I don't think many people watched this as it aired at the same time as the President's State of the Union Address but I had my 2 minutes of fame on the Discovery Travel Channel. It was the "Hidden City" episode. I took the film crew out in the swamps and showed them how early travelers might have survived while traveling through the Everglades. It was fun. - January 2012
The UK based TV production company SuperHeroTV asked me to join them on Bimini Island to help with the filming of a TV episode that loosely followed the movie "Castaway" starring Tom Hanks.
I flew to Bimini Island on a Thursday evening, spent the night in a very expensive condo, and joined the crew on the beach for filming the next morning. It was hot as blazes on the beach and in my opinion surviving long term on that island would be a real challenge.
Resources are few and far between, fresh water is very scarce and finding food would be a full time job, and I mean 24/7. Due to time constraints we were limited to a small section of beach on the South Island which is the smaller and less populated of the two islands that make up Bimini and the island that has less sustainable resources. There were precious few trees along the beach , not one single coconut tree, and just a handful of edible plants. The best bet for finding protein in that kind of habitat would definitely be from the ocean.
I'm not a "beach going type". Give me mountains and hardwoods any day. Could I survive 4 years on a small island like Tom Hanks did in the movie? I hope I never have to find out and if it were to happen I hope I get to pick a better island.
I had a great time working with the SuperHeroTV crew. The host, Eric Lampaert, is a stand-up comedian and I wouldn't be surprised to see him on Comedy Central someday soon. Olly Bland is the Director, Antoine Lyons the cameraman and Laura Offer the lady that makes sure everything gets done. - 2012
Dennis Storm is a TV-Host for Dutch MTV, where he hosted the shows "Summerbase" and "Late night live show". Later he became a part of BNN where he hosted the controversial TV-shows "Try before you Die" and later, he did a travel show, called "Weg met BNN".
In 2008, he was one also of the celebrities who appeared in "Ranking the Stars" (where a group of ten celebrities have to rank themselves based on questions, like "Who is the most arrogant" and "Who is most likely to cheat on their partner").
Dennis was here in Florida to film a segment on wilderness survival using a format very similar to Les Stroud’s” Survivor Man” series. Hank was asked to scout and then secure a remote location for the filming and provide Dennis with survival training. Hank was able to give Dennis the training he needed to spend 6 days surviving only on edible plants and by fishing and catching small game.
Jacqui Dewiler, Associate editor of “Hemispheres” and “Go” Magazines joined Hank and a small group of survival students for a Basic Wilderness Survival Weekend.
Jacqui traveled from NY City to sunny and warm Florida while researching and preparing an article on survival schools. Jacqui was writing a first person travel article about what it's like to take a survival camp and stay overnight in a structure you've created yourself. The article is scheduled to appear in the June issue of AirTran’s in-flight magazine “ Go”.
Although now a resident of New York City Jacqui showed her Florida roots by building and sleeping in a natural shelter she made entirely from natural materials. - 2011
Donna and I both tremendously enjoyed your basic wilderness survival course.The variety of practical survival techniques you presented was amazing. Also, your easy-going skill in conveying the information made it easier to understand and absorb. I really look forward to taking further classes with you in the future.
Sincerely, Tom Owens
Troop 868 Boy Scouts and Leaders alike want to thank you for one of the most memorable weekends we've had. The boys really enjoyed your Wilderness Survival class and walked away with a wealth of information. The scouts are already asking when they can go back for another course. The skills they learned from you are invaluable and we appreciate the time you took to thoroughly explain everything to the boys. We are looking forward to your next class.
Yours in Scouting,
Carlos M Martinez Assistant Scoutmaster Troop 868
Our entire group really enjoyed all of the survival skills life lessons that you shared. I believe that we are all interested in taking additional classes in the future. Thank you so much! The instruction was detailed with facts and sprinkled with humor. I look forward to the next class.
