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Kids in the Wild

Whole Earth Nature School goes wildcrafting

Whole Earth Nature School tries to raise awareness by sending people outside for a better connection to the natural world. “Wildcrafting is a piece of what we do,” Executive Director Rees Maxwell says.

Part of what the school teaches is primitive skills and homesteading; and part of that, Maxwell points out, is food and medicines. 

On a recent excursion, the kids of Whole Earth Nature School harvested and processed blackberries. “In our community, not being a big farming community, we have less of an understanding of where our food comes from,” Maxwell says. And he says for some kids, “All they see is food from the fridge, food from the store.”

The school takes them out to harvest the berries, understand the ingredients, make jam and bring it home. And in this way, Maxwell says, the kids feel like they contribute to their families.  

Engaging kids outside through wildcrafting, if done well, is not only inspiring and encouraging, it also “gives them an idea of how they can help take care of nature spaces around them as well as their family,” Maxwell says. 

What is motivating, he says, “is getting their hands and tongues and noses involved in the process. It benefits them and the plants and the nature community they are harvesting from.” And they learn that, “Even as a kids you can wreck an area and damage it, or make that space better for the whole natural community.” — Camilla Mortensen

For more on Whole Earth Nature School and its camps and programs, go to wholeearthnatureschool.com.