Plus Two Bonus In-Person Sessions on September 10th and 15th
Berkshire Community College
1350 West Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201
This course is offered online via the easy-to-use Zoom program.
As we face contemporary
crises ranging from climate disruption and pollinator extinction to food
insecurity and health inequalities, what can we learn from the experience of Indigenous people who lived and thrived in our region? We will
explore our Indigenous heritage informed by the
paradigm of ecosystems as communities of sovereign persons including not only
humans, but also plants and pollinators. Our experience will be guided by Indigenous speakers with historic and plant
knowledge, as well as experts in edible/medicinal native plants and
on what we learn, class participants will have the opportunity to help plan
interpretation for a self-guided wayfinding experience at Berkshire
Community College's John Lambert Nature Trail. The plants found on the
trail will be connected to the native pollinators that helped sustain a
now-endangered, but previously regenerative ecosystem when people of the Mohican Nation lived here. As Potawatomi author/ecologist Professor Robin Wall Kimmerer advocates,
this approach would not try to restore an historic ecosystem, but to “re-story”
an Indigenous relationship with the land and
with “earth beings” such as pollinators.
1, June 3: Restorative
Approaches to Native American Medicine and Guidance on Nature Trail
Margaret Bruchac (Abenaki)
– in her multi-modal career as a performer, ethnographer, historian, and museum
consultant has long been committed to critical analyses of colonial histories
and recoveries of Indigenous histories. At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr.
Bruchac is an Associate Professor of Anthropology, Coordinator of Native
American and Indigenous Studies, and Associate Faculty in the Penn Cultural
She has long served as a consultant to New England museums, including Historic
Northampton, Historic Deerfield, the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, and
Old Sturbridge Village.
2, June 10: Identifying Native Wild Edibles and Medicinal Plants in the
a bachelor's degree in Land Use Planning from Vassar College, master's
in Natural Resources, and law degree from The Ohio State University. He
served as River Advocate in the Division of Ecological Restoration, Mass.
Department of Fish and Game from 1992 until his retirement in 2015. Russ has offered wild edible walks and talks for more than
45 years and is recognized as the region’s leading wild edibles expert. He is
now “playing the role of Johnny Appleseed” for native edible species,
using his nursery to grow 1,000 plants, representing more than a third of the
more than 180 species edible by people and native to New England ecoregions.
Russ is forming planting partnerships with land trusts, tribal groups,
municipalities, state and federal agencies, schools and colleges. He is the
author of Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten.
will also be a guided trail walk on the afternoon
ofSeptember 15th at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, MA.
More information will be sent to registrants.
3, June 17: Medicine Generations: Natural Native American Medicines Traditional
to the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans
up on the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans Indian Reservation in Wisconsin and lived there until going
to college. She holds B.A. and M.S. degrees from University of Wisconsin Green
Bay and worked as Education and Cultural Affairs Director for her tribe. Misty
was certified as a tribal Medicine Woman due to her years of tracing oral
history, field work and experience with traditional native medicinal plants.
Her Medicine Generations book documents
58 Native American herbal medicines passed down through her family tree of Wolf
Clan Medicine People and tribal stories. Her book covers gathering and
identifying these plants and preparing them through teas, tinctures, salves,
and poultices. She highlights the spirituality of plant medicine and the
gifting culture within which they are shared.
4, June 24: Native Plant-Pollinator Interactions
Abramson is a
results-driven designer and planner on a mission to rebuild biologically
diverse ecosystems through pollinator-plant interactions. As Founder and
Principal of Landscape Interactions, he works closely with project partners
along every step of the process, from conception through design, implementation
and maintenance. Since 2019, Landscape Interactions has been responsible for
nearly 300 acres of habitat installed in the Northeast, specifically targeting
at-risk bee and lepidoptera species for each project location. He holds a
Master of Science in Ecological Design from the Conway School of Landscape
Design, Certificates in Permaculture Design and Biodynamic Gardening, and is
the author of numerous publications, including the Great Barrington Pollinator Action Plan.
will also be a guided trail walk onthe
morning ofSeptember 10th at the Pollinator Pathway in the Town of Egremont's French Park. More information will be sent to registrants.
Orlowski, Program Director of the
Housatonic Heritage Operation Pollination Program and Chair of the Great
Barrington Agricultural Commission, has a long- standing commitment to
environmental and social justice. The historic oppression of Indigenous peoples was seared into her memory at age
10 by the outdoor drama "Unto
These Hills" in Cherokee, NC. Vivian’s professional background
includes teaching Latin American Politics (University of Wisconsin, Grinnell
College), overseeing social science bibliographic acquisitions (Yale
University), editing (CHOICE Magazine), advising (College Sustainability Report
Card) and regional leadership roles on public health, emergency planning and
sustainable food/ agriculture policy. She studied Government at New York
University (B.A. Phi Beta Kappa), French Politics at L’Institut d’Etudes
Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris and Political Science and Latin American
Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison (M.A. Woodrow Wilson Fellow).
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