Junior Bushcraft Life Skills authors Aboriginal elder Alan Greenwood and his best mate Rick ‘Dampa’ Sloan share practical tips to help kids stay alert and safe if they ever find themselves in trouble in the bush
1. Prepare before you explore
Your adventure starts the moment you walk out the door. Before you head off, make a list of your travel plans and tell someone where you are going. If you change your plans along the way let others know. Wear brightly coloured clothes and good shoes and always take an emergency whistle with you.
2. Carry enough water
Never go camping, hiking, or exploring in the bush without taking enough drinking water. This is an average of two litres per person per day. If you intend to use water for other things like washing dishes, you will need to take more.
3. Always Look – Observe – Stop – Think
If you think you are lost there is a list of things to do. First, look where you are and check your surroundings. Then observe! What can you use? Stop running around to save your energy, and think of the best way to proceed.
4. If you’re in a car and it breaks down, stay with the car
Staying with your car after a breakdown is super important. If you have told friends where you are going and didn’t turn up on a certain date, they will activate a search and rescue party. It is also easier to find a car than try to find someone walking in the bush.
5. If you’re walking and get lost, find a landmark, and stay there
Getting lost when walking is not fun. If you get disoriented, look around for a landmark that stands out, and stay there. Again, if you have told friends where you are going, it will be easier for the search party to locate you. They will concentrate their search on an area they think you should be and not waste effort, time, and resources on somewhere you are not.
6. Stay away from insects and animals
Never pick up and play with insects or bugs. Bright colours are a sign to leave insects and bugs alone and multi-colours mixed with black mean beware. If you see a snake, move away, and leave it alone.
7. Choose a safe place to set up camp
Camping in a valley where the ground is flat can seem like a good idea, but it might rain and flood. So always camp on high ground. Don’t camp under trees because branches can snap and fall.
8. Test before you eat
To make sure something is safe to eat, put a little piece on the inside of your elbow. Only test one food group at a time. If it itches, burns, or turns red it means it might be poisonous, so don’t eat it. Black seeds, red fruits, mushrooms and toadstools or plants that are shaped like a hand with five leaves or more are a sign to leave them alone.
9. Take a deep breath and relax
If you are lost or scared it can be hard to stay calm. So, take a deep breath, make yourself safe and comfortable and relax. If you have told someone where you are going then it’s only a matter of time before you’re found.
Junior Bushcraft Life Skills costs $9.95 and can be ordered online at: sunshinebooks.com.au