Tag Archives: Ethnobotany

2016 SHA Module, Session 14: Field Study: Sonoran Coastal Thornscrub & Wild Food and Medicine of the Seri (Mexico)

Tiburon islandOctober 21-25, 2016

Estero Santa Rosa, Sonora, Mexico

Trip Fee: $450  (includes instruction, translation, and handout materials)

Instructor: John Slattery

This module features 4 nights camping on the beach at the Sea of Cortéz in Sonora, Mexico

As the nights grow longer and the days cooler the varied habitat at the edge of the Sea of Cortéz in northern Sonora is very pleasant. Just north of the small fishing village of Bahia de Kino (and the retirement/vacation community, Kino Nuevo) is the beautiful natural area known as Estero Santa Rosa (Santa Rosa Estuary). We’ll make our camp at the edge of the beach amongst coastal thornscrub vegetation adjacent to mangrove estuarine environment. Directly to the west of our camp sits the tall peaks of Isla Tiburón (“Shark Island”), the largest island in Mexico and the cherished homeland of the Seri, or Comcáac, people. Before us is a small bay with calm waters, and behind us to the east is the rugged terrain of the Sierra Seri where the desert bighorn sheep still roam.

DSC_0109

We will be exploring the uniquely beautiful vegetation of this area during our 5 days of beach camping. Our studies will be within the context of a bioregional approach to herbalism including explorations into foraging for wild plant foods in the area. This being the homeland of the Seri, we will be discussing many of their traditional uses and applications of these plants. During at least 1 or 2 days of this trip we will be visited by a local family of herbalists who I’ve been working with for several years now. They have offered to share with us how they use these plants for healing. They also employ a variety of marine algae, crustaceans, and other creatures from the sea for medicine (as well as food, abundantly).

Although this is some of the driest desert (in terms of annual rainfall) in North America the moisture brought in from the sea this time of year can keep vegetation verdant and flowering despite long-term drought. Various cacti, desert shrubs, plants of the mangrove, salty beach plants, and annual flowering plants comprise our list of plants to study including, sahueso, pitaya, desert lavender, brittlebush, red mangrove, cosahui, uvaibena, ironwood, desert hibiscus, ocotillo, coastal sand verbena, elephant tree, torote, palo blanco, malva de los cerros, balloonvine, puncture vine, pitaya ágria, and so much more!

Maria Luisa with desert lavender

Each day will be comprised of walkabouts through the desert, in arroyos, along the coastline, and along the margins of the estuary. Here we will stop frequently to look at plants, identify them, discuss their virtues, and, on occasion, gather some for medicine making or, when available, as food. We will be visited at our camp by the local Seri herbalists (Molino Martinez family) and they’ll be taking us on walks as well.

Any supplies needed for medicine making, camping, or in general will be listed in the information sent once registration is complete.  All participants need a passport, or passport card. We will be bringing all our supplies for the 4 days with us to camp. The nearest town is about 30 minutes away.

Transportation: Transportation is each participant’s responsibility. Ridesharing can be organized upon registration. There are no permits required for where we are going (high tourism corridor), but Mexican law calls for purchasing auto insurance for Mexico. There are simple online services to purchase Mexico auto insurance; details will be given upon registration.

Questions, email: john@johnjslattery.com

$65 Discount if you register by August 21, 2016  Use Coupon code: ESTERO

 

Price: $450.00

2016 SHA Module, Session 11: Field Study – Chiricahuas

ChiricahuasSeptember 6-11    *5 nights camping

Trip Fee: $575  (includes 6 days of instruction and handout materials)

Instructor: John Slattery

This module features 5 nights camping in the wild and rugged Chiricahua mountain range of the Desert Archipelago. Here Sierra Madre Occidental meets the Rocky Mountains – each at their extreme edges.

Our days will be spent in contemplation with the plants, exploring, discussing what we find, gathering plants for food and medicine (maybe some mushrooms, too), processing and preparing medicine in the field, and exercising our full faculties to gain knowledge from the place which we inhabit. This is the longest module of the 2016 SHA Program, allowing participants to sink deeply into place and plants creating strong relationship bonds. These bonds deeply inform the medicine we know and receive from plants. This is the hidden gem within Bioregional Herbalism. It must be experienced to begin to understand its power and relevance.

No other Sky Island in the US is quite like the Chiricahuas. Whether for unique geology, convergence of ecotones, diversity of plants, animals, and insects, or unique cultural heritage and energetic resonance. Here we will encounter such important medicines as lobelia, Sonoran grape root (relative of Oregon grape), red root (3 species), self-heal, poke, vervain (3 species) and chaparral; and such unique or unheralded plants such as bidens, silk tassel, Wright’s eryngo, lead plant, indigobush, mariola, wild oregano, pony’s foot, Arizona cypress, beebush, and many, many more.

