks: Gail and Fred Sanford

The Machia Wilderness Camp is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The camp is held at the Ethan Allen (National Guard) Firing Range and bi-athlete training center.