Be safe and prepared,
Thank you again for sharing your knowledge and outdoor awareness survival skills. I hope the last few survivors made it to the main road. It looked pretty bad on my way out, and rained the rest of my trip back to Hollywood. I picked up new information on planning, gear, and kit essentials. My perspective on outdoor awareness has also improved. I admire your laid back teaching style and patience. Those are also survival essentials for the outdoors and everyday life dealing with people. I look forward to attending the Primitive Skills course. Please consider me for an upcoming group after your November class. I am out of town for the November class. If you get enough people for December through early next year I am interested.
I just wanted to say "Thank You" for the Wilderness training. Even with all the rain and mud we had a great time. We got a lot of great ideas, tips and knowledge that we are eager to try out. The first thing I am going to do is try and par down on my B.O.B. and look for items with more uses. We look forward to seeing you again soon and hope to take the Primitive Skills Training course in the near future.
Peggy & Wayne H.
p.s. please tell your grandson thank you for letting me use his bow....now I just have to buy one :)
Thanks for a super weekend. I've attended other courses, one in FL last year, and there's no comparison. I learned things the others never mention. The bowdrill instruction was a blast. I've never seen anyone make fire that way before. The others talked about it but I've never seen them actually do it, especially in under 20 seconds. What's really cool is that after your instruction - I can do it. I did a demo for my friends and they were blown away. Thanks again. I'll be back for more. Marlene say hi also.
Thank you so much for having us last weekend. The boys loved it as well as all us adults. I know I learned much. My son Logan says it was the best campout ever! I know we will come camp with you again soon.
Jarrald Woodcock Pack 822 – Wolf Den Leader
Thanks so much for a great weekend. All the kids and parents had a great time. We couldn't have picked a nicer weekend to have the campout. Ty learned a lot and had a fantastic time. I've studied a lot on the subject and learned many things also. As a former fighter pilot I can't tell you enough what an honor and pleasure it was to meet you and spend the weekend in the woods learning and refining outdoor skills. I especially enjoyed getting a chance to use the bow drill. I have seen it done numerous times in videos and read about how to do it, but nothing compares to actually trying it in the field. From all my experiences growing up in the woods of Tennesee and USAF SERE and studying over the past decades I learned many things about my own personal survival kit from your briefings with the kids. Thanks for your service to the country and to all those that fly in harms way. I look forward to taking some of your other classes in the future.
Thanks so much for the great education in the Basic Wilderness Survival Skills weekend. You are not only immensely knowledgeable about wilderness survival skills, but your personality and teaching style are very effective for communicating to others; keeping your students interested; and facilitating retention of that knowledge. Your educational personality style is among the best I have encountered: easy-going, friendly and understandable while communicating solid, important subject matter in a very organized manner. Your individual coaching and working with all of us students on the individual skills, and in the presence of each other, further enhanced our knowledge and helped us all get to know and appreciate one another. I have years of experience hiking, backpacking, camping and bicycle camping, yet I believe I doubled my knowledge base in two days with you. It was not just that I acquired new specific skills (fire-making, plant identification, shelter-building, no-nonsense knots and so much more). I also finished the weekend with an enhanced mindset: I will more than ever be aware of the specifics of my surroundings, taking them in not just to appreciate nature as before, but with an awareness of the utility of nature’s many components in surviving the wilderness with minimal equipment. I hope your prospective students will understand that your courses bring three important, distinct attributes: easy, skilled teaching method; many, useful specific skills and hints; and a new, refreshing mindset to living in the wilderness. Thanks again for the education and the great, super job you did. I look forward to the next course!
Byron Magbee Tampa, FL
Just wanted to thank you again for the 2 Day Wilderness Survival Course last weekend. I am a very "happy camper!" As a 40 something year old woman who traveled alone, I felt very safe and comfortable. As a somewhat experienced camper and hiker, I learned navigation skills, water purification, how to build an emergency shelter and how to beef up my personal survival kit. I would highly recommend this course to any one who wants to do the outdoors right, from beginner to somewhat seasoned! Thanks for making it interesting and personable for old and young, regardless of experience level. There was something good for everyone. I also would like to say how much I enjoyed the other campers! Don't know if he had an especially great group, but I really enjoyed the fellowship and comraderie! I'll be back for Primitive Workshop and I'm sure my better half will be with me! I'll practice with the bow between now and then. The adventure was the perfect "reset" button that helped me get away from work and worries, and enjoy a fresh adventure for the weekend. Thanks again for a great job!
