Outdoor Pursuits

This Outdoor Pursuit will encompass two parts. During Part A you have to gather materials to prepare a Pole Push, Stick Pull and Snowsnake for the Dene Games. The class will be arranged into 3 groups of 4 and you will then begin your pursuit of the materials. During Part B you will shave all bark of the trees, allow the trees to dry, sand and plane the trees and cut all trees to their proper lengths. And in the case of the Snowsnake you will varnish it.

Part A: What are we looking for?

Pole Push

It is important for the Pole Push to be very straight, therefore look for a spruce tree approximately 25" long and with a top diameter of 5" to 6". The tree needs to be very straight and the bottom diameter should not be more than 7". When you find the tree please let the teacher know so he can inspect your find and a group decision can then be made. Once the tree is cut down, bring the tree to the road and we will measure out 20" and cut the tree at the appropriate locations.

Stick Pull

The stick can be a spruce tree or birch tree approximately 12" long and 1" in diameter at the centre and tapered to approximately 1/2" at each end. Search for a tree that has a 1" diameter, cut the tree so it is about 2-3 feet long with a diameter of 1" inch. The tree will be cut and sanded to the appropriate dimensions at the school workshop.


The tree should be a very straight spruce, like a broom handle. Once you have found a suitable spruce tree, the diameter of the tree should be 3/4" to 1" and 5-6 feet long. The diameter is very important; the length can be cut later in the school workshop. The Snowsnake will be sanded and varnished in the school workshop.

Part B: Tree preparations

With the assistance and direction of the teacher we will shave all bark from the trees and allow them to dry out in the workshop for 5-7 days. Upon returning to the workshop, you will be arranged back into your groups to prepare the trees. Since the planer can be a safety concern, your teacher will demonstrate how to use this tool and choose 1 or 2 students to work on the Pole Push after they have received some training. As for the other trees, we will begin by sanding both to the appropriate sizes. This requires lots of elbow grease and cooperation amongst the class. Students need to take pride in their work and reflect on what it is their trying to create. A pole that is not properly created will be unsafe and inappropriate to play with during the game. Once all trees have been prepared to the proper dimensions, the Pole Push and Stick Pull has to be centered with a painted circle around the centre each and the Snowsnake has to be sharpened at one end and varnished.