with Tamara Wilder
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It is often difficult for students to visualize and comprehend how early humans lived. Hands on participation in (or just being able watch) the creation of an item using ancient technologies brings the whole topic to life and gives the participants a base upon which to build an understanding of the past.

The programs listed here are specific for school situations.
Look at the program information page for a complete description
of all the topics available to a variety of age groups and situations.

Don't have a large enough group to sponsor a program?
Also check the schedule for upcoming kids & family day programs open to the public.

Watch YouTube video of
firemaking demonstration & more

Kids Programs are usually presented to 3rd to 8th grade ages however the program can be adapted to younger ages if there is enough adult assistance.

  • 3rd or 4th grade is common as part of study of process in Waldorf Schools.
  • 6th grade is most common as part of the study of early humans in public schools.
  • Home School groups work well with a large variety of ages and include lots of parent participation.
  • Birthday parties give a great opportunity for memorable, creative and fun activity.

Young Adult programs are most commonly presented to 9th to 12th grade ages.

Programs generally give an overview introduction to the basic technologies listed below. Participants usually end up with a necklace or bracelet which they have made entirely by hand from sticks, stones and seeds.

Stringmaking programs for young kids begin with partially or totally prepared fiber of Dogbane and/or other materials which are easier to work with in certain situations.

We extract and twist these fibers into string using one of several techniques (varying from extremely basic for very young kids to advanced for small groups of older kids, with lots of other levels in between).

Young adult programs are slightly longer and use more advanced techniques.

begin with a demonstration of hand drill firemaking.

Prepared hand and/or bowdrill kits are then supplied so participants can partner or group up and give it a try.

Friction fire is a difficult skill to learn, so kids programs concentrate on the process instead of the result.

Focused groups of younger kids do sometimes succeed at making a hand drill fire,
which is both empowering and exciting.

Young adult programs are slightly longer and more focus is given to actually making fire.

Young adults often succeed at friction firemaking through cooperation
and working together in pairs or groups.

Flint & steel firemaking can also be demonstrated.

Watch YouTube video of
firemaking demonstration & more

Grinding and drilling beads is a fun coordination developing activity which introduces many of the age old stone and wood shaping techniques used in many other technologies.

Using soapstone (a soft but durable stone) and ghost pine nuts (Pinus sabiniana), we will make beads to hang on the string made of native plant fibers.

Most participants take home either a bracelet or necklace which they are very proud to have made "from scratch".

Hunting tools target practice is extremely popular with kids and is a safe activity as long as there is enough space and adult supervision.

A grass field is the best venue.

The tools which are available for this activity are:

  • rabbitsticks
    The oldest & most pandemic of hunting tools.
    • In Australia, the rabbitsticks evolved into the boomerang for hunting birds, but most rabbitsticks are non returning.
  • handspears
    One of the oldest most fundamental of hunting tools.
    • hoop & pole game is a very fun and instructional spearthrowing game played in many areas of North America.
  • bow & arrows
    Probably the most familiar hunting tool.
    • The bow & arrow was an extremely successful development which is still used in many different forms today.
  • spearthrowers
    Spearthrowers enjoy a long & diverse history as the tool used worldwide to hunt mammoths, mastodons & other megafauna.
    • In the Old World, spearthrowers were replaced by the bow & arrow long ago.
    • In the New World, the bow & arrow only made its appearance possibly as recently as 500-1000 years before contact; therefore, North American spear throwers reached a much higher level of design than those of the Old World.
    • Atlatl is the Aztec word for their spearthrowers, which were a war weapon used by elite warriors.
    • Woomera is the Australian Aboriginal name for their spearthrowers. Australian Aborigines never adopted the bow & arrow (precontact) and even today sometimes still depend on the woomera for hunting.

Programs on wild foods involve an exploration of the technologies which have developed to process food into an edible/palatable meal.

For example, processing acorn involves cracking, pounding, sifting, leaching & cooking, while manzanita berries only require a light pounding.

Other foods vary from being ready to eat to needing extensive leaching or cooking.

Demonstrations on any of the topics above are also available, usually presented as a display of samples which the students can touch, handle & ask questions about, combined with a live demonstration of the process. Common topics for demonstrations are:

  • Flintknapping (Stoneworking)
  • Netmaking
  • Ropemaking
  • Basketry
  • Braintanning deer skins (Leathermaking)


  • A standard 5 Topic Grade School Program (4-5 hours)
    • Covers hunting tools, pine nut beads, soapstone beads, stringmaking & firemaking.
    • Includes all materials.
    • $525 for around 15 students, $15/student thereafter.
      • Smaller groups require 1-2 other adults to be present.
    • $650 25 - 30 students, $15/student thereafter.
      • Larger groups require 3-5 other adults to be present.
      • Following an initial introduction and demonstration, larger groups are divided to rotate through 3 different hands-on stations.
  • Wild foods program (3 hours)
    • Covers acorn & manzanita berry processing technologies, plus other foods in season at the time.
    • $500-$600 depending on foods supplied.
      • Limited by seasonality and availability of resources.
  • Extended Programs
    • Any program can be extended at additional cost to a whole day or two days with more time and detail given to each topic.
  • A Travel Fee may also be added if more than 80 miles from Ukiah, CA.
  • Demonstrations
    • Base rate of $200/hr (2 hr minimum).
    • Materials fees vary by topic.

Email Tamara with questions or for more specific information concerning a custom program that would better fit your needs.

click here for school program brochure (352k pdf download)

Steven Edholm & Tamara Wilder
PO Box 876 Boonville, CA 95415

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