I went to Hank Fannin's survival class last weekend, the 13th and 14th, I have done other classes in the past and found Hank to be a fantastic instructor, very knowledgable and a genuine survivalist. His teaching is designed to interest and intrique at the same time. I was very, very happy with the whole set up, from the time I arrived till sunday afternoon when I left. I would have spent several nights out there learning all that Hank has to offer, the weekend goes so fast, and you and your boys will come away from the class with skills that can be very valuable in these trying times. Believe me, its not only a great time in the woods, but worth every dime!!! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, I will continue to keep in touch with Hank and plan on taking more of his classes in the near future. you wont regret taking the coarse. Have a good one and e-mail me back when you complete the class if you want and let me know what you think.
Sincerely, a fellow woodsman,
Just wanted you to know that our group had a great time and I hope we weren't too wild for you. We learned so much and had so much fun that we are certainly planning on some future classes. Please let me know when you schedule one of those primitive classes. The whole gang wants to come. Say hi to Pon for us also and thank her for the cooking tips.
Sarah and the Gang
We made it back home without any further car problems. Thanks for that phone call and offer to help. My son and I had a great time and want to thank you for your patience. Also thanks for the loan of that sleeping bag. I didn't think it would get that cold. Let me know when you have your next primitive skills workshop. My wife will probably come along next time. She's very interested in learning bushcraft after we told her all we learned and did. I'll recommend your class to anyone and hope to see you again this summer.
Dan and Rob
I can't thank you enough. My kids had a great time and now they are actually interested in something besides video games. Jacob has showed that arrowhead he made to everyone, even took it to school yesterday. Todd has me looking everywhere for things to make more cordage from and he's getting really good at it. I told a group of parents about you and the classes you offer and I'm sure several will be calling to schedule.
Thanks again and keep me on your mailing list.
Last weekend's Wilderness Survival course went without a hitch. We got a little sprinkle of rain that helped cool things down and other than that… the weather was great. Besides the 7 essential survival skills we practiced we also did a map and compass session, natural navigation using the stars and sun, edible plants, built a shelter from natural materials and started some fires using a bow drill.
Students from the Sea Star Waldorf School in Boca Raton spent half a day with us on a school field trip to continue learning their basic wilderness survival skills. We had a mixed group of 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students along with teachers and parents. The students practiced fire starting and rescue signaling techniques plus they built two very nice shelters using all natural materials.
Another wet weekend but Boy Scout Troop 107 didn't let a few rain showers dampen their weekend. We actually did two separate classes: the Wilderness Survival class and a special class on Primitive Skills. The Scouts earned their Wilderness Survival Merit Badge and despite the rain spend the night in their all natural shelters. The Venturing troop worked on learning and practicing primitive skills including friction fires, making charcloth, fletching arrows, making pine pitch glue and hafting arrow points, throwing atlatl's, building deadfalls and snares. They even cooked a rabbit over an open fire just to add some flavor to the outing.
Oct. 19th-20 Primitive Skills
Flintknapping stone tools, making bone awls and scrapers, natural cordage, flint and steel, pine pitch glue, atlatls , self bows - we did it all and even a little more this past weekend. Darrell brought us a live rabbit which was subsequently skinned (the hide was salted down and taken home by one of the students to be tanned) and the meat was skewered and placed over hot coals to slowly cook for our evening meal.
The weather was absolutely great and we had one of most fun and productive groups of primitive skills practitioners I've had the pleasure to work with - ever. Amanda Thompson, a Florida Master Naturalist, botanist, edible plant expert, and extremely knowledgeable and skilled primitive skills instructor joined us and helped out with hands on instruction making blowgun darts, bark containers, atlatl throwing and just about everything else our students wanted to give a try. Darrell Baton, long time friend, very knowledgeable and skilled woodsman and primitive skills expert ( AKA The Florida Hillbilly - from his very popular blog site of the same name) also joined us and provided expert hands-on advice and instruction.
