This was a project to teach orienteering to a diverse group of people in the natural outdoor environment, providing a safe space with food and learning materials. My goal was for all participants to have a great time, feel joy, and learn something new.
Our local area is mountainous terrain with many hazardous features like rivers and devil club plants, steep slopes, and unpredictable weather. We wanted to ensure our course addressed skills that were relevant to participants and utilized local knowledge providers.
The event was finally pinned down to Sept 10th after working with participant availability, instructor availability, and weather. People gathered for the meet and greet at 9:30, having coffee and fresh baked goods.
The course began with an overview, which included basic map reading map features. The end goal was established within the group to be able to look at a map or the terrain and to be able to find one’s way in the woods to safety.
Some topics and activities of the day included: common myths/knowledge about wood navigation, such as moss trees, waypoint& compass, tree and plant identification, among many others.
Thanks to the Neighborhood Small Grants, we were able to teach people how to find their way in the woods. One of the students was even inspired to look at joining our local SAR(Search & Rescue) after a chance to see how fun compass work is. All felt that they had learned something and were more confident at navigation in the woods.