Plants and People: Our Ethnobotany Offerings

What a wonderful event we had! A thousand thanks to all who helped and attended to soak up knowledge and techniques of global and local ethnobotany. Wonderful presenters, generous exhibitors, and good-natured attendees enjoyed a long day of learning and hands-on experience. Thanks so much to the generous donors, presenters and volunteers who helped make this inspired idea a reality!
Manzanita berries_EB Fest 2016

The first Ethnobotany Festival & Symposium

On September 24, 2016, 400 people attended this unique, all-day event that included exhibits, demonstrations, exceptional talks and educational slideshows. There were hands-on activities for kids and adults,  tastes, smells, and lots to learn about how people love and use plants—from both local and global perspectives.  This festival was an educational, community-building event. We were delighted to have some great presenters and teachers. Read more here…

Throughout the year, classes & workshops are held at BD’s new Ethnobotany Library. Join ethnobotanist Kathleen Harrison as she shares her decades of wide-ranging experience. Sometimes we host guest teachers too. We meet at the Library, in the village of Occidental, north of San Francisco, in beautiful West Sonoma County.

We offered these events in 2016 & will again in 2017~

Big Botanical Beings in Modern Culture: A speculative workshop on the roles of Magic Mushrooms, Peyote & Ayahuasca

One full day of rich presentation & discussion on this timely, deep and perplexing subject. Kat’s expertise is based on decades of fieldwork in various cultures. If these plants and mushrooms are characters in the Great Story, along with humans, what role do they each play? Whenever we offer this exploratory topic, it generates so much food for thought! 2017 dates to be announced soon.

 Sweeping the Mountain of Nerves: Traditional Techniques for Finding & Keeping Balance 

A rare experiential class in methods of grounding, cleansing, protecting & renewing oneself & others. Kathleen Harrison shares what she has learned in years of fieldwork among indigenous cultures and life itself. To be offered in late spring, 2017. Stay tuned for details.

Botanical Illustration: Learning to really see & draw plants — 

A special guest teacher will offer this in May, 2017. We help you learn to truly see a plant’s form, and from there we guide you in how to portray it realistically. A great meditation on form and beauty. (Beware: You may fall in love with your plant.) All materials provided.

~~~~~ Plan to join a class in 2017 ~~~~~

This 2016 workshop went so well, we’ll do it again in the spring of 2017:  Ethnobotany of Food Plants & Spices: Their Stories in Our Story  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. Lots of anecdotes from the long story of spices to tales of Amazonian cuisine. Know the story of what you grow in your kitchen garden. Two days with a small group of interested folks.  Sign up on our mailing list to hear when this will be offered again. 

To be offered again in 2017:

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. 2017 dates: March 4, April 1, May 6 & June 3. Tickets at: http://globalethnobotany.brownpapertickets.com

Sign up on BD’s email list to be alerted about coming events, and when tickets go on sale. Or check back here soon, or on our Facebook page.

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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.

Our Ethnobotany Library welcomes you

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.

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