Last Friday, seven area youth took part in a winter survival training session that had a lot more merit than one would think.
Taking part in the training at Emmet County Nature Center under direction of naturalist Jenna Pollock were Theresa and Austin Hammond, Cole Anderson, Jacob and Mikenzie Olson, Scarlett Rose and Allision Martyr. Note that three were boys and four were girls.
The kids already knew quite a bit. That only makes sense, since they're already active in outdoor activities or their families are. Several have parents in law enforcement, which goes hand-in-hand with survival training. Those are all good reasons why they were drawn to the session.
A couple of the kids - Theresa and Austin Hammond - took a little different approach to their assignment which was to build a makeshift shelter with the materials nature provided. They started their task with a calm and determination that belied their years. They were focused and went about their task in a way that was remarkable. When they were done, they had built a bark hut that was compact yet efficient. It looked weather-tight enough that a person could probably have spent a night in it - even in our current weather - and survived.
The kids also practiced making a fire with steel wool and a nine-volt battery. While their materials were a little damp, they got the idea.
This was a great exercise and a great service that the Emmet County Conservation Board provided. While chances are slim that any of these youth will ever have to put the skills they learned to use, the point is that should they find themselves in such a situation, they'll know what to do.
The only downside to the whole exercise was that there weren't more people taking part - adults included.
Winter survival is a skill with which we should all be familiar.
The fact that the Emmet County Conservation Board would provide such a service is something for which we should all be grateful.
Let's hope there's more people taking part next year - adults included.