Outdoor survival skills can be valuable.

Outdoor survival skills can be valuable.

The Dawes Arboretum, 7770 Jacksontown Road, near Newark, is offering a weeklong outdoor day camp to youths 11 to 14 years old Aug. 6-10.

"It's similar to the Boy Scout philosophy of always being prepared," said Dawes spokeswoman Sarah Rice. "It's not common to have these types of classes. We get a lot of hikers and outdoorsy people. It's fun to show off your knowledge."

Each day offers a specific skill to help anyone survive in the wild.

"With shows like Survivor, kids are really interested in these skills," said Jenny Pope, Dawes education director. "They think it's glamorous. They'll see otherwise, but these classes are a lot of fun."

On Monday, Aug. 6, Greg Payton, Dawes' plant records specialist and primitive survival skills hobbyist, will teach how to build a shelter and use simple tools that can be made on site. Youths will use these tools to weave cordage (rope) that can secure a shelter and create a hat to block the sun.

The next day, Tuesday, Aug. 7, Payton will teach how to locate a source of water and purify it for drinking, and to design a canteen using fire and clay for safe travel away from the water source.

On Wednesday, Aug. 8, Sarah Letki, Dawes Boy Scout Troop 33 committee member, will teach how to identify more than 20 common species of wild plants and a few insects that can be gathered for food. She will have samples of tea, jelly, salad and stir fry made from the local harvest.

On Thursday, Aug. 9, Shane McGuire, Dawes conservationist, will show how to fish, including casting, tying hooks, bait, aquatic ecosystems and regulations. The goal is to prepare and eat the morning's catch.

On Friday, Aug. 10, Beth Spieles, Dawes interpretive educator, will teach orientation, or finding one's direction, using primitive and more advanced technology.

"We have an awful lot of interest in this program," Pope said, adding that 13 are signed up and only a few openings remained as of July 27.

She also said Payton is scheduled to teach a single-day adult primitive skills class from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7.

"These are valuable skills that can be used for pleasure or survival, if necessary," Pope said. "Hopefully, just for pleasure."