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Sat, May 20


Universalist Unitarian Church

Practice Ancient Fire-Making

Fire-making is a fundamental survival skill that will boost your confidence and increase your enjoyment when hiking and camping.

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Practice Ancient Fire-Making
Practice Ancient Fire-Making

Time & Location

May 20, 2023, 12:30 PM – 5:30 PM CDT

Universalist Unitarian Church, 2355 Oakdale Rd, Coralville, IA

About the Event

You may have seen wilderness survival programs showing people easily creating campfires without matches or lighters. You can learn those same valuable fire-making skills to become more confident in your hiking and camping endeavors while gaining a closer, mutualistic relationship with the natural world.

During this class, you will experience the basics of friction fire-starting using a bow drill.

  • First, we will mindfully wander the woods, learning about our local natural areas by identifying and gathering materials for a fire from ideal trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses. Tips will be shared about tending the wilderness to increase its health while foraging for materials.
  • Next, you will learn to carefully craft those natural materials into a bow, fire board, spindle, handhold and tinder bundle. As you learn practical skills with a knife, you will naturally cultivate virtues of slowness and patience.
  • Lastly, techniques for igniting an ember from the tools you created will be learned and practiced. Few experiences can match the fulfillment, pride and exhilaration that creating a fire from raw materials can bring.
  • Finally, a rich, forest tea and snacks will be enjoyed around a fire you helped bring to life.

Everyone leaves with a bow drill set and an improved understanding of how to successfully make a fire.

Watch this bow drill fire-making video to see the techniques you will learn.

Through this practice, you will develop plant identification skills, gain an awareness of how our environment changes through the seasons, and experience a sense of timelessness that comes with an enjoyable, focused endeavor. These skills take time, but they can be a healthy mindfulness practice that rejuvenates you from a fast-paced world. In addition, the knowledge is easily transferred to other ancestral practices, such as wildcrafting, herbalism, and wild edible foraging, to help you live a more sustainable and connected life.

You are invited no matter your level of outdoor experience.

Please note…

  • Sharp tools will be used: knives and tree saws.
  • Hot embers and fire will be created.
  • Be prepared to hike on and off trail with changes in elevation. 
  • Participants must be 15 years or older to attend (or younger people must be constantly accompanied by an adult).


Required items:

  • Appropriate clothes for hands-on outdoor learning: hat, pants, durable footwear.
  • Leather gloves.
  • 1-3 bags for carrying materials: haversack, backpack, fanny pack, old purse.

Optional items:

  • Sturdy outdoor knife, preferably with a fixed blade.
  • Portable tree saw.
  • Water bottle.
  • Notebook and a pen/pencil for taking notes.
  • Handkerchief.
  • Portable outdoor chair.
  • Food to cook over a fire.


Sliding scale fee: $95 - $25, based upon your access to resources.

Backyard Abundance members receive a 10% discount. Learn about Backyard Abundance membership.

Attendance is capped at 15. Please register soon.


We need a minimum of 10 attendees to host the class. Please invite friends and family to ensure the event happens as scheduled. We would love to meet your loved ones.


Call 319-325-6810 to reach the educator.


Taught by Fred Meyer, a bushcrafter at Backyard Abundance. He offers years of experience as a permaculture designer, Master Gardener, hiker and wild edible forager to help you thrive in the outdoors.


Unitarian Universalist Church

2355 Oakdale Rd, Coralville, IA


The event is held outside. Masks are optional. We will try to maintain 6' distancing.


This class was developed in collaboration with many community partners and was funded by the Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP CEP). It would not be possible without these sponsors and supporters. Please  frequent these generous organizations to thank them for donations of  time, materials and funds.


  • Abundance of Resources

    This fee is for people with expendable income. This option allows you to assist others in attending our classes by “paying it forward” for those who have less access to opportunities.

    Sale ended
  • Traditional Resources

    This fee is for people who have the resources they need to make ends meet and can attend our classes at full cost.

    Sale ended
  • Reduced Access to Resources

    This fee is for people who are working hard to make ends meet on low wages and have less access to resources and opportunities.

    Sale ended
  • Under Resourced

    This option is for people who have low access to resources. Examples include those with income below the poverty line, people living with mental and physical health concerns, and people experiencing insecurity in basic needs attainment.

    Sale ended



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