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Even though I've studied and used herbs for years, I feel lacking when it comes to Botany and wildcrafting.
I can identify some plants and herbs, but there are many that elude me.
To me, this course was not just a chance to dive deeper into the world of plants, it was a way to enjoy nature and do something fun for myself.
I do so much studying with the purpose of learning in order to treat, help, or deal with specific situations, that I sometimes forget to learn for the pure joy of it. So, that was my main intention when enrolling in this course.
The Herbal Academy of New England had already impressed with their other courses (I am a student in the Intermediate Herbal Course, Herbal Materia Medica Course, and The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course), so I expected this to be topnotch.
However, the Botany and Wildcrafting course is much more in-depth than I expected, but it is set up in a way that you can go at your own pace without pressure or strain.
In fact, because I was doing this course I got a little worried when I saw how in-depth the lessons were and that there was a quiz at the end of each unit! I thought, “Oh no, what if I have to study for days before I can move forward with the course?!” But it wasn't that way at all!
In fact, the quizzes were nothing more than, “Are you ready to move on?” Well, yes, yes, I am! Thank you very much.
That was a huge relief.
Especially since I was eager to get to the lesson that discussed pressing flowers 🙂
That said, don't let the simple quiz fool you; the course is comprehensive and through. Definitely and packed full of information.
But, in true Herbal Academy of New England form, the course is not only informative, it is beautiful.
The pictures are lovely and the printables are gorgeous. I know not everyone cares about the visual aspect of things, but it really adds to my enjoyment of the course material. So, if you care about such things, you will be happy!
I'm rushing ahead here a little and should back up a few steps… maybe tell you what the Botany and Wildcrafting course is?
What is the Botany and Wildcrafting Course from The Herbal Academy of New England?
The Botany and Wildcrafting course is designed to teach the science of botanical identification and the art of wildcrafting. It is not a dry, textbook type of study, but a journey of learning.
The course begins by exploring plants as living beings, their ecological relationships, and how our own ecosystem can shape our relationship with plants.
The course also dives into the characteristics of plant parts, the use of dichotomous keys for plant
identification, and identification of botanical families and patterns in nature.
There are also hands-on lessons about drawing plants! And the course also explores how to create a pressed plant herbarium.
Besides all that, later lessons include wildcrafting ethics and techniques, at-risk plant species, and botanical,
edible, and herbal characteristics of 25 common wild plants.
What you get:
● 1-year access to the online portion of the program.
● 3 instructional units including both written and video lessons and both audio and video
tutorials – each unit has 3-5 lessons
● Downloadable transcripts for all video lessons and instructional audio and
● Downloadable charts to print for easy reference.
● Option to download all lessons as PDFs to print for your future use
● Student-only online community group for discussion and questions
● Student discounts from herbal partners so you can save on herbs and supplies
Here is a breakdown of the lessons:
UNIT 1: INTRODUCTION TO PLANT BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY
● LESSON 1: Introduction to Botany & Wildcrafting Course
● LESSON 2: Plants as Living Beings
● LESSON 3: Understanding Ecological Relationships
● LESSON 4: Bioregional Herbalism
UNIT 2: PLANT IDENTIFICATION SKILLS
● LESSON 1: Plant Morphology and Taxonomy
● LESSON 2: Botanical Features and Using a Dichotomous Key
● LESSON 3: Learning Patterns of the Plant Kingdom
● LESSON 4: Learning Plants through Drawing
● LESSON 5: Creating your own Herbarium
UNIT 3: WILDCRAFTING ETHICS AND TECHNIQUES
● LESSON 1: Wildcrafting and Harvesting
● LESSON 2: At Risk Plant Species
● LESSON 3: Common Wild Herbs and Edibles
● LESSON 4: Drying Herbs
I am still working the material, but Herbal Academy states that this is what will happen by the end of the course 🙂 (Sounds good to me!):
● You will have a whole new language with which to talk about and understand plants.
● You will be able to name all the parts of a plant including the parts that make up flowers, leaves, fruits, and stems.
● You will be able to identify new plants anywhere in the world using a dichotomous key.
● You will understand how to decipher differences between leaves, flowers, and fruits of separate plant species.
● You will be able to decode patterns in nature and gain insight into plant relationships and
herbal and edible use by understanding these patterns.
● You will understand how and when to use a plant’s binomial name and discover why a plant might have more than one name.
● You will be able to safely wild harvest and use at least 25 common plants growing wild in the United States.
● You will be able to dry plants in a way that maintains their vitality, aroma, color, and flavor.
● You will have a sense of the vast number of relationships that exist between plants and other organisms that are required for pollination, seed dispersal, and survival.
● You will have tools to get to know plants on a deeper level through keying, drawing, coloring, and organoleptic identification.
● You will know how to create your very own herbarium of pressed plant specimens.
● You will look at nature through an entirely new lens.
I chose to upgrade to the Botany workbook and am so glad I did. It features 25 monograph summaries and botanically accurate plant illustrations also spotlighted throughout this class!
Having the book on hand to flip through takes the enjoyment-level of this course way up. The illustrations are beautiful and coloring them is so relaxing.
I'm even trying my hand at drawing herbs and flowers. Which is totally new and fun.
It was wonderful to get out of the “classroom” so to speak (well, perhaps I should say “off the computer”) and forage for various plants.
My youngest daughter and I especially enjoyed foraging for violets.
My final thoughts
If you want to feel confident when it comes to Botany and Wildcrafting, I highly recommend going through this course.
I personally enjoyed the combination of text lessons, printable reference charts, videos, and hands-on lessons.
If you have any issue with topics of evolution, you should know that is discussed briefly in this course. I personally have a creation-philosophy but have no problem reading this material and drawing my own conclusions.
Get the workbook!
It will take your course experience to the next level.
Share this with your children
Once you learn how to identify and use a few plants, share what you know with your kids! It's fun to see their eyes brighten as they learn the names of plants.
But even better, learning to forage and create remedies and products with herbs and flowers is joyful and satisfying to adult and children alike.
Botany & Wildcrafting Course Discount
If you'd like to learn more or enroll, visit the Botany and Wildcrafting Course page at The Herbal Academy of New England.