Wilderness Survival class went quite well despite the fact that we had to camp "up front" due to some still very wet conditions. We managed to cover all the 7 Essential Skills from our improvised camp site and I'm sure some of our students were even pleased to be so close to the convenience of a modern toilet rather than "going in the woods." Mother Nature even offered up some cooler weather that made the weekend very pleasant and for a welcome change - we didn't get rained on.
Wilderness Survival Class proved to be a real challenge. Our training area was hit by record rainfall the night before that left standing water just about everywhere and some very slippery roads in and out. Luckily we only got a few light and scattered rain showers throughout the two training days and managed to stay relatively dry. My hat is off to our little band of water soaked students. Most all of them took the wet conditions in stride and some even remarked that it added to the survival experience.
Fire building was a real challenge with not a dry twig or fluff of tinder to be found but my right hand man, Darrell, got one going early and we nursed it along all day. On the second day one of our students even managed to cook a large and scrumptious meal for her family of four in spite of a slight drizzle.
Our Nature/Edible Plant Walk was more of a "wade" than a walk and that was cut short by the threat of an approaching thunder storm which had us scurrying back to camp. We did manage to spend enough time a field to identify and talk about a good number of plants but we were a little rushed.
Those super hot summer days are almost over and I'm really looking forward to spending more time outdoors in Florida. I've got several classes scheduled - 2 Wilderness Survival and one Primitive Skills class with more to come through the winter months. All 3 classes are full at this time plus I have several Scout and private groups booked already so I'm looking forward to a busy fall and winter schedule.
I just returned from KY. again where I spent 2 weeks setting up my RV, doing some pre-season deer and turkey scouting and one of my favorite outdoor activities - squirrel hunting. The leaves are still on so spotting those little critters high up in the trees is a real challenge, not to mention getting a clear shot. It was too early in the year for them to be hitting the Hickory nuts so they were scattered and seemed to be feeding mostly on White Oak acorns - meaning high up in the tree tops.
I hunted one day with a double barrel percussion shotgun that a good friend loaned me. I did take one squirrel with it but even with a heavy load of Goex black powder and #6 shot it didn't have the range to reach squirrels feeding way up in the tops of those Oaks. I switched to my 32 cal. Kentucky style flintlock rifle - built by yours truly, and that baby did the trick. When you hit a squirrel with a 32 cal. round ball it comes out of that tree - period, and usually DOA when it hits the ground.
After I'd skinned them and cut up the meat my wife cooked them up in our Dutch Oven over an open fire and she served them with some fried squash and corn on the cob straight from my Sister's garden. Besides getting to do a little hunting and scouting I also managed to do quite a bit of plant foraging and indentification. My Brother-in Law is a lifelong Kentucky resident/farm boy and has extensive knowledge of local plants. With his help I was able to find and identify many tree and plants that are useful as food, medicine or utility. Here's a short list: Butter Nut Tree, Spice Bush, Stick Weed, Joe Pyre Weed, Autumn Olive Tree, Honey Locust, Red Bud Tree and Paw Paw Tree. There's hundreds of other plants and trees on the farm of course, and happily most are trees and plants that I've known all my life. Oh, and BTW - those squirrel hides have all been tanned and smoked and are awaiting future projects.
Summer is finally coming to an end here in Florida and boy was it a hot one. I was able to get offshore a few times to do some treasure hunting and diving on a 1840 wreck site off the South Carolina coast. Still haven't found that pot of gold coins out there but it's not for lack of trying.
I spent some time up in Kentucky visiting relatives and roaming around in the woods on my Sister's farm. She and her hubby raise a few cows and horses and the woods are full of deer and turkey. I foraged and collected edible and medicinal plants to my heart's content. I'm having my 30 ft. travel trailer towed from my little plot of land in Colorado to Sis's place and get set up for some hunting this fall and winter. A couple of my Muzzleloader budds are coming up and we plan on harvesting some turkey and deer with our flintlocks. I'm also hoping to score a groundhog so I can use the hide for old time banjo heads. I doubt many of you have ever heard that old time song "Ole Groundhog" but those hides make the best boot strings ever.
