Looking forward to 2009

1st Jan 2009

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As do many, I find the beginning of a new year to be the ideal time to firstly review the previous year, then plan and develop new ideas based on what I have learned. Thinking back to 2008 and the courses run by Native Awareness, my abiding memory has been of the dedication to the old skills new and returning students brought with them to class. I am filled with enthusiasm when I receive emails and letters from students that are full of excitement about the new projects they are working on. Only recently a student came to dinner with a bag of wooden spoons, a beautiful length of rosebay willow herb cordage and a couple of deer hides he was working on. I could see in his work that he had not only made an eating utensil but also had created a work of art! What a great way to give thanks to the tree that they came from.

We have been so impressed with the abilities of our students throughout last year that we have both developed the existing classes as well as writing new ones. Due to popular demand we are to run a class entitled, Awareness. People have been amazed with the awareness exercises given in our introduction class, Native Skills 1. Imagine how far we can develop our awareness in a three day course!

The bow making class has been totally redesigned. Graduates well know that Native Awareness not only teach a skill but teaches the principles behind it. The new class is not only to build a bow but to fully understand the bow making process. We are, therefore, going to teach multiple bow design, long bows, flat bows, re curves and sinew/rawhide backed etc. This will allow participants to learn from each other's bows as well as create their own.

A first for Native Awareness and we think perhaps the UK, is that we are running a birch bark canoe course! We are fortunate to have friends in the USA who are professional, traditional, canoe makers. John will be coming over this summer to teach how to create a wonderful piece of art that symbolises the apex of earth living skills. We are presently tying up loose ends, so full details are not yet on the website. Of course, you will be the first to know!

We have many more plans to announce in due course, but must now tell you of an important way we intend to assist both previous and new students. We realise that due to the current financial climate, paying for classes may well be difficult, but at Native Awareness we intend to help as much as possible as we firmly believe that if a person has the passion for learning, nothing should prevent that. On our new website we are going to offer different payment schemes, recommendation discounts etc. If you would like information on this before the new website is launched, we would be happy to send you the details.

If you have had snow this winter, I hope you all got the opportunity to go tracking. I love tracking in the snow. To easily see the multiple species that were out and about is a great gift in developing ones tracking. For me it was also interesting to see what animal scent my dog was picking up on. It was great watching him follow with his nose the straight line of the fox and the random movement of rabbits.

This is going to be a great year and I look forward to spending time with you around the camp fire.


What to look for in the woods this month: