As the rains begin to recede and the days lengthen, we are reminded that spring has arrived. All around, lush carpets of green span the horizon as many plants begin their annual ascent towards the sun. Join us as we explore the diverse array of edible/medicinal plants at their prime during springtime on the Central CA coast. Roots, barks, and the succulent edible “greens” of the season will be the primary focus of our study. This interdisciplinary program will engage students on all levels through a combination of classroom lecture, field exploration and a variety of hands-on exercises. Topics/activities to be covered include: botany basics taught from a plant family perspective (including microscope sessions), plant identification in the field, medicinal/edible/utilitarian uses, California ethnobotany, ethical harvesting guidelines and information about at-risk medicinal plants, safety issues and tips on how to avoid toxic/poisonous plants, medicine making techniques and activities, sampling of a variety of edible/medicinal plant preparations, and more!
Session I (Sat. March 8): Botany Skills for the Edible/Medicinal Plant Enthusiast
-During this interactive lecture/slideshow/workshop we will explore the art & science of botany while learning the fundamental methods necessary to accurately and confidently ID a variety of local plants.
Session II (Sun. March 9): Bay Area Bioregional Field Exploration
-In order to put theory into practice, we'll spend the day hiking through a number of different local plant communities while identifying and discussing many of the useful plants found along the way. Our study will emphasize a dynamic sensory awareness of the plants via close observation, touching, tasting, and smelling.
Session III (Sat. March 15): Harvesting Techniques and Botanical Pharmacy Methods
-Our final day will be spent learning the principles of plant harvesting, processing, and botanical pharmacy work. After a short lecture/slideshow, students will help prepare a number of different herbal products using native plants found growing in the central coast region of California.