Plants and People: Our Ethnobotany Offerings in 2016


ancient-forest-300mya-spore plants_PangeaSAVE THE DATE! We are sponsoring the first annual ETHNOBOTANY FESTIVAL & Symposium, on Saturday, September 24, 2016, at the Occidental Center for the Arts. Plan to attend this unique event that will include exhibits, demonstrations, hands-on activities for kids and adults, talks, slideshows, tastes, smells, and lots to learn about how people love and use plants—with local and global perspectives. Save the date now! Ticket sales and more information will be coming by June 21. We will need volunteer help for this wonderful, educational, community event. Read more here…

Classes & workshops are held at BD’s new Ethnobotany Library. Join ethnobotanist Kathleen Harrison as she shares her decades of wide-ranging experience. We meet at the Library, in the village of Occidental, north of San Francisco, in beautiful West Sonoma County. More classes will be offered in the Autumn of 2016.

THESE CLASSES & WORKSHOPS ARE  BEING OFFERED IN JUNE & JULY, 2016!

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. Learn more & register here: http://bit.ly/1SMjvd5 NOTE: This class is full as of June 16, thank you.

This June 4th-5th workshop went so well, we’ll do it again soon:  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. Learn more about the content here, and plan for the next one:  http://bit.ly/1o7ENo1  Sign up on our mailing list to hear when this will be offered again.

Current series, April-July, 2016: 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 here: http://bit.ly/1L3JyUT NOTE: This class has begun. There will be a new offering of this series in the spring of 2017.

Coming on Sat., Sept. 10: 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. Tickets go on sale through Brown Paper Tickets by June 21.

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.

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 big 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.

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