Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ark Eden Overnight Camp

Activity: Ark Eden Camp (Permiculture, Sustainable Farming, Enviromental Planing)
Date: November 13, 2014-November 14, 2014
Time: Throughout the 2 days (12 hours with travel time, sleeping etc removed)
Type: Group (with school)
Organization: Ark Eden (LINK)

Hours:  4 hours - Creative
              4 hours - Action
              5 hours - Service

I decided to split this one up by category rather than days, since we did most of the activities on the first and I didn't want one long post and one short one. Everyone also had their cell phones taken by the camp leaders, so all of these photos were taken with the school camera by Alex or our CAS week supervisors (Mr Bibby, Mr Ngan and Ms Wong). Thanks!

Creative portion:
- We did a course on edible plants, before going out in the mountains around Ark Eden to pick out edible plants to eat. This made me think more creatively, as it showed me how easily it was to get food without relying on pesticides or large scale farming. My favorite plant we tried was the clovers, as they had a tart and sour green apple taste that I really liked, since it reminded me of sour candy. My least favorite plant we tried was the sweet pepper leaves, as they had a very strong almost spicy flavor that was really unpleasant to me. However,  once it was cooked, the taste of the leaves became much milder and more pleasant.

- We also learned about permiculture and designed our own roof top garden that would be as self sustaining as possible.This was a pretty interesting challenge, as a roof top only has a small amount of space to work with, so we had to think carefully about what each component did and was it useful enough to warrant giving up space for it. Deana helped us along the way by asking how we could use the waste of one component to help another one, and also to think upward, as there was a lot of vertical space we weren't using.

Action portion:
- On our way up to help with the maintenance of the trees that had been planted, we had an hour and a half hike up the mountain (and an hour and a half down for 3 hours total) Although I had hiked with my family before, it was on well paved trails that lots of others had walked before. The hiking at Ark Eden was much harder as the trail was overgrown with lots of plants and there were lots of boulders and rocks we had to tread around,so it was difficult to see the trail. Since the area also had a history of rock slides (the reason most of the trees were gone) and there hadn't been any rain recently the dirt was very loose and crumbly, meaning it was very easy to slip and lose your footing and hit a rock or fall down.

On the way up, we frequently had breaks where we could catch our breath and drink water (and take a few photos!), since a few minutes in and everyone was sweating and panting.

We also encountered a poisonous bamboo snake on our way up which made the hike much more exciting.  Thankfully, the snake was in the bushes at a bend in the trail, so we had ample time to see and avoid the snake (unlike most snakes the bamboo snake is an ambush predator, so it didn't go away as we walked closer and instead just stayed there, coiled and ready to attack.)

- We also did some yoga on the morning of the second day, which was very relaxing and interesting, as I had never done yoga before then.

Service portion
- I helped with the washing and chopping up of the potatoes, carrots, shallots,green beans and other vegetables that were needed for dinner. (the dinner was vegetarian, so yeah lots of veggies).

 For dinner we had:
 vegetable pasta
green bean salad
 garlic bread
carrot turmeric soup
All of which were incredibly delicious.

-I briefly helped set up the tents we were staying in for the night (less than an hour so I didn't count it in my final tally).

-I helped assemble the packed lunches we brought up the mountain to eat on day 2. Lunch was a humus cucumber and lettuces sandwich and a carrot cheese tomato sandwhich.

-I helped to fertilize and plant seeds in the food garden at Ark Eden, as well as pulling out some of the weeds.

Helping pull out weeds in the garden!
Fertilizer! (yes, buffalo poo)
-I helped maintain the trees others planted by mulching, fertilizing and creating a basin around the base of the trees where water could collect in the future.

Reflections HERE

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