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Long ago, people woke to the smell of wood fire and woven mats. They gathered what they needed to live from the natural environment around them. They lived as a part, in respect of the whole - and they wasted nothing. In times past, community cooperation and conservation of natural resources were key. In times present, many are wanting to return to these ways.
By conducting programs that provide an exploration of primitive life, such as grinding corn, making rope from natural materials or investigating organic pigments and tools, it is the hope of this project to evoke a memory of an old environmental ethic that once served our earth. The project also hopes to inspire ecological leadership toward sustainable systems, and to provide a bridge for cultural preservation. It is our belief that together we are but one humanity, on one planet, with one future.
This is an educational project targeting ecological consciousness from both ancient and current perspectives world wide. But since the program remains centered in Western Pennsylvania, the main structures used in historical teaching have been selected to reflect the original peoples of this area (early eastern woodlands cultures.) To learn more about Native Americans today, please see the following sites:
The Onondaga Nation's Website
The Haudenosaunee Environmental Action Plan
Delaware Tribe Website
Adventures designed to take your classroom, group, or facility into a world of primitive living.
About the program
The name Wachtschu Ehachping (WAK-chu HAWK-ping) means "Mountain Place." It was given in honor of a place and people who have worked hard to preserve both primal living skills, and the environmental ethic once held by this tradition of living. The spelling as it was given to us differs slightly from translation to translation. According to the Lenape Language Preservation Project, which includes the cultural preservation work of Nora Thompson Dean and Lucy Parks Blalock, the words might be spelled instead as Ahchu Ehahpink. To learn more about the Lenape language and cultural preservation today please see: an article about
Nora Thompson Dean
Lenape Talking Dictionary
By providing actual primitive implements, materials, tools and dress, Wachtschu Ehachping sets a template to touch, feel, smell and do - to sample life as it was lived by our early ancestors through:
school field trips
week-long learning sessions and day camps
curriculum-based school workshops
In the culture presented in the featured barn photos throughout the website, women traditionally do not work alongside the men. For the purposes of this barn recycling project however, female WE staff were permitted this temporary and unusual occurrence.
About the program director
Monica Colberg developed Wachtschu Ehachping as a humanities-based educational services program offering hands-on experiences in primal living. With 20 years of experience as a program developer, Monica works to provide a bridge for the preservation of current world cultures by offering guest instructors and speakers from a myriad of ancestral backgrounds to share cultural heritage and traditions.
She lectures for universities, historical societies, and conferences. She has piloted curriculum-based educational programs for both elementary and secondary schools. Her work with inner-city youths was recently featured in a human interest story by KDKA TV, Pittsburgh. Programs designed by Monica have been sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council/Federal State Partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pennsylvania Partners for the Arts, and the Benedum Foundation.
"Wachtschu Ehachping has integrity. It revitalizes the interconnectedness of all forms of life. It calls us to honor our ancestors and to relearn our responsibility to future generations. It gives me hope - because it works to repair our separation from the environment, which is of utmost importance to the survival of ourselves, our communities and our planet." - Jennifer Forester, Educational Consultant, Muscogee (Creek)
"The educational experience we had was beyond words." - Lucy Klimko, Parent Educator
"School only tends to my daughter's mind. This nurtures her spirit." - Lorri Mogus, Parent
"This was the greatest field trip I ever went on, ever!" - Andy Ebel, 5th grader
"Even in the smallest understanding of the utilization of animal skins and bones for clothing and tools, there is a reverence with which the lives of animals are treated in Wachtschu Ehachping programming." - Marsha Koschik, Animal Rescue/Advocacy/Medicine
107 St. Anne Drive
Glenshaw, PA 15116
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