‘Animated’ storyteller Hawk Hurst to visit Woodland Discovery, Davidson College
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Monday, Mar. 24, 2014

‘Animated’ storyteller Hawk Hurst to visit Woodland Discovery, Davidson College

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/20/11/47/rWaxP.Em.138.jpeg|210
    - COURTESY OF PATTI MCKINNON
    Hawk Hurst, seated, last appeared at Woodland Discovery in October 2013 to lead a flute-making class. On April 10, he will teach a gourd-drum-making class there and host a free storytelling/musical program on the theme “Earth, Water, Fire and Air.”
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/20/11/47/1radM6.Em.138.jpeg|210
    - COURTESY OF PATTI MCKINNON
    Hawk Hurst, standing, will tell stories, weather-permitting, by Concord Woodland Discovery’s pond on April 10; the event may also include a bonfire and marshmallow roasting. Then from 6 to 8 p.m., Hurst will teach participants how to make gourd-drums.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/20/11/47/1fMbzE.Em.138.jpeg|210
    - COURTESY OF PATTI MCKINNON
    Hawk Hurst, center, demonstrates how to make a flute with natural materials at a Woodland Discovery event in October 2013. Hurst is returning to the center, as well as making an appearance at Davidson College, in April.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/20/11/47/GxGqf.Em.138.jpeg|210
    - COURTESY OF PATTI MCKINNON
    Hawk Hurst, second from left, leads a flute-making class in October. “If we can move beyond purely selfish motivations and choose to value and respect the water, the air, the earth and all of its diverse creatures … then we can actually learn to thrive on this planet, not just survive,” he says.
  • Want to go?

    • For more information about Woodland Discovery or to register for the April 10 events, contact Carolyn Walker at 704-439-7764 or at woodlandsdiscovery@gmail.com. The storytelling does not require registration, but the drum workshop and the home-schoolers program do. The cost is $75 (drum) and $20 (home-schoolers). Participants should register by April 9.

    • For more information on the April 11-12 events at Davidson College, contact Lydia McAliley at lymcaliley@davidson.edu; contact mailbox@teambenes.com for details about the April 12 storytelling at the college.

    • For more information Hawk Hurst and his appearances, visit www.hawkhurstflutes.com.

On April 10, Woodland Discovery in Concord will host Hawk Hurst, a storyteller, musician and an instrument maker from Charleston.

From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., he will present a free program titled “Earth, Wind, Fire and Air.” Hurst tells stories of how ancient people valued the natural world and incorporates instruments of Native Americans, Africans and Australians into the show.

Weather permitting, the presentation will be by the site’s pond and may include a bonfire and marshmallow roasting. Then from 6 to 8 p.m., Hurst will teach how to make gourd-drums.

On April 11, Hurst will speak and perform for Davidson College students. He will also offer a Native American flute-making workshop at the college April 12. Registration will be open to the public. The same day, a Davidson resident will host a storytelling event.

Woodland Discovery’s founder, Carolyn Walker of Cornelius, said she calls Hurst “the old sage” because “he just knows everything.”

“He is animated enough that even little kids will sit through it and be enthralled,” said Walker of Hurst’s stories.

Hurst said his love of storytelling began as a child while listening to his grandfather’s tales, which often included harmonica playing, of Oklahoma in the 1930s dust-bowl era.

“Our family grew wheat and milo, and raised upwards to 2,000 head of sheep, in addition to grazing cattle, horses and running a dairy and hog operation,” said Hurst.

“For several years when I was in elementary school, a Navajo sheepherder named Tom Joe and his wife lived on our farm and ranch,” he said. “It was during these brief encounters with Tom Joe that I first heard exciting tales of Navajo tribal life.

“From this encounter, I grew to love and appreciate Native American people and their culture.”

His first appearance at Woodland Discovery was a flute-making class in October 2013. Hurst’s presentations fit with Woodland Discovery’s philosophy of learning by playing and appreciating the natural world, inspired by Richard Louv’s book “Last Child in the Woods.”

Walker says that children who attend the preschool and other events benefit from “real experience, as opposed to contrived experience.”

On the trails and pond at Woodland Discovery, off Poplar Tent Road, children “become so familiar with the land that they begin to anticipate how it changes,” she said.

One of Walker’s concerns is creating the next generation of conservationists.

“Unless they learn to love it, they’re not going to save it,” she said.

Walker has many plans for Woodland Discovery: adding organic gardens, and a musical garden of natural items like stump drums, bamboo pipes, as well as a national Arbor Day Foundation marimba that she hopes to purchase.

She is also planning a beach build in May, in which volunteers will pull the weeds along the shore of the pond and help spread sand to create a beach. Walker is seeking a group to help with what she thinks will be a fun endeavor.

Walker teaches children to respect nature, helping them hunt for feathers in the woods and draw pictures of a dissected daffodil to learn its parts. She believes learning to respect nature also leads to a greater respect for other people.

Storyteller Hurst agrees: “Everything that we use to sustain our lives – whether it be the clothes we wear, the dwellings we call home, the food we ingest or the technological devices that amuse us – all of their components are derived from the natural world. …

“If we can move beyond purely selfish motivations and choose to value and respect the water, the air, the earth and all of its diverse creatures as having a divine right to exist, apart from our needs, then we can actually learn to thrive on this planet, not just survive,” he said.

Prior to Hurst’s April 10 presentations, Woodland Discovery will host a program for home-schoolers from 2 to 4 p.m., “Listen to the Music of the Woods,” wherein participants will use natural objects to create music. Participants are welcome to stay for Hurst’s presentation afterward.

Marjorie Dana is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marjorie? Email her at marjorie.dana@yahoo.com.

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