West Coast road trip, Days 4-5, Part 1: Social Forestry, Turtle progress.

Note: I’m in the midst of collecting all the West Coast Road Trip 2018 posts to put as their own page under the head of TRAVELS, and just noticed that I did not actually publish this draft with the others. So here you go!

The presenter is slightly right of center, his legs crossed and hand up.

I happened to be strolling into my final morning at the Convergence when I happened upon a very crowded outdoor workshop.

Though this was my first introduction to the presenter — and his theme, what he calls “Social Forestry.” I did find out his name, Tom Ward Hazel, and, I must say, this is one consummate Elder. And knows it. And feels enormous pressure to impart what he has to give. At one point in his talk, he says, as a sudden aside, “Can you imagine how much knowledge I’ve got stored in my 70-plus years that has to be shared with the new culture?” The young ones were all ears. So was another elder, Starhawk, in the audience. And so was I. Utterly entranced by his amazing stories. Though I came late, and left early (this one was 3 hours long), on my way out of the Convergence I saw him still in there, talking to one of the young ones. Here’s a podcast that might cover some of what he was talking about, and of course, is highly relevant to all who attempt to live in parched western lands.

Tom Ward Hazel Interview: Permaculture Perspectives on Wildfire

What I especially picked up on from Tom was how intensely complicated everything is, and how interesting those complications! Here’s an example:

At one point he talked about how original nomadic peoples work with the forest. Say they want to move camp from one season to another.

First, they send out the Rangers. They are scouts, get the big view of what lays ahead, report back to the Council, usually the Women’s Council, but not always.

Then they send out the Herbs, Seeds and Roots Guild, who pick and stash or carry back what is easily available and would be harmed when further guilds come through.

Then the Bodgers Guild. These people do the first pruning, identify special pieces of wood for furniture, tools, etc, and reduce the fuel load.

Next the Soyers (sp?) Guild. Do some thinning, felling some trees, not others, and NOT the legacy trees. They lay out a trail system that will also be a fire break, after having connected with the Rangers, who have advice for them. They also make sure animal trails are not disturbed.

Finally, the Charcoliers Guild, who gather wood for a fire from which they make and charge charcoal to fertilize the soil.

All this before the people move from one camp to another! You get an idea of the complexity of how native peoples care for their forests?

One other little tip here, which really helps me: “The tips of branches, bark, leaves and seeds, these are the “ramial” tissues, nutrient rich. The wood itself is all sugar.”

I then went for my final stroll through the Convergence, to check on the progress of the Turtle. Mostly filled in!

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