I've scheduled my first Wilderness Survival class for Oct 6 -7 with more to follow through the winter months and based on the number of emails inquires I've had most classes will be filling quickly.
Summer months are just too hot for most people to camp out over-night here in South Florida plus these are the months that I use to actually make a living and do some playing. I'll be diving and working several shipwreck sites in South Carolina, Florida and hopefully the Bahamas, doing some gold prospecting in the mountains of Colorado, and maybe even putting up my tipi and hiding out in the woods in Kentucky for a few weeks or so.
I'll be back in Florida in mid Sept. and plan on scheduling new Survival classes through the Winter months. We have a couple of new classes planned, one of which has generated a lot of interest, the SHTF Survival Training. Have a safe and productive Summer.
These were great months with several very fun groups. The weather, as usual, during these months was simply great. ( if Florida weather could only stay that way all year long). One class of note was the return of Boy Scout Troop 7. We were able to get several of the Scouts their Wilderness Survival Merit Badges and completed the field requirements for the Webelo's Forestry requirements.
This was my first outing with a group of American Heritage girls and it proved to be absolutely delightful. I had a great time working with these young ladies making fires, building shelters and especially while foraging for edible plants and fire starting materials. We made a "no strings attached" shelter from all natural materials in record time that my fickle wife would have spent the night in (that ain't happening). That "no strings attached" means the girls used no cordage putting the shelter together.
Our intrepid group braved 40 degree night time lows to complete the Wilderness Survival class. Even with a stiff northeast wind blowing we were able to make our one stick fires using fire steels ( no cotton balls here folks) and natural tinders. We had a very interesting mixed group of people including Dr. Mike who was able to give us some valuable insight on nutrition and dehydration. The youngest member of our group - Conner , was on his very first camping trip and I was very pleased to share that experience with him.
Susan's Home School Group spent the day with me learning some basic survival and outdoor skills. We built fires using fire steels and played around with some more primitive fire starting methods. The kids all joined in and built a great looking shelter from natural materials. We had a very enjoyable day with near perfect weather. A great bunch of kids and teachers.
I spent 4 days at the 2nd. Annual Florida Earth Skills Gathering near Gainesville. There were so manyexcellent primitive skills classes going on that it was very hard to choose which one to attend. I managed to do some foraging with the now nearly famous Deane Green, learned how to innocculate logs and straw bales with mushroom spore, how to make and use a spring pole lathe, how to build simple rocket stoves, how to make clay pottery (the wife's project really) and my favorite - an all day class makingWoodlands style center seam moccasins with Jeff Gottlieb.
Folks, I've made moccasins before, even wear mine occasionally in the woods, and thought I knew how it was done, NOT. Jeff showed us the correct way with nothing but a single piece of hide.
After the all day workshops were over in the evenings we had Doug Elliot there to sing, tell stories and riddles.
Boy Scout Troop 868 from Miami joined me to earn their Wilderness Survival Merit Badge. All the Scouts were successful in making and spending the night in their natural shelters and all were able to start a fire using three different methods. This was a great bunch of Scouts and Leaders and I had a great time working with them.
Boy Scout Troop 238 joined me for a 2 dayHunter/Gatherer class. The weather was near perfect and we managed to squeeze a lot of different skills into the two days. Troop 238 practices traditional scouting so we put together a course outline that covered some of the more difficult and advanced skills to keep inline with their advanced training level. In addition to learning and practicing skills like cordage making, stone tools and weapons, friction fire making, pine pitch glue making the Scouts got to try their hand at throwing Atlatl darts and shooting blowguns. We also made some jerky over the fire that went quite well as an appetizer for their evening meal. The Troop put together a very nice video that details a lot of our activities
Our Nov. 19th-20th Wilderness Survival Class went off without a hitch - I'm talking about weather. Except for a little sprinkle just as we were finishing up Sunday afternoon it was a great weekend. Beside the basic 7 essential skills we played around with friction fire making, flint and steel and I broke out a couple of Atlatls and and darts and two blowguns for our group to practice some primitive skills with. Just as a note and for the first time ever, I think ever single adult that attempted to make fire with the bow drill did it their very first try. As an added bonus our 4 younger students made a very nice, free standing natural shelter that proves once and again with just a little basic training and instruction kids will usually out preform adults when it comes to creativity and ingenuity.
