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UA Little Rock Chemistry Professor Publishes Camping Guide

Dr. Jerry Darsey
Dr. Jerry Darsey

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock chemistry professor who has worked at the university for three decades is sharing the knowledge he has gained through decades of camping and Boy Scout experience in his first book – a camping guide full of useful tips to make the best of outdoor trips.

Dr. Jerry Darsey, director of the Center for Molecular Design and Development at UA Little Rock, has completed his new book, “A Guide to Primitive Camping: Tips for Any Type of Outdoor Camping,” published by Newman Springs Publishing.

The new book is a helpful and educational guide based on Darsey’s years of experience camping in the swamps of southern Louisiana around his hometown of Houma. The book will help readers understand the skills they’ll need to survive a primitive camping trip with minimal equipment.

“The primary audience of this book is those who would go on a primitive campout. However, many of the camping tips discussed in this book can be useful for any type of camping, from the one- to two-night camping trip to the enthusiast going on a one, two, or multiple-week primitive camping experience.”

While Darsey has authored nearly 200 academic manuscripts in numerous journals, this book is his first non-academic writing venture that is based on his long history with the Boy Scouts of America. During all these years involved in the Boy Scouts, he has gone on hundreds of camping trips, including many survival camping trips.

Darsey participated in the Boy Scouts from 11-18 and served as a counselor for four years at the New Orleans area council Boy Scout camp in Slidell, Louisiana. When Darsey’s son turned 11, he also joined the Boy Scouts, and Darsey became the assistant scoutmaster for Troop 12 in Little Rock that meets at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church.

“I learned a lot of useful things when I was a Boy Scout growing up literally in the swamps of Louisiana,” Darsey said. “The Boy Scouts is a fantastic moral-, skill-, and character-building organization. We used to go camping often, and we had to hike 10-20 miles. We learned many methods to reduce how much you had to carry on your back.”

Darsey was inspired to write the book after watching people struggle to make it during outdoor survival reality shows on television.

“This book is primarily inspired by the TV show, ‘Naked and Afraid,’” Darsey said. “There were many instances where the participants did not seem to know many survival techniques. I learned how to build a shelter as a child, and I was amazed at how many people did not know how to build a shelter. The contestants would build one trap and wonder why they can’t catch any animals. We used to build 5-10 traps and maybe one of them would catch something. At first, I thought everyone knew these things. After watching shows like this, I learned that very few people knew these skills.”

The book covers topics such as how to build a good shelter, starting a campfire, catching food, cooking food and boiling water without pots and pans, reducing mosquito bites, keeping insects out of your shelter, and how to safely catch snakes.

Darsey said the response to his book has been quite positive, with readers eager to learn the secrets of how to conquer the dangers of the outdoors.

“When people read the book and see some of the tips, they will find ways to make camping more fun and less stressful and will learn some interesting things they hadn’t thought of before,” he said. “The survival nature of the book is meant for people who camp for more than a couple of nights. Another Boy Scout told me I need to write a book for the weekend camper. Maybe it’s something I’ll put on my list to do when I retire.”

Readers can find “A Guide to Primitive Camping: Tips for Any Type of Outdoor Camping” at bookstores everywhere, or online at the Apple iBooks Store, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.