Welcome! Sink your hands into the soil and breathe deep. This is your place. There is none other like it and this place, rife with botanical life, can be ally and sanctuary, medicine and food. This place and all that thrives therein is your kin.
The plants provide a pathway into the natural world and can foster connection to the land on which we dwell or through which we travel. To learn them by smell and taste and touch, to greet them by name and discover how they have been appreciated for food and medicine, to hear their unique stories creates relationship, an intimacy with place. That which we love we nurture, we protect, it becomes a part of us.
Consider this program part science, part spirit. Together we’ll learn how to identify and cultivate plants, commune with them as allies, and prepare them for food and medicine. We’ll regain our own wildness, our role in the natural world, and discover what it is to feel at home with the earth. That which you learn will expand your perspective, inspire you to share your knowledge and insight with others, and enhance your everyday experience. We are intrinsically connected with the whole of the natural world and once we realize this, feel this, that connection can never be unknown.
The Plant and Place Immersion is your path into bioregional herbalism. It is a hybrid program, running from May to September. We will gather in-person two days every four weeks. Gatherings will take place on picturesque private and public lands in the Poconos. Together we'll meet and work hands-on with the plants and connect with the land. In between gatherings, we'll meet-up via zoom to learn in depth and discuss questions that arise. Thoughtful homework assignments will inspire consistent engagement with the plants and the land on which you dwell or visit. Upon completion, participants will be awarded a certificate.
SEE BELOW FOR AN EXPLANATION OF THE IMMERSION CURRICULUM:
To consume plants for food and medicine is a sacred communion with the plants. We take into our bodies not only their phytochemicals and fiber, but in doing so with awareness, our spirits intermingle. We take in the land on which they grow. We become a part of that land and regain our place as human animals, doing just as all the other animals do that trod the earth. Over time, our knowledge of place becomes instinctual. We begin to cultivate a sense of where to find food when hungry, what plants may heal us when we’re unwell, and what plants may make us unwell should we nibble without discretion.
We’ll dive deep into how to recognize plants in their habitats and how to cultivate them at home. We'll learn the language that we may use to better understand and describe them to others, how to forage and wildcraft, and how to strengthen awareness and communication through our senses. The School of Plant and Place Connection will provide you with the knowledge to confidently identify, harvest, and prepare plants for medicinal and food purposes.
YOU WILL LEARN ESSENTIAL FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS SUCH AS
AND THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING, SEE BELOW FOR WHAT ELSE YOU CAN EXPECT TO DISCOVER. . .
To know what plants to reach for in times of need is one of the most empowering skills a human can possess. To know what plant heals what part of the body and why gives you the ability to care for not only yourself, but your family, your community. Herbal medicine is vast and includes not only green leafy plants but mushrooms, lichens, barks and roots.
Learn the language of herbal medicine, how to evaluate imbalance in the body and the herbs that can bring the body back into a state of wellness. We'll harvest wild plants in the field and forest and explore cultivated herbs too. Together we'll craft herbal teas, tinctures, salves and more.
We'll dive deep into:
By the end of the program, every participant will have compiled an in-depth materia medica of both regional wild plants and cultivated herbs. Participants can expect to take home preparations we make as group and will be encouraged to make various preparations at home as well.
Incorporating wild foods into your diet provides valuable phytonutrients that are largely absent from our modern agricultural diets. Today, for many humans it is a foreign and sometimes frightening thing to harvest wild plants from the earth and ingest them. However, this practice was once commonplace. We'll reawaken our innate, instinctual ability to recognize safe and nutritious wild food plants.
We'll learn plants that are easily identifiable and simple to harvest and transform into tasty snacks and delicious meals. The very act of gathering plants connects us to place, to the land on which we dwell. Together we'll forage and prepare our wild foods in a variety of dishes.
Every participant will be skilled in identifying and harvesting a variety of wild plants for food purposes upon completion of the program.
I invite you to spend time with a craggy sassafras. Lean into its strong trunk, feel its furrowed bark, crack a twig and breathe deep its aroma. Press your ear close and hear its story. It shares with you a tale of its time on this land and of its relationship with the people and animals, fellow inhabitants. A warmth radiates throughout your body, indicating the very medicine of sassafras.
This is how humans first came to know the plants, to form relationship with them and the land on which they grew. It is only in modern times that we disregard sensual knowledge. Through this program you'll awaken your senses and learn how to communicate with the natural world of which you are a part.
Participants will experience:
As we journey into the plant world together and explore our connection to place, we'll share our experiences with each other. Every participant has unique impressions, stories, and insights that can further inform our experience of plant and place.
Human connection is just as important as human-plant connection and is something that is sometimes lacking in our day-to-day lives. Each one of us is a teacher, a potential mentor. When we share our stories, we learn from each other and also garner the experience to take our stories out into the world to share with others, whether that be with our family and friends or in our larger community.
Opportunities for connection will include:
To become acquainted with the plants, we must greet them where they live. To form connection with land, with place, we must spend time therein. As you come to know the plants that inhabit a landscape, the natural world becomes a place of comfort rather than apprehension. A walk in the woods or on a country lane is an opportunity to greet familiar plant friends and meet countless more.
We'll spend most of our time together in forest and field. Much of our time together will take place on private land in Milford, Pa and in the Milford Experimental Forest, although we'll also visit pristine public land. Our walks will be easy to moderate in nature. Through homework assignments, you'll learn to cultivate a relationship with your own natural places where the plants reside. Once you have completed this program, you'll be inspired to spend daily time in the natural world. Surely, you'll yearn to meet new plants outside your familiar landscape, and you'll have all the knowledge you need to make their acquaintance! This knowledge will nurture relationship with any land on which you may be. No matter where you are, connected to the earth, you are home.
