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The Morgan Family Adventure: Making Tracks comes to Morgan

Jun 15, 2023 09:29AM ● By Ethan Hoffman

Erik, the owner of Making Tracks, teaches students how to make fire using friction. Courtesy photo

Last month was the first day of The Morgan Family Adventure. Local families gathered at Riverside Park, Morgan for a free event taught by Making Tracks Earth Education. The goal of Making Tracks is to inspire confidence and creativity through survival skills and Earth Education. Participants got to explore nature and learn survival skills such as fire by friction, primitive weaponry (axe throwing and bow shooting), ropemaking, and using stone tools. Exciting games were played and everyone had an opportunity to have fun, while learning and connecting with nature

The instructor, Erik Rasmussen, started Making Tracks in the fourth quarter of 2016 Rasmussen got his degree in park recreation and tourism at the University of Utah and he also studied entrepreneurship during college. He decided to go into parks and recreation because he had been studying primitive technology and survival skills since he was seven years old. Additionally, he started teaching about the subject when he was thirteen. Rasmussen has also helped recruit contestants for the reality survival competition series “Alone” and is good friends with some of the participants; Dave Nessia, Alan Kay, Sam Larson, Nicole Apelian, and Carleigh Fairchild to name a few. 

Making Tracks started building software for survival skills instructors to make it easier and more efficient for them to access clientele and host and run classes. “We’re an outdoor school but we are also decentralized.” commented Rasmussen “We don’t have one location that we teach from. Rather, we engineered a philosophy/methodology that every instructor has to learn and adhere to during programs.” The structure of this philosophy has a couple of elements to it, but the overarching goal of earth education is to get kids outside and off of screens. 

Every instructor has their own teaching style; the instructors aren’t all the same and they have different backgrounds. However, the Making Tracks courses will always consist of a combination of these three things: sitspot, survival skills, and wandering. In order to teach, the instructors must be proficient with all three. Sitspot is about picking a place you can go sit in nature for a minimum of twenty minutes a day, even if it’s in your own backyard. It’s all about getting in tune with your senses and learning to quiet your mind. Then sitspot is paired with survival skills such as making a fire with sticks, flintknapping an arrowhead, hunting/trapping, tracking animals, and identifying various medicinal plants.

The class as a whole is heavily tailored to the students participating. The material is customized to the students and it isn’t standardized to a specific curriculum. “For example, If they want to learn about making a fire we start at the beginning.” said Rasmussen. “Making fire is a step-by-step process. Fire is the final destination, but before you can reach it you must know how to use a knife to carve and be able to do it safely. Then we will teach you about fire: fire is a hazard, fire is a tool, etc. Then we start using bow drill kits and teach students how fire can be made with friction.” From that point, the instructors can expand on what’s already been taught. 

“A big part of survival skills is learning basic outdoor etiquette.” Rasmussen emphasized. “Everyone leaves a carbon footprint and when you hang out with an experienced survivalist, you learn that there is absolutely no way to leave no trace. If we are going to leave a trace we need to learn how to make good ones and become stewards and caretakers of the land. The reason we are called ‘Making Tracks’ is because we want people to interact with the world in a way in which they can leave healthy tracks on this earth.” 

The last key component is wandering. To enjoy the outdoors, the wanderer’s mindset is critical. This mindset is simple: be in nature, be present, have fun, and be happy. “If hiking a mountain is your goal, don’t worry about reaching your final destination right away.” Rasmussen instructed. “If you find yourself watching the wildlife or admiring tracks you come across, that's totally okay. Just make sure you use the opportunities that arise to appreciate the world around you.” 

All of the programs offered by Making Tracks are listed on their website and a description is provided for each. There will be another free event at Riverside Park on May 19 from 4-6 p.m. In addition, Making Tracks is hoping to provide more outdoor and survival skill classes in Morgan in the coming year. These classes will be intended for kids ages 5-18 and will take place once a week; most likely on Friday afternoons after school hours. Any student under seven isn’t quite ready to use a knife yet but they will be welcome to attend as long as a parent is with them. Nature is for everyone. To sign up for the upcoming class this month, register on their website below. If you are interested in Making Tracks, make sure to check out the link to their discord.

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