Trapper Saturday

Poland - Waliły Forest Inspectorate, State Forests
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Trapper Saturday is a project aimed at parents with children. Its main mission is to promote spending time together in an original way. Alternative, because without telephones, modern materials and other benefits of the modern world. Trapper’s Saturday is the best way to strengthen the parent-child relationship, enabling them to get to know each other better. Apart from bringing resourcefulness into life, it also strengthens the psyche – when, during difficult tasks, the participants’ belief in their own abilities naturally emerges. Trapper’s Saturday is also about opening our eyes to what surrounds us. Deepening the knowledge of nature, its mechanisms and relationships results in a greater understanding of our place on the planet. In its essence, through the complexity of the subject matter of the classes and recreation, above all it helps to acquire skills that may one day save your life.

Trapper Saturday – because shared memories are not made in front of the TV. 

The project was created from the synthesis of Tomasz Paterski’s original program. Thanks to the cooperation with the Waliły Forest District, our joint project could see the light of day.

ABOUT THE TRAPPER'S SATURDAY PROGRAM

Man trapped in a huge concrete jungle has long forgotten what real contact with nature is. Strapped to the phone, he simply cannot see the beauty of the world around him. We are not talking about a weekend camping in the forest, or a Sunday trip to a national park, but about a real contact of man with his natural environment and the mechanisms that operate in it.

There are two visions of contact with nature in culture. The first one is expensive excursions, during which we watch carefully selected “postcard” views, next to which there are hot-dog stands – a safe anchor of civilization. The second is often presented in entertainment programs. Nature appears there as something extremely dangerous, an element that is better avoided without specialized preparation and a lot of expensive equipment. However, we completely forget about the third possibility – a true spiritual contact with nature, reconnecting to the source of life; returning to the roots. There are groups and people who seek just such a contact. These are the thinkers who have found peace in their little cottages by the ponds somewhere deep in the wilderness; the travelers for whom it is not about getting another piece of the big forest and fame, but something more personal. Finally, reconstruction groups trying to recreate the original forest skills.

The Trapper Saturday project was created especially for parents with children who are looking for real contact – with nature and with themselves. The main mission is to promote spending time together in an original way. Alternative, because without phones, modern materials and other benefits of the modern world – in our natural environment. An attempt to instill the bug of adventure and develop interests other than computer games and watching TV. It is also an attempt to create space for strengthening the parent-child relationship, which will allow us to get to know each other better. Apart from bringing resourcefulness into life, it is also supposed to strengthen the psyche – when, during difficult tasks, the participants’ belief in their own abilities naturally appears.

Trapper Saturday is also about opening our eyes to what surrounds us. Thanks to a special didactic path leading directly to the camp where the classes take place, the knowledge about nature, its mechanisms and relations is deepened. This results in a greater understanding of our place on the planet. In its essence, through the complexity of the subject matter of activities and recreation, it also helps to acquire basic skills that will allow direct contact with nature. In this way, our project gives the opportunity to feel like trappers of North America – it is when we begin to commune with nature in the traditional style that the mind opens to the stimuli of nature. This is the unique spirit of the forest, a mystical power available only to a few.

Imagine that you are looking at the landscape stretching out in front of you, the wilderness stretching all the way to the horizon…. using traditional equipment and equally traditional knowledge, you suddenly feel your consciousness shift, gradually filling with a single and unshakable premonition – that everything is as it should be. You experience a perfect blending into the landscape – being part of it, like a necessary and perfectly fitting piece of the big puzzle. Fear and overwhelm disappear – a clear, calm mind emerges instead. You are at home! Because the path to the woods and nature is always a journey into yourself; an approach to life in its most classic form. It is to draw from it what we lack for true civilization, because civilization is development, and development is not achieved by cutting oneself off from the “old”, but by drawing from it the most valuable teachings.

TO THE LESSON LEFT:

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FIRST LESSON

19.10.2019. BUILD CAMP

Travelling for several days through forests and wilderness, we are forced to set up camp every day – to eat, drink water and gather strength for the next day’s adventure. This can be considered as one of the most basic skills. During the first classes, where the main topic will be shelter, we will learn the basic importance of this element in the art of forest camping. Taking into account the golden rule of threes, in theory we will learn how to choose an appropriate place for a camp, select materials for construction of a shelter, as well as learn about the most effective constructions. Of course we will also talk about methods of isolation from the ground, as well as screening the shelter. From a practical point of view we will use the acquired theory and under the supervision of the leader we will try to build our own small forest camp using gifts of nature. In the second part of the program we will learn about ready solutions such as bivouac sheets – everyone will learn how to build basic figures. During the classes we will also learn how to use a forest hut, poncho and other elements of forest man’s equipment.

SECOND LESSON

23.11.2019. WATER TREATMENT AND FISHING

It is common knowledge that water is essential for life. The case is no different with the life lived on a forest trail. A wanderer wandering through the woods, deprived of access to water, often overworked due to high effort while building an encampment… quickly becomes dehydrated, which in extreme cases can even end in death. Therefore – during long expeditions – we are in a way forced to draw life-giving liquid from uncertain sources. During the first part of the class we will learn how to get water from the terrain. In the second part of the Saturday’s meeting, using the presence of water, we will talk about fishing. And this is because nothing is so enjoyable during expeditions to the backwoods, as a tasty meal from ingredients obtained in the field. In addition to berries, blackberries or mushrooms, we can also find… fish. Tasty, nutritious and healthy – and also very easy to prepare, will certainly satisfy every connoisseur of forest cuisine. During these classes we will learn simple and legal methods of fishing. We will learn how to tie hooks and build sets, as well as how to read water, which will increase the chances of a successful hunt.

