John Muir Award

Badger Bushcraft Lecture To Staplehurst Women’s Institute

It was with great pleasure that Phil presented a short lecture to Staplehurst Women’s Institute, despite being warned by a good friend not to mention horticulture, baking and jam making it seems Phil’s presentation was well received.

Some months back we were contacted and asked if we would be interested in presenting an hours lecture with a question and answers session to a local WI branch in the large Kent village of Staplehurst and it was with great pleasure that we accepted.

Phil Brown Badger Buschraft talking to Staplehurst WI members

Phil prepared for and delivered a lecture about Spring in the countryside focusing on seasonal plants and trees and their bushcraft, medicinal, folklore and historic uses. The lecture also touched on primitive stone and flint tools as well as well primitive craft items. The hour soon whizzed by and overran with a myriad of questions at the end.

WI members looking at the flower of hazel (corylus avellana)

Phil was even brave enough to offer his private stash of bullace jam, made like the Damson Jam Recipe as featured in the Wild Food section of our blog, which was enjoyed by the ladies.

We received a wonderful letter of thanks from Pam Payne Programme Secretary Staplehurst WI and a collection of photographs:-

“Dear Phil,

Thank you for being such an inspirational speaker for our Staplehurst WI members last night. How refreshing it was to find a WI speaker who could engage so easily with his audience.

Our members really didn’t know what they were in for and I know they were very impressed by what they learned from your interactive approach. We were all tripping down Memory Lane when you described how we used to be able to wander through the great outdoors as children and make our camps, etc……a chance which is afforded freely to so few children today.

I must just let you have a few “overheard” snippets:-

“Isn’t that amazing to think that I am holding something that was made and used over 4000 years ago.”

“This jam tastes unusually good….what is bullace?”

“Look how evenly Phil has made this binding. The pattern is so even. I wish I could get mine to look like that.”

“I never thought you would get me chewing parts of a plant I don’t know to stop my headache!”

“THAT is a fungus! It’s a big one!”

As a result of this so many of us would now like to arrange a visit to one of your sites to light our own fire and try out some of the pursuits you recommended.

We wish you well with your upcoming course at the weekend.

Yours sincerely,

Pam Payne - Programme Secretary Staplehurst WI”

A WI member examines the buckskin

WI member with a chestnet quiver

Phil's bullace jam went down a treat with the WI

Thank you to all the WI members for being most hospitable audience during the evening and for the tea and biscuits at the end!

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