Winter Forest School – Day Five Morning

Posted by Erin on behalf of the students

Wow, another amazing day in the Yukon! This morning we had the fortunate opportunity to join Emily Payne and Erin Nicolardi as part of their Rivers to Ridges Forest School Program they offer in Whitehorse. As recent winners of the prestigious Arctic Inspiration Prize, I was excited to get to spend some time and learn with two inspiring women entrepreneurs!

Our experience began in a warm and inviting wall tent in the middle of the forest outside Whitehorse. The goal in this transitionary space was to slow down and experience what was around us in nature, and that started with a gratitude circle where we each shared what we were thankful for today. Then, in typical fashion, we suited up for the outdoors! We were lucky enough today to be greeted by endless blue skies and the bright sun, which only contributed to the fun we had in the deep fluffy snow. The remoteness we experienced on our walk with Rivers to Ridges was vast, and it reminded me of why Yukon is becoming such a popular destination for winter tourism. The reminder of everyday hectic life can certainly be escaped in the trees and pristine white snow found here. Combined with lessons on identifying common trees, and looking for wildlife tracks, the opportunity of play was also emphasized. Who knew playing hide and seek was still so much fun!

They also introduced us to creating friction fires with a bow drill demonstration. Used in cultures from all over the world, and here in the Yukon, a friction fire is a technique that can be used to start a campfire when spending time outdoors. Their hands-on demonstration showed how simple pieces found in the forest can be utilized, which further enforced the connection to the land so many of us desire.

Connecting with nature is such an important aspect many of us are missing in modern life. Not only did Emily and Erin remind us how essential it is to make this outdoor connection, but also how fun it is and the tranquil effect it has. This is something I experienced with the help of Rivers to Ridges, but will most certainly be taking home with me.

Here are some photos of the students in the trails, playing a game, and trying to start a friction fire.