Just had a great weekend with Cub Scout Pack 822 from Palm City, FL. The Webelos worked toward and earned their Naturalist, Outdoorsman and Forester badges. We had great weather, those pesky mosquitoes left us alone and we even had time left over to play with Blowguns and Atlatls. Although not a requirement for any of their badges the boys built a very nice, free standing natural shelter using materials collected from the surrounding area.
In early Oct. I managed to get away and spend some time in the mountains of Colorado. Among other things I tested using a garbage bag as a emergency shelter in very cold weather and also played around with some different types of dead fall triggers. We even got a few inches of snow while I was out there which I really enjoyed. Some highlights of the trip were a visit to a mining claim at the top of a mountain pass ( we were thinking of buying it) and doing some rock hounding for precious stones and gold prospecting along some of the mountain streams.
So far Oct. and Nov. have been very productive months. We've had Wilderness Survival Classes almost every weekend, some with private groups and some open to the general public. The end of Oct. and the first week in Nov. we got tons of rain which closed some of our favorite hiking and training trails but I'm very happy to report it's just about dried out now. Our training and camping site, although soggy in low places, remained plenty dry enough for use. I've added some primitive skills to the basic Wilderness Survival course: friction fires, flint and steel, blowguns and atlatls - just to spice things up and add to the basic skills provided. Although we don’t go into as much detail with these skills as we do during the Primitive Skills you'll not only learn the basics you'll get some real world hands on experience
It's finally starting to cool off a little in South Florida so I'm starting to put together a class schedule, probably starting with a Wilderness Survival Class in mid Sept. If I have your email address you'll get a notice soon. I've added a couple of new classes this season: Tracking 101, and Survival Tracking and Trapping (this was by popular request) and possibly Primitive Cooking. If you are interested in either of these let me know and I'll put you down for a class. I'll be doing several Hunter/Gatherer classes also. These fill up very fast and I need to limit the number of students so it will be first come, first serve.
History Channel Filming. I just spent the better part of the morning tromping around and through the parts of the northern Everglades swamp helping a TV production company understand how early settlers could have survived while traveling through the "River of Grass". I was able to find and explain the uses of several different common edible plants and managed to point out some sources of protein: snails, frogs and fish mostly. I demonstrated how to build a small but efficient fish trap that could have been used and some general insight into how anyone traveling through the area could have managed despite the obvious difficulties encountered. It was a very fun experience for me and hopefully I'll have a link some day and be able to post some video.
Real Men Outdoors Partnership
Real Men Outdoors: www.realmenoutdoors.com has asked me to become their lead Wilderness Instructor and to join the Real Men Outdoors Board of Directors. Real Men Outdoors is an organization that uses the “wilderness experience” to teach fundamental qualities such as responsibility and accountability, which they believe are missing in many of today’s youth. The organization works with a wide range of young people, but its main target is young men ages 13 to 18. Some participants are sent to the camp by resource officers, schools or churches, and are taught survival skills such as fire building, shelter construction and navigation. On the 475-acre camping ground—also home to wild turkeys, wild hogs, snakes and foxes—they must hike, canoe, fish, run a military like obstacle course and cook all their meals.
One of RMO’s goals is about them learning to work as a team, about them being accountable and being able to move outside of boundaries that they thought they were locked into.
