Have you heard the Barbra Streisand song, People?
Here's a few lyrics for you:
People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world."
While the rest of the lyrics can feel like a bit of an overly sentimental stretch, I can't stop pondering these first few lines. It plays over and over in my head. We all need people, right? And we can feel like the luckiest people in the world when we are surrounded and supported by great people, right?
While I originally thought my mission was to (re)connect people with nature, the more years I spend teaching, the more I realize that people are seeking and needing connection with other people often equally as much. That's not just true for my students, but myself, too. It gets lonely working and teaching alone so much. I have so many talented friends, I figured why not collaborate?! That way I can share their gifts with my students, as well as my own gifts.
I've had a dream for years now about partnering up with some of the best teachers I know. They teach amazing material, offering you, my students, a wider breadth of knowledge. The general idea is to create a whole weekend to immerse yourself in nature, to disconnect in order to reconnect, with nature, each other, to refill and rejuvenate. Called Retreat & Reconnect, I'll be offering a series of retreats where you get to spend two days walking the forest, learning basic botany, including identification of wild edible and medicinal plants, trees, and mushrooms; along with wild food cooking, herbal medicine making, and other awesome skills taught by someone amazing.
The first retreat is the last weekend of September and will be Retreat & Reconnect: Wild Color. Along with wild edibles (for a fabulous Saturday dinner that we'll create together) and medicinals (for making our own tea blends), we'll be harvesting wild plants and mushrooms to make natural dyes. Then, with instruction from my fabulous friend, Kelly Gaskill, we'll dye silk scarves and yarn samples to show a wide diversity of colors you can make from natural materials. And that's just the first of many retreats to come, including subjects like clinical herbalism, wild foods cooking, permaculture, and primitive skills.
We rarely take time to address our deepest needs, to retreat from the day to day stresses and noise and let ourselves relax and hear what our bodies, brains, and spirits are trying to tell us. A little bit of nature can go a long way.
Register now (to ensure there's enough materials and food for you) and join us!
Stay tuned for more upcoming retreats and let me know what you'd like to learn. Also, check out some more exciting collaborations, like Trees: The Treasure in the Forest, a day long edible, medcinal, and permaculture workshop with my friend and amazing teacher, Doug Crouch, of Treasure Lake (in KY), and my upcoming Appalachian Wild Edible & Herbal Plant Walk in cooperation with my friends at Thrifty Adventures (in NC). Hope to see you here or there, in the forest and beyond!
Founder of the WANDER (Wild Artemisia Nature Discovery, Empowerment, and Reconnection) School, Botanist, Herbalist, & Professional Forager, Abby Artemisia, lives in rural Appalachian North Carolina. She learned about plants playing in the Midwestern woods of Ohio, working on organic farms, an herbal apprenticeship, a bachelor's degree in Botany from Miami University, and running her own tea business. She teaches about plant identification, native plants, and working with plants for food and medicine throughout the country. Her mission is offering nature and herbal education to create healing through connection with the natural world and each other. She is the author of The Forager's Wild Edible and Herbal Plant Cards and The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders. She is the host of the podcast Wander, Forage, and Wildcract, founder of The WANDER School, and co-founder of The Sassafras School of Appalachian Plantcraft.