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Project Based Learning Electives provided by the Berrien Springs Virtual Academy
Loonling Learning: Tom Hurst Fall 2022
All students must complete a project for these classes.
Additional registration at location is NOT required
***These classes are listed in both the Nature and Physical Education categories in registration.***
Natural Acts, Environmental Studies and Hiking CLASS CANCELLED
Instructors: Colleen & Tom Hurst
Location: Various areas within 20 miles of Berrien Springs.
Ages: 6 and up, must be good walkers.
Time, Dates: Sunday afternoon 2:00 - 5:00PM.
Sept 11, 18 Oct. 2, 9, 23. With a chance for weather make up date.
Description: This is a class where families are introduced to local natural areas. We will meet at a different spot each time. Hikes will be less than 4 miles and will include nature, forestry, geology and history instruction. A snack will typically be included. This is designed as a family participation activity where a parent joins the hike. We will introduce hiking equipment, trail food and wilderness safety.
Younger children in carriers are OK. Sorry no strollers. Solid outdoor shoes are a must. We will send out specifics prior to the start of class. Emails will be sent out prior to each hike with instructions for location, parking, activities. We do need to be a bit weather flexible. Classes will not be held outside in dangerous conditions. We do have indoor nature activities available at a nearby school.
Our area is rich with many large parks and publicly accessible natural areas. From original forests to sand dunes and river walks. Berrien county is diverse. Past hikes have included. Love Creek, Ross Preserve, Warren Woods, Grande Meer, river valleys, orchards, lake shores, and farm activities. Colleen & Tom have been exploring the outdoors and guiding trips for schools, families, youth groups and conservation organizations for over 30 years. Allow us to share with you some of our local favorites. Detailed directions will be shared by email prior to each class.
Bushcraft Basics CLASS CANCELLED
Instructors: Colleen & Tom Hurst
Day/Time: Required pre-trip orientation: Thursday Sept, 8 6:00 PM
Location: Local; TBD based on group size.
Trip Dates: Friday Sept. 23, 4:00 PM - Sunday, Sept 25, 11:00AM
Trip Location: Central Lake, Michigan. 240 Miles North of Berrien Springs
Ages: 8 and up, preferably 10+, goal is to accommodate families
Minimum 10 students, maximum 24.
Parent or guardian participation is required. See details below.
Parent/adult fee $ 50.00
A 2 night wilderness camping class on property owned by Colleen & Tom.
This property is in rural Antrim County consisting of forest and sustainable agriculture farms. 80 Acres of mixed hardwoods and pine with small conservation crop plantings scattered about.
Students will camp in a location they select, prepare their meals with guidance, learn to construct shelters with native materials, use basic tools safely, campfire safety and cooking, basic orienteering, sanitation and first aid. First night will be spent in a tent or our 24’ yurt with the option to sleep in a self-made shelter on night 2. This program is designed to develop confidence in an off-grid situation.
This is rustic. Water and pit toilets are available, everything else is carried in or created from the land. As this is private property, we can build shelters, dig holes and travel where we wish.
The trip is timed to avoid major insect issues, likely to have cooler temperatures and long enough daylight for activities.
Pre-trip class will go over food, safety, tools, and sleeping arrangements, with gear provided by you or borrowed from our inventory. Families are encouraged to attend but students can be represented and transported by another adult. You will drive to the site about 4 hours north, park near the road, but the camp site is not near your car. We can transport gear by wheelbarrow, truck and tractor if needed.
Arrive by 4:00 on Friday afternoon, 2 nights camping on site. Depart Sunday mid-day. Cell phones work sporadically. Texts are usually OK. Emergency phone available.
Cooking will be a mix of open fire and camp stove depending on conditions. We will provide Friday night dinner and Saturday morning breakfast. You will bring your group's food for the other 3 meals. Details and planning discussed at pre-trip meeting.
Fire building and safety
Cooking on an open fire
Selecting a safe camping spot, sleep systems
Bushcraft: Building shelters, minimal impact camping, safe tool use, protecting food supplies.
Orienteering: Using a compass, reading landforms. Finding your way, reading maps and aerial photos.
Sanitation: preventing food borne illness, hygiene, safe waste management.
First aid: First preventing injuries, 2nd dealing with minor injuries and health issues in the field.
Weather: Understanding impacts of less than ideal weather.
Background: Colleen and Tom have been leading wilderness trips and experiences for many years. The purchase of this property will now allow us to teach and share wilderness skills not possible on public land, without reservations and avoiding weekend crowds. We have a pole barn and 24’ Yurt for weather issues, solar powered charging systems, a well and irrigation system.
Syllabus: See description above
Instructors' Qualifications: Colleen and Tom Hurst have many years of growing and putting up our own food. We have a large organic CSA type garden for our own use and provide food to friends and folks in need. This is not a commercial operation. We grow our own food, build stuff, explore and spend as much time outside as possible. We love what we do and are glad to share our knowledge, syrup, fruits and veggies.
*Please note: it is important to make as informed a decision as possible when choosing your student's Community Resource classes. Most locations will allow a student to drop a class after one meeting, at no charge if it wasn't a good fit for the student, but not all. Some classes plan ahead based on the number that have signed up and have purchased materials, hired teachers, etc. and there might be a fee for class time or materials given to the student if the student drops after one or two meetings. The school cannot pay for classes that students do not complete, so choose wisely; if you do not take the class off of your student's schedule by the deadline, you may be asked to pay for the class time incurred prior to dropping the class.
Teacher of Record: Tom Hurst