This project happened the during winters of 2014 and 2015, and serves as a model through which we learned immense amounts. I am available to discuss the project and aid in others forming similar projects. The following was written to describe the camp at the time of its occurrence.
What is Edgewalkers Winter Social Forestry Camp?
WinterCamp is a small community of people restoring a landscape while living in reciprocal relationship to nature. Camped out in a temporary primitive village in te woods for ten weeks, we work on improving the ecological quality of the landscape. We focus on tending wild plants and forests that provide sustenance as food, medicine, timber, and craft material. We are doing this work on private wildlands, in a mutually beneficial gifting relationship with local landowners.
We tend and plant native wild plants, reduce forest fire fuel load, help habitat creation, clear around heritage hardwoods, restore disturbed areas, manage invasive species, encourage carbon sequestration, and collect data.
Humans are interconnected and a vital link to a functioning ecosystems; and that our presence living in the wild is not detrimental if done well, but in fact is beneficial to the spirit & diversity of plants and animals that surround us.
We are co-creating camp culture, including how we integrate our individual earth-based practices and spiritualities into our daily work, and how to have human-scale time schedules. Through consensus process and a collaborative leadership models, we organize our time and learn from each other how to move through conflict in transformative ways, how to support one another in shadow work, and how to have deep real relationships.
In 2013 at our first camp, we lived in canvas structures with wood stoves and fir bough floors, we butchered animals, cooked often on an outdoor fire, had regular heart circles, and held rituals on each of the moon phases. We had weekly trainings on learning to read the landscape and how to tend it and we began our work days with song. We cut down trees to thin around the heritage oaks using mostly hand tools. We did controlled forest floor burns and scattered biscuit root seeds to start practicing ancient techniques and seeing the impact on this land base. We learned forestry skills from mentors and one another.
Long Term Vision:
WinterCamp is a seed that we hope will germinate towards building semi-nomadic Regenerative Tending Cooperatives that work on long term stewardship contracts on private and public lands and comprise a large mutual aid support network between land projects. The Cooperatives will help facilitate ecological diversity and fecundity to wildlands while also nourishing and supporting the communities of human beings who tend those lands.