Teen Edible & Medicinal Plants Workshop

The Vashon Wilderness Program is presenting a Teen Workshop on Edible & Medicinal Plants, and I’ll be assisting.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you probably have guessed that I’m super-crazy about how we can work with plants to help heal ourselves, and about how we can become fluent in “plant language” (how plants ‘talk’ with us–they do, via taste, smell, effects on our bodies …). Sharing the power and magic of plants with Teens is some of the most satisfying fun I know.

Spread the word to any Teens you know (yours 😉 ) that this workshop is coming up. I’d love to spend some “plant time” with any of your Teens (and their friends) who may be interested!

Here is the info:

Edible and Medicinal Plants

What berries can you eat? Which “weeds” on your lawn are edible? What plant contains the very medicine you need to heal from touching it? Which local plant did the natives use for common headaches? The plant world is both a banquet and a medicine cabinet waiting to be discovered!  In this class you will learn to confidently and safely identify and gather these greens for your own nourishment and care. Develop an understanding of our local ecology, learn where to find these edibles and medicinals, try some new culinary delights from nature’s market and make a healing salve.

April 14, 2012, 10am-3pm, $50, plus $20 materials fee

For more details, to register, as well as info for applying for scholarship assistance


Did You Ever Play With Plants?

When I was nine, my friends and I discovered that a local weed, “Sourgrass” (Oxalis pes-caprae) was edible. For weeks after, whenever we walked to or from school in our suburban neighborhood, we pulled up hunks of bright yellow-flowered plant, and chewed on the stems. We thrilled at the bold sweet-sour taste, and felt very bold ourselves, chewing on weeds.

Of course we decorated our hair with the bright yellow flowers. And who hasn’t made daisy chains? Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve (adults as well as kids!) have clothed ourselves in Cleavers (Galium aparine) — also called “sticky wicky” around here — or in ivy. And who around here doesn’t gobble up blackberries, salmonberries, and huckleberries when they come ripe?

If we think it’s a good idea to connect kids with nature, we’d do well to look back on our childhood. How did we connect with nature? Did we make magic potions? Did we feast on feral plants? Did we sip honeysuckle, learn from the “big kids” that you can eat that weed? Or maybe we were blessed to have grown up with folks who knew the weeds — and cooked with them, made medicine with them, listened to their secrets, and maybe shared a few with us.

Did you climb trees, and take comfort in your long-armed, strong, generous friend?

Did you ever play with plants? Do you play with them now?

Next time your child plays with weeds, join in!

A Sourgrass Wand, an Ivy crown - photo by Jane Valencia

What Is Wise Child Learning?

Wise Child Learning celebrates the magic of herbs, natural mystery, story, song, folktales, children’s literature, and more in learning adventures for your child, yourself, your family, and communities.

We derive our name from the beloved children’s herbal fantasy novel, Wise Child by Monica Furlong. In this tale,a girl called Wise Child is mentored by the herbalist and wisewoman healer, Juniper, in the arts that lead one to become a “doran” — one who senses the pattern at the heart of all things, and who is dedicated to loving and protecting it.

In lessons posted on this blog we’ll experience “Wise Child Learning” – expanding our perceptions of awareness and delving into a “wise child” curriculum of astronomy, music, storytelling, the language of the earth, and — of course — herbalism and healing. And more!

Look for unit studies and curriculum in the coming year, as well as free lessons right here in this blog.