Terri Schlichenmeyer: The Bookworm Sez 7-4-11
There is absolutely no way you’re staying inside another minute.
All year long, when school’s in session, you spend enough time indoors. But with summer here and the free time that comes with it, you plan on being outside as much as possible, hiking, exploring and camping.
But what if you get lost? How will you deal with not knowing where you are? Will you know what to do, how to stay protected, where to find food, and how to survive? You will if you’ve read “Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival” by Denise Long.
So you’ve found a great new trail, and you can’t wait to explore it. There might be some birds or a creek you’ve never seen; for sure, it’s gonna be an adventure.
But before you go, says Long, be responsible and tell an adult where you’re going and how long you expect to be gone. That way, if you get lost, someone knows where to look for you.
Okay, so you’re eager to get going. But what are you taking with you? You can’t leave without planning, says Long. Take enough water to stay hydrated, some food, and a survival kit (she’ll tell you how to make one), which may really mean the difference between harm and safety. It’s also a good idea to know ahead of time which plants are okay to eat – just in case – and where to find water if you run out.
Now, back to that intriguing trail: Long says that anybody can mistake an animal trail for a human path, but there are ways to be sure you don’t stray the wrong way. Learn how to mark your way so, if you get discombobulated, you can re-trace your steps.
And speaking of animals, it’s kind of thrilling to know that you’re sharing the wilderness with a cougar or bear, but behind that thrill is danger. Know how to avoid encounters with predators, snakes and insects. And, of course, you’ll want to know how to build a temporary shelter to keep you out of all kinds of harms’ way.
Use your head, says Long, and learn to use a compass. Build that survival kit. If you’re lost, learn STOP. And, overall, keep reminding yourself that you’ll be okay. You’re a survivor!
If you’ve got an adventurous kid in the house – and particularly if you’re an outdoorsy person, too – you know how important it is to always be prepared. “Survivor Kid” can help.
Author Denise Long, who has taught survival skills to kids as young as middle school, doesn’t talk down to her readers; instead, she uses real terms in a simple, direct way that’s easy to understand. Long is thorough in this guide, including advice that newbies need to know and of which experienced hikers will appreciate being reminded.
“Survivor Kid” is meant for middle-schoolers, but I think high-school-age students could use what’s in here, too. If exploring is on your child’s agenda this summer, this is a great book to get lost in.