Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 4:49 PM on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wilderness leaders get out, help out, have fun and learn



Photo provided by HoWL

Quinn Alward, Hoxie Parks, Sarah Wolf, Nonah Baltzer, Landon Bunting and Ruby Allen collect wild superfoods in a patch of nettles during HoWL's edible harvest and survival skills course over Memorial Day weekend.nd.

Trails day in Kachemak Bay State Park continued last week as 24 teenagers from Homer and Seldovia spent three days working and enjoying the Humpy Creek area.

Homer Wilderness Leaders (HoWL) and the Seldovia Village Tribe collaborated to bring the group across the bay, where they cleared trails from the Grewingk tram to Humpy Creek and part way up Phoens Ridge along the Emerald Lake Trail. They also practiced singing for bear defense when a black bear joined them on the trail.

When they weren't working on trails, kids honed their tracking skills by playing an epic game of capture the flag and camped near Grewingk Creek, where they used the newly installed and upgraded tram.

Another group of HoWL students embarked on edible harvest and survival skills courses in May, where they subsisted on such delicacies as tempura-fried nettles, elderberry flowers and soft-shelled steamer clams, and slept in shelters made from tarps, driftwood and branches.

New wilderness skills courses have been added on top of the regularly-scheduled Introduction to Wilderness Skills for ages 10-13, to be held June 27-July 1. Another intro will be held July 4-8 and an Intermediate Wilderness Skills trip for ages 10-14 will be July 18-22.

Howlin' Howl, an overnight extravaganza of arts, crafts, music and camping in Seldovia, starts today. The trip is for all ages and costs $95.

Some creative projects from Howlin' Howl will be on display at the third annual HoWL Benefit Concert, 6-10 p.m. Saturday at the Yurt Village. There will be snacks and activities along with local music by Ethan Martin, Ascent, Work in Progress and Uplift.

A variety of paddling, glacier travel, climbing and hiking expeditions are scheduled for July and August. Most trips are for youth within the 10-18 year old age range, though there are opportunities for all ages to get involved.

HoWL was recently awarded a youth-led community service mini-grant from the Association of Alaska School Boards and the Alaska Initiative for Community Engagement to launch its new Day Trippers program, which will train "junior leaders" to work alongside HoWL's professional instructors to lead outdoor day trips for youth and families.

Trips will include navigation and orientation skills, fire building and cookouts, tracking skills, edible plants, survival skills and bear awareness, outdoor leadership and team-building games and more.

Day trips begin in July, cost $20 and will be offered to students 8 years old and up.

For more information, visit homerwildernessleaders.org or call 399-HOWL.