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Tom Durkin
Fox Walkers learn ‘earth skills’ for life
One of the first things you notice about Fox Walker kids is their easy ability to balance on logs, even blindfolded.

“Their balance is symbolic of the Fox Walker philosophy of learning to be in balance with nature,” explained Rick Berry, founder and director of Four Elements Earth Education.

Based at the Burton Homestead north of Nevada City, the nonprofit 4EEE organization’s mission is to offer “programs that guide children, families and teens toward a pure connection to the Earth through direct experiences in nature,” according to the 4EEE website.

Two of 4EEE most popular summer programs are the Young Fox Walkers (ages 4-6 years) and the Fox Walkers (7-12 years) day camps where kids are taught “earth skills,” blending the ancient arts of tracking, wilderness, nature awareness and log-walking.

Berry is adamant that 4EEE is not a “survivalist” camp. Instead, “We are introducing them to the natural world so they feel comfortable and at home in the natural environment.” That does include, however, certain survival skills like how to light a fire with one match in a rainstorm.

“I love the Fox Walkers!” raved Wendy Wernigg.

She explained that her son, Bodie, was having trouble learning in school, but over the last seven years of Fox Walker activities “he moves so gracefully through the world.”

At age 14, Bodie has graduated from Fox Walkers and now is an intern at the camp where he teaches younger kids everything he has learned. “He loves sharing what he knows,” said his mother.

As for how Fox Walkers has changed her, Wernigg revealed, “I have a sense of ease. I don’t worry about Bodie.

He knows his place in the world.”

“I can’t even tell you how important that has been in our life. I have no words,” she concluded gratefully.

The summer camps are wrapping up this month – but that is hardly the end of the year-round series of programs. As of press time, the fall schedule of activities, which are coordinated with public and charter schools, had not been announced.

The highly popular programs fill up fast, so parents, teachers, kids and anyone interested in learning to live in and with the environment are urged to check out the schedule when it is announced at www.4eee.org.

Photo by Tom Durkin
Adama Griffin, 9, took his first tentative steps on a log. He quickly found his balance. And then he mastered the skill every Foxwalker knows. Next step, he’ll try it blindfolded.