It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a…transpiration bag?!
This summer, campers enrolled in the Arboretum’s Wilderness Survival Camp learned how to gather clean drinking water by bundling leaves and branches into a clear plastic bag. When the sun warms the leaves inside a transpiration bag, water is released in the form of vapor. The water condenses on the sides of the plastic and then gathers at the lowest point of the bag, which is weighted with a rock. Transpiration bags can collect anywhere from a cup to a pint of potable water each day.
Wilderness Survival campers also learned how to build a fire, create waterproof shelters, forage for wild edibles, and use lashing techniques to construct rafts. This last experience resulted in newfound knowledge: yes, there are leeches in the Tuckahoe.
Despite the leeches, all twelve campers and camp director Jenny Houghton not only survived Wilderness Survival Camp but had a great time doing so.