Tag Archives: Sonoran desert plants

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.

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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 – Session 6 Field Study: Happy Valley (Segments Enrollment)

IMG_2679Three separate segments of Session 6 at Happy Valley, at the base of the Rincon Mountains just north of Benson, AZ are available to individual enrollment for a limited time!

For more details on the location and other trip details click HERE where you can also enroll in the entire Session at a discounted rate from the individual segments.

Listed below are the options for enrolling in individual segments of Session 6 at Happy Valley.

Note: Multiple days are available via the dropdown menu with additional costs for each extension shown as “plus” the specific dollar amount.

Segment #1 Thursday, May 12  6a-4p    (9.5)      

Price: $145.00

Segment #2 Friday, May 13  7a-4p     (8.5)       

Price: $125.00

Segment #3 Saturday, May 14  7a-4p     (8.5)       

Price: $125.00

Our explorations will lead us from lush riparian groves of forested canopy to desert chaparral hillsides and mid-elevation canyons below oak & juniper woodlands moving up into pine forests. So, a great diversity of flora awaits us on this trip!  Some moderate hiking on some days (up to 3 miles per day, tops) and very little hiking other days. Our caravan will stop at one location (en route to our campsite) on Thursday where we will spend half the day before arriving at camp.

The weather may be in the 90s or drop down into the 50s at our mid-elevation camp site. It’s best to prepare for everything in between dry heat and damp cold weather just to be sure. Bring whatever camping equipment you will require to be comfortable (e.g., a tent/tarp/vehicle to sleep in, sleeping mat, sleeping bag/blankets) and ample food and water to last the 4 days of our trip. Our Sunday session concludes at 2p.

If you register for the Friday segment, or later, you will receive detailed written instructions on where to meet up with our group. A phone call will also be arranged in order to communicate the directions clearly.

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I hope you can join me for this adventure!

Any further questions, email sonoranherbalist@desertortoisebotanicals.com

2016 SHA – Session 5 Field Study: Molino Basin (Segments Enrollment)

DSC_0335Three separate segments of Session 5 at Molino Basin, in the Santa Catalinas near Tucson, AZ are available to individual enrollment for a limited time!

For more details on the location and other trip details click HERE where you can also enroll in the entire Session at a discounted rate from the individual segments.

Listed below are the options for enrolling in individual segments of Session 5 at Molino Basin. Choose multiple segments from the dropdown menu to receive a discounted rate.

Note: Segments #1 & #2 will offer the most intensive field botany training of this course, however, the entire Session will be infused with field botany training.

Segment #1 Thursday, April 14  6:30a-4:30p  

Price: $150.00

Segment #2 Friday, April 15  7a-4p    

Price: $140.00

Segment #3 Saturday, April 16  7a-5p      

Price: $150.00

We’ll be exploring the plants of the Catalinas, from low to high elevation (3,000′ – 9,000′), from our base camp at Molino Basin. All hikes will be relatively short in duration (less than 1 mile) and of a gentle pace. We will car caravan to a variety of locations on the mountain from our daily start at Molino Basin campground.

I hope you can join me for this adventure!

Camping options are available for Thursday, Friday, and/or Saturday night. Please specify upon registration (in the comments section or by separate email) if you prefer to camp with the group on any one, or all of the nights.

Any further questions, email sonoranherbalist@desertortoisebotanicals.com

2016 SHA Module, Session 9: Field Study – Pajarito Wilderness

Peña Blanca LakeAugust 18-20     *2 nights camping

Trip Fee: $240  (includes 2 and a half days of instruction and handout materials)

Instructor: John Slattery

This module features 2 nights camping in the border region of the Pajarito Wilderness where oak woodlands meet savannah, and the rare jaguar prowls over intricately laced canyons. Unique, endemic vegetation surrounds us with plants reaching their northernmost location touching those which extend down from the north. A rare and beautiful opportunity to delve into the tremendous flora inhabiting this rarely visited territory.

The monsoons should be well underway and the hillsides moist and green covered in tall grasses and unusual forbs. Here we will discover the very edible saya and its prickly neighbor mala mujer. Kidneywood, manzanita, beebush, lobelia, wild oregano, Sonoran giant hyssop, skullcap, cudweed, altamisa, soapberry, verbena, estafiate and many others will be found throughout our field of study. Numerous plants will be covered in depth. We will practice deep relationship with several plants, and plant energetics will be woven throughout this field session. Clinical applications underlay all aspects of our study and discussion. Healing with plants is a broad subject; many aspects of herbal medicine will be touched upon throughout.

Our camp site is primitive and dry. We will need to pack in all of our water. Depending on availability (and our group size), our camp sites may or may not have tables or outhouses adjacent (however, some sites do and outhouses are within 1 mile of any camp site). Otherwise, there are no facilities where we will be for the entire trip. Swimming is available in the nearby lake and there are swimming holes to visit on one of our canyon hikes. It is a wonderfully stunning place to be in.

Questions, email: john@johnjslattery.com

Register:

Price: $105.00

*When choosing “Single” or “2 Days” you will be able to specify which day/s in subsequent email correspondence

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