Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Western U.S. – A Bioregional Exploration
8-Week Online Study Program (20 hours)
From the shortgrass prairie at the base of the Rocky Mountain Front Range to the rich temperate rainforests which hug the Pacific Coast…and from the sweltering Southwest deserts along the Mexican border to the frigid alpine tundra which dominates the montane zone along the Canadian border…the Western U.S. is home to QUITE an array of unique edible & medicinal plants. Join us on an exciting 8 week virtual exploration of the seven major bioregions which span our 12 western states (WA, OR, CA, AZ, NM, TX, NV, UT, CO, WY, UT, MT): Sonoran/Mojave/Chihuahuan/Great Basin Deserts, Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, and the California Floristic Province. Each week will be dedicated to coverage of one of these zones while focusing on a number of its trademark species. Each session will also highlight a specific (and relevant) plant family in addition to a regional subtopic (e.g. edible seaweeds, edible mushrooms, herbal medicine making, etc). Topics to be covered during course include: field botany/plant I.D, plant family characteristics, legal-ethical harvesting/processing/preparation methods, edible/medicinal/utilitarian uses, regional ethnobotany, plant toxicology (plus tips on how to avoid poisonous look-alike species), natural history, plant conservation and at-risk species, and more!
Students will be given weekly reading assignments along with training in the utilization of numerous online/in-print resources…all aimed at helping to pave the way for future self directed studies/research. And while we WILL be focusing on species unique to each area (e.g. the saguaro cactus endemic to the Sonoran Desert) great care has ALSO been taken to include a number of more generalistic species found across all 12 western states (e.g. wild cherry). Therefore a plant enthusiast from Seattle will be able to get just as much out of this program as a plant lover based in Phoenix. Intrigued? Then why not hop on board for one helluva herbal adventure? This comprehensive foundational program should prove to be insightful and rewarding for anyone interested in learning more about the diverse flora of our wild American West!
Sessions will be recorded and will include Q&A at predetermined intervals. Participants will have access to all session recordings for the duration of the program.
Date/Time: July 14 – August 25
Live sessions take place once a week on Wednesday night from 6:00pm-8:30pm (PST). For more details see the full course syllabus below.
Location: Online class
Instructor: Tellur Fenner of the Blue Wind School of Botanical Studies
IMPORTANT NOTE: Detailed class info will be emailed out to the registered/paid participants on July 5. This message will be sent to the email associated with your PayPal transaction (and for some people this may not be their primary email). This message will include info to help prep students for how to effectively navigate the Zoom video platform ahead of the program start date.
Refund Policy: After registration/payment no refunds will be issued for this online course.
Make sure to check out the FAQ section at the bottom of this course description.
Session 1 (July 14): Foundational Introduction
-Intro to the bioregions of the Western U.S.
-Intro to botanical terminology/taxonomy (plant ID strategies)
-Online & in-print resources
Session 2 (July 21): Sonoran Desert
-Cactaceae (cactus family)
-Madrean Sky Islands
Session 3 (July 28): Mojave Desert
-Fabaceae (pea family)
-Gourmet wild fruits of the Southwest
Session 4 (August 4): Chihuahuan Desert
-Asparagaceae (asparagus family- including agaves/yuccas)
-Herbal medicine making basics
Session 5 (August 11): Great Basin Desert
-Pinaceae (pine family)
-Piñon pines of the Southwest (plus tips on pine “nut” harvesting/processing)
Session 6 (August 18): California Floristic Province
-Lamiaceae (mint family)
-Oaks of CA (plus tips on acorn harvesting/processing)
Session 7 (August 25): Pacific Northwest
-Ericaceae (heath family)
-Gourmet edible seaweeds (marine algae) of the Pacific Coast
Session 8 (September 1): Rocky Mountains
-Asteraceae (sunflower family)
-Gourmet edible mushrooms of the monsoon season
Recommended (but not required) reading: “Botany in a Day” 6th Edition by Elpel, “Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West” 2nd Edition by Moore, and “Nature’s Garden” by Thayer.
All official Blue Wind business communication is conducted via email. Facebook messages and/or phone calls will not be returned. If you have a question about an upcoming class please send a detailed email to the following address:
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
-So I paid the class fee via PayPal…am I now officially registered and on the roster? Yes, your spot in class is now secure. PayPal will not accept online payments when a class is already sold out. Your payment confirmation/receipt has been sent to the email address associated with your account.
-Is this course suitable for kids? Nope. My 20-hour adult-level online classes are in no way suitable for youth under 18. Trust me: they would be bored to tears.
-I see that hundreds/thousands of people have clicked on “interested and/or going” for this event…what are your class size limits? Don’t take Facebook numbers too seriously folks…I cap these types of online classes at around 35 students :) That said, it IS true that my classes tend to fill to capacity months ahead of time…so procrastination is not recommended if you are hoping to secure a spot.
-When should I expect to receive more course details after registering? As is CLEARLY stated in the above description: “Detailed class info will be emailed out to the registered/paid participants on July 5. This message will be sent to the email associated with your PayPal transaction (and for some people this may not be their primary email).”
-I won’t be able to make all the sessions…can I still register? While students are highly encouraged to attend all 8 sessions they WILL be recorded and will therefore be available to students for viewing. In the event of a missed class each student will be responsible for making up the work PRIOR the start of the next session.
-I’ve never used Zoom before and am not very tech savvy…can I still register? Yes. All students will receive an email containing info to help prep them for how to effectively navigate the Zoom video platform ahead of the program start date. Zoom is very user friendly and doesn’t take long to learn (especially with a little guidance).
-I’m only interested in attending one or two of the sessions…is that possible? Nope. This is a cumulative program which layers on more advanced teachings with each new lesson. Therefore, stand-alone attendance for individual sessions is not possible.
-I’m a total beginner…will this program be too advanced for me? This 8 week program is meticulously designed for both beginner/intermediate students alike. The first sessions cover the basics with each new session building on the last. So as long as you attend all the sessions, pay attention/stay engaged, and keep up with the work you should be just fine :)