Wilderness Survival / Primitive Skills/helpless in West Va

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Question
Greetings. I am a 55 yr old female widow. Alone after 25 yrs marriage, except for my kitties & a neighbor who doesn't believe in prepping. I have 17 vertebrae fused & a fake knee, which doesn't help. I am unable to find ANYONE near Hedgesville, WV that I can go to for learning survival skills. Sadly, I'm near the poverty level & can't spend thousands on classes. Cannot find a decent book on plants for eating & medicine that are in color. I've seen drawing type books, but they are useless to those who don't know plants. I also tried to find EASY directions on solar and wind power, but nothing.  Please let me know of the best books that would help me so maybe I can help myself and others. And if you know of anyone around me willing to teach me, that would be nice, too.  Thank you so very much in advance for your generous help.  You are my last hope. For 2 yrs I've asked numerous people for advice and get nothing.

Answer
Good Morning Tyra,
Start with what you know and place that knowledge in the context of survival priorities.  Attitude, Shelter, Water, Fire, and Food are the basic priorities of survival.  Take stock of your hard earned wisdom and know how pertaining to your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.  Each of these is important in maintaining a positive attitude in a crises.  Calm and optimistic outlooks are more productive and have a higher rate of survival than angry or nervous doom and gloom approaches.  With regards to shelter, start with something simple, like wool blankets.  Learn about dead air space and insulation concepts on line.  Weatherization information is free and applies to your home as well as your shelter in the woods if you ever have to build one.  Storing water is easy.  A seven gallon jug from a big box store is inexpensive and can go a long way.  If the power goes out it important to have water for consumption and hygiene. Plan on five gallons a day for four days.  If a storm is coming and you have advanced warning, fill you bath tub in case you lose power.  The water closet in the back of your toilet is another source of emergency water.  Fire eludes to heat and light.  Flashlights and batteries are modern sources of light, and a propane grill can be used outdoors to cook food and boil water for sterilization.  Food can be stock piled cheaply in the form of canned goods and dried grains, pastas, etc.  Just be sure to have a hand cranked can opener in case there is no electricity.  The important thing is to start slowly and work on it a little each day.  A small window sill garden is an excellent way to learn about plants.  Yarrow, dandelion, and plantain are common and powerful foods/medicines that can be found in most peoples yards.  Ask a neighbor or attend a public library or state cooperative extension event on wild edible and medicinal plants, trees, or shrubs.  Sam Thayer, Arthur Haines, and Corrin Martin are great authors as they speak from their own experience and have photos of their plants in their books, but they are in a different bioregion than you.  Ask your library for local authors or a plant person at a nursery.  Hope this helps.

Wilderness Survival / Primitive Skills

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Michael James Douglas

Expertise

I can answer questions about wilderness survival, primitive skills, bushcraft, mentoring, outdoor education, nature, awareness and tracking. The subsets of these skill areas are vast and include Shelter Building, dressing for the out of doors, fiber arts, wild crafting, making cordage from plants, trees, and animal parts, flint knapping and stone tools, bone tool making, crafting and using hunting tools from the landscape, tracking, trailing, track interpretation, edible, medicinal, and utilitarian plants, trees, and shrubs, primitive pottery, fermentation, fungi for food and medicine, identifying hazards, movement, camouflage, and concealment, making baskets and containers, water gathering and purification, using bird language to read the landscape for survival needs and the movement/location of other living things on the landscape, primitive/modern navigation, fire making off the landscape, fire by friction, ice lenses, and approaches to survival atttude.

Experience

Student of Survival and Primitive Skills since 1980. Founded The Maine Primitive Skills School. Have been sharing and learning skills professionally since August 4, 1989. Studied with Tom Brown jr., Charles Worsham, Paul Rezendes, Jon Young, Mark Elbroch, Arnie Neptune, Ray Rietze, and all of the students, volunteers, interns, instructors, and staff at The Maine Primitive Skills School and the schools that have been started by its community. We go on full survival outings at least twice a year to build community and develop our skill sets. New instructors are allowed to bring a metal knife. These trips usually last between 5 and 10 days. We have also been weaving in permaculture and sustainable land management concepts at our main campus.

Organizations
New England Environmental Educators Alliance Maine Environmental Educators Alliance

Publications
MAMLE-Middle Association of Middle Level Education Ancestral Plants-A Primitive Skills Guide to Important Edible, Medicinal, and Udeful Plants of the Northeast.

Education/Credentials
B.S. University of Maine, College of Education, Environmental Education USMC-Numerous military Survival Schools (SERE, JWS, Cold Weather) Tracker School (16 courses from 1989-2003) Kamana (Wilderness Awareness School) Paul Resendez (numerous Tracking Workshops)

Awards and Honors
Vigil Honor-BSA-1984 Primitive Skills in the Modern Classroom-1992 Volunteers of America Star Award-2002

Past/Present Clients
U.S. Military Unity College Bowdoin College Colby College Scouting Maine Conservation School 4H

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