THIRD LESSON

14.12.2019. THE ART OF MAKING FIRE

It’s hard to imagine life on a forest trail without fire. We use it to warm up tired bodies, to dry wet clothes or to boil and purify water. The art of making a fire is one of the most important skills which should be acquired by everyone who goes on a forest trail. And it is not important how we do it, what counts is the effectiveness. Traditional kettle or fire bow have their own unique atmosphere, but when you start your adventure with forest camping it will be more reasonable to use simpler methods. Nobody will award us points for lighting a fire with a fire bow, it’s not a race. Having a handful of basic information, we will learn the rules of safe fire handling. Then, we will get acquainted with the methods of making fire – we will learn easy techniques at first and gradually move to more difficult ones, requiring from us more technique and finesse. We will also learn what kind of natural fire starters and hubs we can use. We will also learn to build appropriate types of bonfires and select wood species for it.

FOURTH CLASS

18.01.2020. CAMP KITCHEN

An often underestimated skill on a forest trail is the art of cooking. Of course – we can eat a lot of the available ingredients raw, but nothing boosts morale like a tasty meal. Especially when you have had a hard day. Unfortunately, young adepts of the forest camping often watch comical shows – in the cauldron there are poorly chosen ingredients, and in addition, under the influence of too hot fire they get burnt after a while. In panic – during a spectacular flight from an unstable hanger – the cauldron is grabbed by its hot handle… and everything lands on the ground, while a young adept of forest cooking spends the next few days healing burns. During these classes we will learn how to build structures to hang our utensils, as well as how to burn the right type of fire and select wood species for it. We will also learn recipes for tasty and nutritious forest meals. Of course – there will be presentations of methods of preparing meals without the use of utensils, such as frying on a log or baking in an earth pit. During the classes each participant will build his own camp kitchen and try to prepare a delicious forest dish.

FIFTH LESSON

22.02.2020. FIELD AND TRACING

If you want to travel through the forest, admire the beauty of nature and enjoy the silence, you cannot do it without knowing how to read a map and how to determine the direction of the world. Lack of knowledge in the field of terrain can end up in getting lost, the consequences of which can be various – the more serious the bigger the forest and the more severe the conditions in it. During these classes each participant will learn how to read a map and use a compass while walking in a winter landscape. We will also learn more sophisticated ways to navigate, such as using a stick and two rocks. Of course there will be no shortage of information on how to read the signs left to us by mother nature. Each student of the art of terrain studies during the classes will also try to draw a sketch of the overcoming terrain. Taking advantage of winter weather and a walk, each participant will also learn the art of tracking, and will focus their attention on recognizing the tracks of forest inhabitants. They will understand that tracking is like reading a great and fascinating book of the forest – that each track is a part of the history of its inhabitant.

LOCATION

The Knyszyn Primeval Forest is a huge forest area on the Białystok in the Poland. Upland with the surface of about 1050 km² (the second largest forest area after the Białowieża Primeval Forest). The Supraśl River and its tributary the Sokołda River flow through the area of the Forest. The richness of the animal and plant worlds testify to its unique character. Within the area of the Knyszyn Primeval Forest, 23 forest and scrub complexes have been found. The most common are: fresh coniferous forest, mixed multi-species forest and fresh pine forest. The tree stand is dominated by pine and spruce. Other common species are birch, alder and oak. The forest is a refuge of animals. Apart from elk, deer, roe deer, wild boar, badger and beaver, there are rare species such as lynx, wolf and European bison. Since 1974 the Knyszyn Primeval Forest has been the location of the European bison sanctuary. Currently, the herd consists of 121 free roaming bison, which is one of the few examples of a free roaming herd in Poland. In Knyszyn Primeval Forest, bison can be found in Krynki and Waliły Forest Divisions. It is much easier to meet them in winter, when they come out of the forest to the open areas. This beautiful mammal has become a permanent element of the Knyszyn Forest fauna. In the area of Puszcza there are also at least 38 species of breeding birds. Nine species are present in numbers sufficient to consider the area as a refuge of international importance Natura 2000: black stork, honey buzzard, lesser spotted eagle, hazel grouse, black woodpecker, white-backed woodpecker, three-toed woodpecker and red-brested flycatcher. More information about the Knyszyn Forest can be found at: www.wasilkow.pl.

The classes take place in the Waliły Forest Inspectorate, about 30 kilometers from Białystok. The Waliły Forest Inspectorate is part of the Regional Directorate of State Forests in Białystok, located in Podlaskie Voivodeship, in Białystok district, borough of Gródek. From the north the Waliły Forest Inspectorate borders with the Krynki Forest Inspectorate. On the east it reaches the state border. From the south and south-west it borders with the Żednia Forest Inspectorate. The north-western part of the inspectorate borders with the Supraśl Forest Inspectorate. The overall area of the inspectorate is 15 972,26 ha, including forest areas of 14984,76 ha. The inspectorate’s forest areas are located in the Mazurian and Podlasie Nature and Forest Region II, District 5 of the Bielsko-Białstocka Upland, in the mesoregions of the Knyszyn Primeval Forest and the Sokól Hills. The Waliły Forest Inspectorate’s forests are a complex which is a part of the Knyszyn Primeval Forest, as well as forest complexes not connected with the Forest and forests created as a result of afforestation of former farmland. For centuries these lands were occupied by the primeval forest which stretched from the Polesie marshes through the upper course of the Narew River, the Supraśl River, the lands between the Brzozowa River and the Sidra River to the Biebrza River where it transformed into the Jaćwieski Primeval Forest. We invite you to get acquainted with the history of the Forest Inspectorate in Waliły.