Plants and People: Ethnobotany offerings in 2016

Special event, a benefit for Botanical Dimensions & Green Earth Foundation~
The Renewal of Nature Awareness & Psychedelics, an onstage conversation between old friends Ralph Metzner and Kathleen Harrison.

On Friday evening, June 17, from 7-9pm. At the Occidental Center for the Arts, in West Sonoma County. Please support our projects and join us for this excellent conversation. Buy tickets here:

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Join ethnobotanist Kathleen Harrison as she shares her decades of wide-ranging experience. Gather for classes at BD’s new Ethnobotany Library in Occidental, north of San Francisco, in beautiful West Sonoma County. More classes to be offered in the Autumn of 2016.

SAVE THE DATE! We are sponsoring the first Ethnobotany Festival on September 24, 2016, at the Occidental Center for the Arts. A unique event, we will need volunteer help for this wonderful, educational, community event. Read more here…


Food Plants & Spices: Their Stories in Our Story New class offering! A weekend workshop on the ethnobotany, botany and history of what we love to eat. Revelations to deepen the experience of each meal you’ll ever eat. Know the story of what you grow in your kitchen garden. Sat.-Sun. June 4-5. Learn more & register here:

Botanical Illustration: Learning to really see & draw plants — A one-day workshop for all levels, with Kat & guest teacher Paetra Tauchert, Sat. July 2 —both illustrators of nature. We help you learn to truly see a plant’s form, and from there how to portray it realistically. A great meditation on form and beauty. (You may fall in love with your plant.) Materials provided. There is still room in the class, as of May 10. Learn more & register here:

Current: Global Ethnobotany with a Local Focus –  A popular 4-month series, one Saturday per month. A survey of the breadth and depth of cultural relationships between plants, fungi and humans—from ancestral folk knowledge to 21st century practices. Group study, discussion, excellent participants. Slideshows, stories, books, walks in local nature to learn local plant uses. Begins April 9.  Learn more & register here: NOTE: This class has begun. There may be a new offering of this series in the autumn of 2016.

NOW FULL: Big Botanical Beings in Modern Culture: A speculative workshop on the roles of Magic Mushrooms, Peyote & AyahuascaA one-day talk & discussion on this timely, deep and perplexing subject. Kat’s expertise is based on decades of fieldwork in various cultures. Sat. May 7. Learn more & register here:

The next session of Big Botanical Beings workshop will be offered Sat. Sept. 10. It will cover the same species, with inevitably a different but equally rich discussion. Sign up on BD’s email list to be alerted when tickets go on sale, or check back here soon.

Botanical Dimensions’ Origin & Mission

Botanical Dimensions has been doing good work with plants and people for over thirty years. Founded in 1985 by Kathleen Harrison and Terence McKenna, this non-profit organization is dedicated to ethnobotanical knowledge in its myriad forms.

Our original mission was “to collect, protect, propagate and understand plants of ethno-medical significance and their lore.” We do all that and more. We work to preserve biodiversity, respecting natural ecosystems and traditions of ecological knowledge. We appreciate, study, and educate others about plants and mushrooms that are felt to be significant to cultural integrity and spiritual well-being. We share what we learn.

Newest project – Our new Ethnobotany Library is open!

Our purpose and passion are rooted in the folk-knowledge and uses—both traditional and contemporary—of the flora and fungi of our little planet. Ethnobotany—the relationship between plants and people—is the primary lens we look through in choosing our projects. Ethnobotany is a vast, branching area of study, filled with marvels, challenges and solutions.

The themes of our projects illustrate some of the branches of ethnobotany and ethnomycology. In 2016, we are thrilled to announce the opening of our Ethnobotany Library. Please lend your support to this unique, non-profit offering. See the blog post about it for details. We also engage in these kinds of activities:

  • Fieldwork in various cultures, particularly among indigenous peoples of the Americas
  • Document folk uses of plants and fungi, with photography, audio and video recordings, participatory observation, and ethnographic writing
  • Assist cultural revitalization projects involving plants, fungi and knowledge of nature
  • Support local experts in preserving botanical species and herbarium collections
  • Make the ethnobotanical perspective and its cultural techniques available to a wider appreciation, through teaching and sharing information and images
  • Sponsor field courses that foster global ethnobotanical awareness, with specific, hands-on, cultural experiences
  • Educate and empower students to recognize, observe and document plant uses
  • Protect or restore native species in disrupted natural habitats
  • Consider the ecological history of a given place, and how that affects the perception and stewardship of nature by humans

To read about current and ongoing projects click here.