Camping will be in primitive camp sites with outhouses and picnic tables. Good drinking water is available at one spring, and drinking water can be filtered from a nearby stream. Transportation is each participants’ responsibility, but carpooling may be arranged upon registration; 4wd or high clearance is not necessary, but may be helpful. All camping equipment is each participant’s responsibility, but limited number of items (tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats) are available for a $4 rental fee per item. Each participant will be responsible for their own meals on the trip.

Questions, email: john@johnjslattery.com

Registration for this Session is now closed

 

2016 SHA Module, Session 6: Field Study: Happy Valley

spud rockMay 12-15   *3 nights camping

Trip Fee: $450  (includes 3 nights camping, 4 days instruction, and handout materials)

Instructor: John Slattery

This module features 3 nights camping at the foot of the Rincon Mountains in the San Pedro watershed. Here the Chihuahuan desert meets the Sonoran desert meets Chaparral plant communities, meets Sierra Madrean Occidental, meets Rocky Mountain flora – all within several miles walking distance. The Sky Islands boast the greatest diversity of mammals in North America, and the plant diversity is equally impressive.

As we near the end of spring and the beginning of the dry summer season, the mid-elevation canyons present some of the most abundant and lush vegetation available to us in southeast Arizona. We will visit a variety of canyons and riparian watersheds from our oak woodland campsite. Some of the plants we can hope to see include: yerba mansa, cottonwood, Emory oak, Mexican blue oak, turpentine bush, agave, sotol, silk tassel, manzanita, penstemon, bricklebush, elder, black walnut, ash, wild grape, wolfberry, Sonoran giant hyssop, Texas betony, yerba santa, watercress, and more.

This session will reinforce previous lessons of Plant Energetics, Field Botany, and Habitat Observation as the full-time students continue to practice their skills in these areas. Drop-in enrollment participants will be included in all exercises and lessons throughout this module.

Camping is primitive with no restroom facilities or running water (with the exception of nearby seasonal creeks). We will need to bring in all of our water and food. However, there is plenty of wood for camp fires.

Questions, email: john@sonoranherbalist.com

$75 Discount if you register by March 15, 2016  Use Coupon code: HAPPY

Register here:  

Price: $450.00

2016 SHA Module, Session 5: Field Study – Molino Basin

Glandularia gooddingiiApril 14-17   *3 nights camping

Trip Fee: $476  (includes 3 nights camping, 4 days instruction, and handout materials)

Instructor: John Slattery

*Enroll in Segments*

This module features 3 nights camping in the Santa Catalinas, which boasts the greatest diversity of flora of all the Sky Islands, or Desert Archipelagos. From our oak grove base camp in Molino Basin we will visit a variety of plants growing in diverse habitats such as Mexican palo verde, oreganillo, ocotillo, silk tassel, Arizona cypress, hop tree, douglas fir, valerian, aspen, and beargrass.

Becoming a bioregional herbalist means learning to identify the plants in your region. Yes, having a skilled teacher along with you to show you the way is the preferred method for most, if not all. And although this Program offers just that, it is important to remember that everyone will continue to meet new plants as they continue to grow and expand their knowledge. Thus, this module has a focus on learning the skills of field botany and how to begin to glean knowledge from plants you don’t know and haven’t even met before. Although these skills are woven throughout the entire SHA Program, this module takes a depth look at the process of “keying out” plants in the field, or using a botanical key to identify the plants we meet even if we have no idea what they are to begin with. This detailed process takes practice, and practice we will throughout this session. In addition to becoming more familiar with the keying out process, we will review several resources for keying out plants from our region – from the basic to the most sophisticated (or, complicated, for that matter). Additionally, we will build upon our field discoveries overlaying the principles and methods of individual research which can lead to enlightening discoveries of how our local plants can be utilized for food and medicine. Our explorations will include engaging in the process of developing relationship with plants, exploring plant energetics, discussing possible resources for research on plants, and sharing our discoveries and processes as a group.

