Night Eagle Alum Published!
Updated: Dec 19, 2021
Justin Wexler (Earth Song), a former Night Eagle camper, our first AC, and later a counselor in the early years of camp has published a book!
When Earth Song first applied to Night Eagle, he was fifteen years old, which made him too old to be a camper at Night Eagle. His father pleaded with us saying, "You have to accept him. He has never asked to go to an overnight summer camp until he heard about Night Eagle. He loves learning about the American Indians and is interested in all the activities that you offer." Then he added, "He even wears a breechclout around the house!" So, how could we argue with that. We accepted him and have never regretted our decision to bend the rules!
The boys and counselors who were at Night Eagle between the years of 2001-2003 will remember Earth Song as being a quiet, friendly camper with long hair who already had an impressive knowledge of the trees, plants (survival and medical), and birds at camp. But Earth Song wanted more than that; he wanted to live in a tipi, be free to wear a breechclout, learn more about the American Indian, and acquire and perfect new outdoor skills. You can tell by his Night Eagle name that we could easily see he was happiest when he was learning skills surrounded by nature.
After his year as a camper, Earth Song wanted to return to Night Eagle the following summer, but he was too old to return as a camper. We definitely wanted him back at camp, but because we state in our literature that counselors must be 19 years old or have completed a year of college, he did not qualify as he was not 19 or in college. We only had one option, so we took it. We created a position for him - assistant counselor. Thus began our assistant counselor program. The following year, we made Earth Song a full fledged counselor, another first at Night Eagle.
Earth Song was an admirer of the American Indian and a re-enactor who taught himself to speak the Delaware language and frequently participated in re-enactments in New England. The Moreton family actually saw him in action at the annual re-enactment that takes place each autumn at Fort Ticonderoga just across Lake Champlain in New York.
I remember Earth Song as being a quiet camper who, oddly enough, did not bring his breechclout to wear during his first summer at Night Eagle. What he did bring, however, was an impressive knowledge of the woods, the ability to teach, and a great sense of humor. It was Earth Song who, unintentionally, created the "Werepig" who haunted the woods at Night Eagle. He was also the guy who got up early in the morning, as I was lighting the fire at the food shelter, and took ice cold showers. After drying off, he rounded the corner of the food shelter wearing a towel around his waist and a big grin on his face.
It was after those showers that Earth Song and I would sit around the fire, and he would identify the various bird calls we heard. Because of him, I now can instantly recognize the song of the White-throated sparrow.
Now after eighteen years of research, hard work, and spending an inordinate amount of time in the woods, he announced that he has “finally completed the final edition of my guide to American ginseng habitat.”
Ginseng is arguably the most famous plant native to North America. This identification guide covers all of the most commonly encountered ginseng companion plants found in an area stretching from Quebec to Maryland and is the only resource of its kind.
Amazon touts the guide as a comprehensive reference for ginseng growers, diggers,
amateur botanists, and for anybody interested in this fascinating plant and in the old forests that are its home. You can also purchase your copy of Identifying Ginseng Habitat: The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic on Lulu.com instead of the big booksellers.
Earth Song has promised me that he will come back to Night Eagle in 2022 and roam the property with me identifying various medicinal plant, edible plants, and endangered species. I'm looking forward to that day!