Learning Story – Bush Food
This past Tuesday, we were so thankful to have donations of grouse, salmon, and caribou ribs for the Bushkids to prepare and eat at our camp—we had a real feast on food from the land! The Bushkids examined the grouse while it was still whole, and were fascinated to watch Peppie, the grandfather of one of our Bushkids, demonstrate how to clean the bird. The Bushkids participated in cooking the grouse over the fire, along with the salmon (wrapped in tin foil) and the caribou ribs. Throughout the afternoon, the Bushkids enjoyed these delicious treats.
We also boiled maple syrup over the fire and made maple taffy by dipping wooden sticks into the hot syrup after cooling it off in snow. This activity was back by popular demand after our jamboree day last week!
Why is all of this meaningful?
Collectively preparing, sharing and eating food from the land fulfills all three of our main objectives at Bushkids: taking care of ourselves, taking care of each other, and taking care of the land. By using all of our senses, we learn about the animals that become our nourishment, and develop great respect for the animals and the land that supports us. We learn valuable skills around preparing, cleaning and cooking animals over the fire, and develop a sense of self-sufficiency and confidence. Sharing food is also a key way to form and strengthen community bonds.
We are fortunate that we have been able to continue cooking and sharing food even during this COVID-19 pandemic, using CPHO-approved protocols that include wearing masks and rubber gloves. We spent considerable effort negotiating this with the CPHO because we felt strongly that it is a central part of the Bushkids program.
Preparing and sharing food is also a big part of the Bushkids’ imaginary play, such as with our ‘mud kitchen’ pots and pans that the kids use to prepare imaginary food out of snow or mud. This week one of our Bushkids chose to spend some quality alone-time on the side of the hill overlooking the lake “watching the view” and basking in the sunshine, and then announced she had prepared “breakfast” out of snow!
What does this mean for next time?
Next Tuesday will be our last session for this semester of Bushkids! A main focus will be on celebrating our time together, all that we have learned and the bonds that we have formed with each other and with the land. Celebrations naturally involve good food that we can share together, so we will be sharing more food from the land and special treats!