Our Second “Bridges: Creating Pathways to Nature Event” Winter Survival Day Camp

At the end of January we kicked off our second Bridges: Creating Pathways to Nature Event as part of a collaboration with the Milton R Owen Nature Center. The Foundation for the Enhancement of Mitchell County (FEMC) is generously funding all seven events we are offering for mentors and their mentees and nature packs ($100 value) that each mentee who attends three events is eligible to receive.

Mitchell County Naturalist Chelsea Ewen provided our mentors and mentees with a lesson in Winter Survival as well as tools and instruments they can take a long with them in the car in case of an emergency. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate as far as our original plan for the survival camp of activities that included sledding, snow shoeing, ice skating and more. We made up for it though and had a fabulous time learning other things about winter time. Once the overall lesson was completed we put on all out outside gear to go outside and explore. Mentors and Mentees were challenged with the following activities listed below.

  • Geocaching/Compasses (do an animal track treasure hunt) Learning about wintertime animals (using the tracks from the geocaching) and doing a study on hibernation and keeping warm in the winter. We divided everyone into teams of 2. The mentees had a lot of success locating the objects from their treasure map which included deer tracks, dog tracks, pine cones, berries, trash, birds nest, etc while the mentors had better success locating the hibernating animal.
  • CHelsea is teaching everyone how to work their electronic cum pus. .
    Chelsea is teaching everyone how to work their electronic compass.
    The mentees were far a head of the adults as they were having such a great time on the trail through the nature center.
    The mentees were far a head of the adults as they were having such a great time on the trail through the nature center.
    Here Ashley found a hibernating beer track.
    Here Ashley found a hibernating bear track.

    After the geocatching activity we went inside to warm up a bit and enjoyed some hot chocolate and learned more about the activities and programming that the nature center offers throughout the year. Please keep in mind, that in part of our grant collaboration with the nature center our mentees are able to attend any nature center event/activity for the rest of the year at a discounted price.

  • Jello Critter Shelter Building (mentees and mentors have to build a shelter to protect their “critter” from the cold. Many of our attendees buried their critter in the snow or under a piece of wood or miscellaneous scraps that were laying around. One of our mentees discovered a hole in the ground and that is where she buried her critter. We discovered that her critter would have survived the longest as it was surrounded by snow, grass, and the ground which was great for keeping the critter cold.
    Tori with her jello critter next to the spot where she built it's shelter.
    Tori with her jello critter next to the spot where she built it’s shelter.


  • Fire Starting – Here everyone was in pairs again as they learned how to start a fire outside. We gave each pair a small pie tin, laundry lint, a magnesium fire starter (looks similar to a lighter, but you have to make it work by hand). Everyone gathered the grass, sticks, leaves, etc that they felt were necessary to start a fire. Everyone was able to start a fire, the trouble was keeping it lit.
  • Cooking over the fire– Chelsea and her assistant started a fire outside in the fire pit. This is where everyone was taught how to make apple crisp dessert over the fire. This dessert was delicious and only few ingredients are needed. It would be a great thing to make while camping.

1. Cast Iron Pan

2. One box of spice cake mix

3. Canned sliced apples

4. 1 stick of butter

5. Tinfoil

How to prepare the Apple Crisp Dessert.

First make sure the fire has a steady flame.

Coat the entire cast iron pan with tinfoil.

Rub the butter on the tinfoil until it is evenly coated. Once coated just keep the butter in the pan.

Pour in your canned apples on the bottom.

On top of the apples pour your cake mix.

Cook anywhere from 15-30 minutes until the apples are soft and the cake mix has melted.

Everyone enjoying their apple crisp dessert

We invite our mentors and mentees on a bus trip to Living History Farms in May (date and time TBA). As always if you have any interest in becoming a mentor please contact Lacey at lwaller@nicao-online.org.

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