"Who hasn't had the dream of staring a fire with two sticks?" asked Madelyn Sullivan '09 in an e-mail to the Orient. "It can be done."

Sullivan has been working for the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC), planning new events for the club.

Her latest project involved creating a five-week-long naturalist survival tutorial, called the Indigenous and Survival Skills Group, which will include lessons on creating habitation in nature, food identification, and a number of botany talks by guest speakers.

Sullivan says that she will be teaching a weekly class for interested BOC members if the remainder of the class is well attended.

"Sullivan has completely organized and planned this event," said BOC Assistant Director Zander Abbott '08 in an e-mail to the Orient.

Sullivan said that she was inspired to organize this series after taking a class she took at Tom Brown Jr.'s Tracker School in New Jersey, which taught her to be more critical of the "bust out 25 miles a day in [your] thick boots daydreaming" mentality, as she puts it.

"I became interested in learning how to enjoy being outside that did not involve the typical weekend camping trip," said Sullivan. "Indigenous and survival skills connect people back with the landscape."

Sullivan said that Unity College in Unity, Maine already has an outdoor living class as part of its outing club.

Colby College is considering a similar program.

About 10 people attended last Monday's class, Friction Fire Making. Sullivan said that those who came brought "fantastic questions and enthusiasm." The event was, however, spark-less.

"No sparks this meeting," said Sullivan. "But I'm sure we will get people starting their own fires in the weeks to come."

The next event is scheduled for Monday, February 15 and has plans to feature Mike Douglas from the Maine Primitive Skills School in Augusta. Douglas's talk will center on "ways to stalk animals through the woods, tap into intuitive knowledge and understand how to connect more with our environment," said Sullivan.

In an event the following week, the group will focus on cover cordage, rope and plant usage. This class will teach attendants how to tie various common knots, and how to make use of different plants commonly found in Maine.

The last on-campus portion of the Indigenous and Survival Skills group series will be on March 2. This event, Introduction to Tracking, will go over such things as "common gaits, left/right food dominance, [and] compression shapes" of animal tracks', said Sullivan.

"There are experts out there who can tell [an animal's] age, weight, gender, if their bladder is full or empty, what their emotional state is, and much more [from their tracks]...Tracks are like mini geological landscapes waiting to be explored," she said.

Introduction to Tracking will also be taught by Mike Douglas.

The last segment of the series will be a workshop by Arthur Haines, a botanist at the College of the Atlantic. His workshop will explore the edibility of a variety of plants.

This workshop will be conducted as an overnight at the Survival Shelter Building on March 27 and 28.