Questions, email: john@sonoranherbalist.com

$77 Discount if you register by February 15, 2016  Use Coupon code: MOLINO

Register here: 

Price: $475.00

 

2016 SHA Module, Session 2: Field Study – Catalina State Park

IMG_0660March 17-20     *3 nights camping

Regular Trip Fee: $476

20% Discount through midnight (MST) Saturday, March 12: $380.80

 Use Coupon code: CATALINA1

 Instructor: John Slattery

Module 2 of the 2016 Sonoran Herbalist Apprenticeship (SHA) Program is available for enrollment. Our first overnight field study of the year is in glorious Catalina State Park at the foot of Mt Lemmon at over 9,100 feet elevation. Here, Sonoran Upland Division desert is marked by palo verde and saguaro cactus amidst bouldered hillsides and small mesas where ancient indigenous settlements overlooked desert riparian drainages coming down from the high elevation. Oak and juniper descend the canyon, while desert lavender and limberbush inhabit the hot rocky hillsides above.

Arriving at the height of spring floral abundance, our 3 nights and 4 days will be spent exploring various parts of this vast state park and adjacent forest service land. Several dozen plants will be viewed, discussed, and tasted as medicine. Several basic medicine making techniques will be demonstrated and explored in detail (including hot and cold infusions, decoctions, poultices, steam inhalations, and fomentations).

34 Training Hours

Register:  

Price: $476.00

Refund Policy: 100% Refund within 7 days of purchase. Zero Refund given if cancelled within 30 days of the class start (even if within 7 days of purchase).

There is no credit given for missed classes.

Cerro de Aconchi

Sonoran River Valley Ethnobotany

October 27-29     *2 nights camping

Trip Fee: $350

*Use Promotion Code DAMIANA to register for $300 by Winter Solstice December 22, 2015

Instructor: John Slattery

This field study trip follows our Sonoran Coastal Thornscrub & Wild Food and Medicine of the Seri (Mexico) up through the picturesque Sonoran River valley. The Río Sonora is believed to have once been inhabited by the Ópata people. Here, their mestizo descendants continue the traditions of farming and gathering wild plant foods such as bellotas, chiltepines, and agave, or mescál, for the distillation of bacanora. The beauty and tranquility of the Sonoran river valley touches the heart of many who pass through it. 

Our home for these 2 nights will be an encampment at the aguas termales, or hot springs, beneath El Cerro de Aconchi, a Sky Island ringed by organ pipe cactus, tree ocotillo, and riparian mesquite forests. We will have access to numerous bathing tubs, outhouses, tables, and the nearest town, Aconchi, is a 20 minute drive.  

Our days will be spent hiking and exploring the valley and talking with local people about their relationship with wild plants, whenever possible. We will visit and discuss the medicine of damiana, tree ocotillo, elephant tree, organ pipe cactus, pochote, cacahuiste, chicura, and many other curious plants of the Sonoran river valley. There will be a guided tincture making class in the field or at our campsite. And for a very special treat we will clamor up into the hills in search of the ripened wild chiltepines (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum). Following, we’ll have a go at creating a variety of traditional chiltepín preparations with what we’ve gathered – pickled unripe fruits, chiltepín-quince salsa, chiltepín-garlic salsa, and more!

DSC_0788For those not present on the Sonoran Coastal Thornscrub field study (10/19-23), we will be meeting on highway 15 just north of Hermosillo before caravanning as a complete group up highway 14 along the Río Sonora. Complete directions will be given upon registration.

Trip Participation Requirements:

  • Complete Registration
  • Valid Passport
  • Reliable transportation -or- Rideshare within our group
  • Basic Camping Equipment

More specific trip details will be sent upon registration.

Register: 

Price: $350.00

Field Study: La Sierra Blanca, Autumn (Roots & Seeds)

DSC_0353Saturday, October 4

8:30a-5p

Class Fee: $98

Field Study: La Sierra Blanca, Autumn (Roots & Seeds)

Discussion, Application, Gathering and Processing of Wild Herbal Medicines & Foods of the White Mountains of Arizona

with herbalist & forager John Slattery

This full day of field study with herbalist and forager, John Slattery, is a unique opportunity to experience hands-on learning with the plants and a group of interested and committed students. John has been developing relationship with the plants of this area for the past 11 years. We will be viewing and discussing several different plants, in depth, throughout the day with opportunities to gather some plants for food or medicine. Within the context of autumn, this class focuses on a variety of wild root and seed medicines and foods. Some field medicine making and food prep instructions will be provided, but, likely, limited processing will be performed during our class time together due to limited time.

Each participant should bring a packed lunch, 2-4L of drinking water (including something to conveniently carry it on short walks), comfortable footwear for walking, a daypack/bag, rain gear, suitable sun protection, notebook, pen, and camera (optional). Optional camp-out with our core group nearby to Alpine, AZ on Saturday night.

Carpooling may be available upon arrival at our meet-up location in Alpine, AZ on Saturday morning.

