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Learn over 200 edible wild plants that grow in our bioregion through classroom and home study, plant walks, and by eating and preparing recipes with them every class! You will receive an Edible Wild Plants Recipe book containing all of the recipes prepared by the instructor and students throughout the course and a printed certificate recognizing your accomplishment.
There are so many reasons to learn how to identify edible wild plants:
- Interest in foraging
- Connecting with nature
- Expanding your knowledge of edible plants for landscaping, permaculture, or ecological restoration
- Wilderness survival
- To expand or prepare for herbal studies
- Leading plant walks
During the edible wild plants certificate course you will learn 20-25 plants every class using live or dried specimens, photos, and drawings. By the end of the course you will have learned how to identify 200+ plants.
Every morning you will take a plant identification exam of the 20-25 plants that you learned the class prior. When the exam time has ended, Pat (your instructor) will review the test, let you know the answers, and host Q&A time.
Lunch time will always include wild edible foods and beverages prepared by the instructor and students. Each student is expected to prepare one recipe a season and to present their recipe at lunch time.
After lunch, a guided plant identification walk will be taken, rain or shine, where you can practice finding the plants you just learned in the classroom in the wild. Students who presented recipes will identify their plant on the walk and teach fellow students about it. Always dress appropriately for the weather and bring a change of shoes!
LIMITED TO 16 STUDENTS
Basic plant identification skills are required to take this class.
A short quiz must be taken to determine plant id proficiency or participants can provide documentation of a plant id class or other evidence of knowledge.
COURSE MEETS 1 DAY PER MONTH FOR 10 MONTHS
February 16 March 16 April 13 May 18 June 15 July 20
August 17 September 21 October 19 November 16 Graduation December 7
Plan to attend all classes. Only 1 class may be missed and the test must be made up in order to receive a certificate. No make up classes will be offered.
Early Bird $715 check / $740 PayPal
Regular $770 check / $800 PayPal
October 15 - December 30
Late $815 check / $845 PayPal
Click on the Pay in Full to proceed with a check or PayPal payment.
Devote this time to learn edible wild plants from an instructor who has been eating this way her whole life. Patricia Armstrong, has a Master of Science degree from the University of Chicago in Ecology (Biology-Botany). She taught a multitude of nature classes at the Morton Arboretum for 16 years, plus Botany, Ecology, and Geology at the University of Wisconsin Extension, and Michigan State University’s Juneau Icefield Research Program in Alaska.
Pat’s knowledge and understanding of all things wild and free comes from a life-long personal and intimate relationship with nature that is passionate as well as scientific. She lives in a home she and her husband designed and built to fit into the natural ecosystems of northern Illinois. It is active and passive solar, energy-efficient, and landscaped with over 300 species of native trees, shrubs, prairie grasses and wildflowers, approximately 40% of which are edible.
Students are expected to study and practice plant id between classes, take monthly plant id exams, and prepare edible wild plant food at home to bring to class.
- It is important that you have plant identification skills prior to taking this course. This means you know plant families, understand terminology, and have experience using a field guide.
- Only one class can be missed, and the missed exam made-up in order to qualify for a certificate. Make-up classes are not offered.
- There are nine plant id exams for you to demonstrate that you can identify edible (and poisonous) wild plants successfully. You can use your notes and books during the exam.
- Each student will prepare four edible wild plant recipes (one each season) to share with the class
- Present four oral reports and turn in four written reports on the edible wild plants used in your recipes
- Optional: Complete a plant id catalog containing botanical name, common name, family name, habitat, food part, time to harvest, notable characteristics for each edible wild plant. This catalog can be used for all of your exams.
In December an edible wild plant graduation & potluck celebration will be hosted. Each student will receive an Edible Wild Plants recipe book containing all of the recipes prepared during the course, and students who successfully completed all of the certificate requirements will receive a printed edible wild plants certificate. Family and friends are invited to attend.
At least one book to identify wild plants, but you will likely need a few since not one book will contain all flowers, shrubs & trees. We suggest going to your library first to experience the books and see which ones you like.
- Wildflowers and Weeds: A guide in full color by
- A Field Guide to Wildflowers: Northeastern and north-central America (Peterson Field Guides)
- Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America
- Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide to over 200 Natural Foods
- A Field Guide to Trees & Shrubs: Northeastern and north-central United States and Southeastern and south-central Canada (Peterson Field Guides)
- Forest Trees of Illinois
- National Geographic Field Guide to the Trees of North America
- The Tree Identification Book by George W.D. Symonds
- The Forager’s Harvest
- Nature’s Garden
One wild edible cookbook. Pat's is included with registration:
- Wild Plant Family Cookbook by Patricia Armstrong
A work study opportunity is available to one qualified candidate. In exchange for 25-30 hours of work, the work study candidate's course fee will be reduced to $400. Work will include assisting the instructor with class preparation, classroom set-up and clean-up, loading and unloading class supplies, making copies, and assisting with the recipe book. The candidate will be required to meet the instructor at 8:30 am each class meeting date as well as other dates (typically the Friday's prior to class) to forage for plant specimens. Ideally the candidate lives in or very near Naperville.
By November 1st, email Michelle@theresiliencyinstitute.net with a paragraph response describing your financial need and your intention for taking this course. We will accept a maximum of 5 requests before selecting the recipient.