Oxbow Nature Center Summer Camp I’ve just completed a week long summer camp assisting the instructors and staff at the Oxbow Nature Center in Port. St. Lucie, FL. My hat is off to Wren Underwood, Amanda Thompson and the Center’s Director, Sandra Bogan for organizing and conducting one of the most fun and informative survival camps I’ve ever had th e honor to participate in. The kids were taught basic wilderness survival skills, learned to throw atlatls and rabbit sticks and demonstrate their skills with blowguns. Eac h student got a chance to make friction fire with a bow drill ( they got to take a complete bo w drill set home to practice) use signal mirrors, learn to use a compass and map and last, but not the least, they each helped build their own natural shelter. As an added bonus each student was taught to make a military style bracelet from paracord that they can wear and show off their cordage skills.
Firefly Gathering - Primitive Skills Rendezvous My wife and I were privileged to attend and totally awed by the number of primitive skill workshops offered and the level of instruction at this annual primitive skills rendezvous in the mountains of North Carolina. There were at least 80 different workshops being taught each day. You name it – there was a workshop. Soap making, brain or bark tanning, bow drills, baskets, fermentation, trapping, survival basics, canning, bow and arrows, flutes, primitive weapons and on and on. The instructors were world class. Natalie Bogwalker, Zev Friedman, Peace Weaver, Janell Kapoor, Juliet Blankespoor, Doug Elliott, Hawk Hurst, Alan Muskat, Scott Jones, Bill Kaczor, ,Clint Corely, Joel Wind Fox Boyle, Steve Torma, Coyote and White Eagle to name just a few. We were honored and sometimes humbled just to meet and associate with this caliber of , in my opinion, masters of primitive skills. A lot of these folks don’t just teach these skills – they live them. No electricity, no running water, no flushing toilets – no problem. These guys don’t need it - don’t want it. Did I learn any new skills? You bet your boots! I try to attend one or two of these Primitive Skills Rendezvous each year and I never fail to learn and sometimes master a new skill. That’s what it all about. While sitting in as a student or teaching there’s always something new to learn.
I just got back from a very fun trip to the mountains of Eastern Tennessee and North West Georgia. I was invited by the fine folks at the Mendin Fences Farm to teach their inaugural Basic Wilderness Survival Course. The owners Vic and Linda provided us with three square meals each day and we slept in their bunk houses. We'll be scheduling more of these so if anyone is interested in spending some time on a farm in TN keep your eye out for the next scheduled class. The wife and I also attended the Earth Skills Primitive Skills Rendezvous in N. Georgia. They do this twice a year folks and I think this was their 25th or so year. There's no better venue in the Country to learn from some of the best instructors in the world. White Eagle, Snow Bear, Raven, Coyote, Doug Elliot and on and on. Basically we camp and spend each day attending various workshops on everything from black smithing to tanning hides. There's something for everyone and no matter how advanced your skills - there will be something new to learn. ( I thought I knew how to sharpen knives). Pon (my wife) made a Capote from a wool blanket that she'll be wearing and showing off for years.
Hank recently conducted a Boy Scout Wilderness Survival Merit Badgeclass for BSA Troop 567. To earn their Merit Badges Scouts are required to build and stay overnight in a shelter they build themselves. Using natural materials the Scouts built two and three man shelters that gave them the shelter they needed to survive a very rainy and wet night.
The Fort Pierce Magnet School of Arts hosted a fire starting demonstration by Hank as part of its’ Survival Field Day. Sixth – eight graders were treated to hands-on examples of modern and primitive fire starting techniques. The students got to experience and try their hand using Fire Steels, Flint & Steel, Magnifying Glasses, Solar Lighters and even a Bow Drill.
Hank was invited to give a 4 hour lecture for the Oxbow Eco-Center, a St. Lucie County environmental learning center.
The Oxbow Eco-Center is a place where young and old alike can discover the mysterious and hidden life of the forest and river. The Oxbow Center was conducting a Survival Month awareness theme and asked Hank to share his expertise and demonstrate his skills at fire starting. Hank demonstrated the Bamboo Saw, the Plough, Hand Drill, Bow Drill and Flint & Steel techniques plus gave a short history of early man’s discoveries and advancements in fire making.