Ponoka resident and wilderness survivalist Robert Edwards had the ultimate primitive skills experience, taking part in a televised challenge that tested his outdoor knowledge in the arctic for 30 days with no tools, just the clothes on his back, one fallen animal, and two strangers.
Alone: The Beast, from the makers of Alone, premieres in Canada on Feb. 13, 2020 on History channel at 8 p.m. MST, and the episode Edwards is featured in airs on Feb. 20.
“The experience was surreal,” said Edwards in a written statement to Ponoka News.
“I was partnered up with two total strangers who became like family. The show and production crew were excellent and I am very happy to have been part of it.”
The show was filmed northeast of Yellowknife, NWT on Great Slave Lake during the month of September and into the beginning of October in 2019. There are six episodes in total of the premiere season.
Medical and emergency personnel were close by during filming that could only be contacted by radio.
“The ability to show what is, and can be, possible with no tools in a survival situation is an absolute privilege to be able to showcase.”
Edwards, 46 years old, is a B-pressure welder by trade. His family moved to Ponoka 19 years ago and he says he loves the “small-town feel” here.
He’s been married for 23 years to his wife Elizabeth Edwards and their four children all love the outdoors.
Growing up in a small central Alberta town, Edwards learned wilderness skills from his father, and it’s because of his father that he wanted to be on the show.
“Dad taught us to hunt, trap, and how to live off the land with minimal supplies,” Edwards said.
“His love of nature and passing on his knowledge was built into us from a very young age. His wish was that his boys would pass this knowledge on to anyone who wanted to learn, a task that I hold very close and dear.”
In 2014, Edwards established the Alberta Primitive Skills Society. The non-profit society that teaches skills such as hunting, bush-craft, pottery, flint knapping and primitive fire starting techniques, and how to make traditional longbows, arrowheads and handmade knives, as well as spears and at’latls (a spear-throwing lever).
Edwards underwent a selection process for the show that included a series of self films, extensive background checks and search of social media, as well as verifying he had the necessary skill set.
“I hope that all those watching will be inspired to take up the ability and challenge of learning primitive skills, especially those who spend any kind of time in the outdoors.”