Learn the basics of mushroom identification. Discover the many edible and medicinal mushrooms that surround you, how to harvest and prepare them in tasty dishes and valuable herbal medicine.
Herbal medicine utilizes not only herbaceous plants, but barks and roots, mushrooms and lichens. One full day will be spent learning in-depth about the mushrooms and the mushrooms will surely speckle our wild plant walks too!
Learn how to begin your own herb garden and how to work with an array of cultivated medicinal herbs.
We'll cover those herbs that have a long history of use in Ayurvedic and European medicine, as well as those that grow wild but can also be tended in containers and beds.
An expert gardener will be your guide and I'll be providing lots of tips and tricks along the way from my own experience.
Explore your connection to place through your feet. There is no better way to awaken the senses and get to know all those tiny plants that reside on the forest floor. A tutorial on barefoot walking will be provided by barefoot hiking expert, Ken Posner. There will also be countless opportunities to practice during our time together.
Meeting new plants often requires time in the field. There may be times in which these plant journeys will be solo. It is important to know how to safely hike into the backcountry, even if just for the day.
The School of Plant and Place Connection will provide you with the knowledge you need to plan a solo day-hike.
As part of our immersion, we'll take many a walk together to meet and harvest the plants. So, by the end of the program, spending time quietly in nature, alone or with others, will be second nature.
Learn how to create your own botanical journal, documenting the plants that you meet and your experiences with them.
Botanical journaling is an excellent way to commit fine botanical detail to memory, explore your deeper experience with the land through written word and sketch, and becomes a personal reference guide you can return to again and again.
Included in the program is your very own blank journal. At the conclusion of the program, your journal is sure to be overflowing with botanical and place-based wonder.
Explore and deepen your connection to the natural world through nature-based literature.
A suggested reading list will be provided. These readings are optional but will deeply enhance your experience in the natural world, inspire further exploration, and are the foundation for the School of Plant and Place Connection's philosophy.
Throughout the program, you'll be provided with countless resources to assist you in your journey moving forward.
12 IN-PERSON CLASSES and 8 ZOOM SESSIONS:
IN-PERSON, FRIDAY/SATURDAY (10 classes, all meet 10:00am to 5:00pm)
5/3 and 5/4, 5/31 and 6/1, 7/5 and 7/6, 8/2 and 8/3, 8/30 and 8/31
OPTIONAL BONUS IN-PERSON, SATURDAY (2 seasonal walks, 1:00 - 4:00)
ZOOM, THURSDAY EVENINGS (8 sessions, 7:00 - 8:30 pm)
5/16, 5/23, 6/13, 6/20, 7/18, 7/25, 8/15, 8/22
*SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE UNTIL 1/1/2024
**A DETAILED CURRICULUM WILL AVAILABLE IN JANUARY 2024. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN REGISTERING FOR THE IMMERSION AND WOULD LIKE A PDF COPY, PLEASE REACH OUT VIA CONTACT.
PLEASE READ IN FULL:
Cost for the Plant and Place Immersion is sliding scale. Please pay what you feel is appropriate given your income and financial obligations.
OPTION ONE: $1,500.00 – 1,800.00 PAID IN FULL.
OPTION TWO: $1,600.00 – 1,800.00 PAID IN TWO INSTALLMENTS.
Given the sliding scale, I request a total amount decided in advance and a written agreement. Those choosing to pay in installments may then provide half that amount upon registration and the other half by June 1st, 2024.
HOW TO REGISTER AND MAKE PAYMENT: In the effort to keep pricing as low as possible and avoid third-party transaction fees, payment may be made via check or cash. A receipt will be provided. To begin registration, please reach out via email by clicking "REGISTER" in the sidebar. You will be directed to the website contact page. You may also reach out via phone at (973)919-4953. This also gives you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the Immersion.
REFUND POLICY: Should you desire to cancel your purchase and not attend the Immersion, the School of Plant and Place Connection will refund your payment up to fourteen days from date of purchase. We ask that you understand that we are a small business. After this time, refunds will not be provided should the participant not be able to attend for any reason.
*Included in your purchase of the Plant and Place Immersion is Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, Peterson’s Guide to Trees and Shrubs, loupe magnifier, journal, and tote.
*Any required tools or materials used during IN-PERSON sessions will be provided. Participants should expect to purchase additional medicine making supplies (i.e., alcohol, mason jars, amber medicine bottles, cheesecloth, etc.), foraging tools (digging knife, clippers, gloves, etc.) to practice at home what they are learning during the program. Participants may choose to purchase books for further study (additional books will not be required). APPROXIMATE COST for further supplies: $50 - 100 to fulfill required homework assignments. Expensive tools are not required in herbal medicine, but like any field of study, can certainly be purchased if one so desires!
*Most of our time together will take place outdoors. Classes will commence rain or shine. Participants are expected to dress/prepare appropriately. Participants should be physically able to walk 1-3 miles over uneven terrain and be comfortable in changing weather conditions. Carpooling to and from some locations where we'll be exploring the plants may sometimes be requested.
REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTIFICATE:
To be awarded a certificate upon completion of the program, participants may miss NO MORE THAN 2 required in-person sessions. Attendance at BOTH optional walks can make up for 1 in-person session. Those participants who do not attend the required number of in-person sessions will not qualify for the certificate. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend zoom sessions in real time. However, zoom sessions will also be recorded for later viewing. If participants cannot attend zoom sessions during the scheduled time, they are expected to watch these recordings by the next scheduled in-person or zoom session to fulfill the requirements to receive a certificate. Participants are expected to engage with homework assignments and will be taken on their honor to do so. The requirements for the certificate are not to make you feel as if you are being graded, but rather to support your attendance and participation in the program. Maintaining a certain level of requirements also ensures that dedicated participation is truly recognized.