Plants and People: Ethnobotany offerings in 2016

SAVE THE DATE! We are sponsoring the first Ethnobotany Festival on September 24, 2016, at the Occidental Center for the Arts. Read more here…

NEW CLASSES in 2016: 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 later in the year.

* Food Plants & Spices: Their Stories in Our Story New class offering! A weekend workshop on the botany and history of what we love to eat. Revelations to deepen the experience of each meal. 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. Materials provided. There is still room as of May 1. Learn more & register here:

* 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.

* 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:

NOTE: This class session is full. Another 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.

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.