To register:

Price: $98.00

 

Herbal Traditions of Mexico: Herbal Medicine of the Seri

Herbal Traditions of Mexico

Herbal Medicine of the Seri

DSC_0599Coastal Thornscrub region at the Sea of Cortéz

Punta Chueca, Sonora, Mexico

October 21-24, 2015

Workshop fee – $395

The Sea of Cortéz and Tiburón Island is our back drop for this 3 days of immersion in the healing plants of the Sonoran desert. Our Seri hosts will share with us their knowledge of healing with the local wild plants passed down over generations. The utilization of plants as medicine takes on many forms and presentations amongst the indigenous peoples all over the world. The Seri, or Comcáac, share similar beliefs in that their relationship to the land in which they live holds a great variety of powerful medicines suitable for any and all ills which befall the people. They are excited to share their knowledge with all who come.

This trip will include walks through the desert identifying and discussing the medicinal plants we encounter. Daily classes at our camp will include discussion of their favorite medicinal plants with samples to view and taste, and medicine making presentations on a variety of possible subjects (medicinal soap, salves, teas, eye drops, etc.). Sonoran herbalist, John Slattery, has been working with the Molino Martinez family since 2010 leading excursions in his Herbal Traditions of Mexico Program, and providing support to help them continue their way of life. John provides all translation from Spanish to English and helps put it all into context for the trip participants.    

The trip includes 10 meals provided by our endearing hosts, and 3 nights camping as guests of our hosts in a picturesque estuary overlooking the Sierra Comcáac on Isla Tiburón. Transportation is each participants responsibility. Translation provided by John Slattery, the head tour guide and trip facilitator. And, yes, it is perfectly safe to travel in Mexico – particularly this area.

To Register:

 

Price: $200.00

John Slattery, Sonoran Herbalist

Tucson, AZ

© 2015

www.SonoranHerbalist.com

Field Study: La Sierra Blanca

Verbascum thapsus - MulleinThursday, August 20

8a-4p

Class Fee: $98

Field Study: La Sierra Blanca

Discussion, Application, Gathering and Processing of Wild Herbal Medicines of the high mountains, canyons, and rivers of the White Mountains of Arizona

with John Slattery

This full day of field study with herbalist and forager, John Slattery, is a unique opportunity to experience hands-on learning with the plants and a group of interested and committed students. John has been developing relationship with the plants of this area for the past 11 years. We will be viewing and discussing 12 to 15 different plants, in depth, throughout the day with opportunities to gather some plants for food or medicine. Some field medicine making instructions will be provided.

Each participant should bring a packed lunch, 2-4L of drinking water (including something to conveniently carry it on walks), comfortable footwear for walking, a daypack/bag, rain gear, suitable sun protection, notebook, pen, and camera (optional). Further supplies potentially needed (optional) will be discussed upon registration.   

Carpooling may be available upon arrival at our meet-up location in Alpine, AZ.

Register:

 

Price: $98.00

SHA: Chiricahuas Field Trip

Sonoran Herbalist Apprenticeship (SHA) Program: Chiricahuas Field Trip

September 10-13, 2015

The sky islands of Southeastern Arizona are home to a tremendous diversity of life in all its forms. Here, the southern extension of the Canadian Hudsonian zone (fir, spruce, aspen), enmeshes with the northern tip of the Sierra Madre Occidental (Gambel oak, Arizona madrone, alligator juniper, Apache pine) in the rugged homeland of the Chiricahua Apache. The richness and diversity of the local flora is usually at its height by early September begging the herb student, biologist, general lover of plants to sequester oneself in the rich, and fabled land of the Chiricahuas.

On this trip we will be camping in primitive areas, primarily. That means no running water (unless the streams provide – all the better!), no toilets, no tables (sometimes), no electricity, no “campsites” – just a rough road and a gradual pull-out for us to make our camp. Our days will be spent in contemplation with the plants, exploring, discussing what we find, gathering plants for food and medicine (maybe some mushrooms, too), processing and preparing medicine in the field, and exercising our full faculties to gain knowledge from the place in which we are enmeshed.

Transportation is each participants responsibility, but carpooling may be arranged upon registration. 4wd or high clearance is not necessary, but may be helpful. All camping equipment is each participant’s responsibility, but Desert Tortoise Botanicals may have some items for a nominal rental fee. Meals can be shared or you may keep to your own mess duties, but there will be a schedule for meals which we will all follow together. Daily “free time” will allow for some individual exploration, rest time, or joyful banter.

To apply for this module as a non-participant in the 2015 SHA Program email John@SonoranHerbalist.com

The tuition for this trip is $315.