Edible Wild Plants Certificate Course

February 25, 2017 @ 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
The Resiliency Institute
10S404 Knoch Knolls Rd
Naperville, IL 60565
Michelle Hickey


Taking a walk in the woods, or even around your neighborhood, takes on a whole new meaning when your intention is to forage. There is a transformation in how you look at the environment when the landscape is no longer just window dressing, but a source of nourishment. Now the tree that you have passed by hundreds of times with barely a glance becomes meaningful – you notice it and eagerly await its fruit.

Knowing what plants to look for when, finding them around you, then knowing what to harvest, how to process and prepare it, takes some practice, but Pat Armstrong will teach you all of this in our Edible Wild Plants Certificate course. Over the course of 10 months you’ll learn 200 edible wild plants that grow in our bioregion through classroom and home study, two-hour plant walks, and by eating and preparing recipes with them every class! Students 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 their accomplishment.

Red CurrantsThere 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
  • Herbalism
  • Learning plant identification
  • Leading plant walks

“I had some previous foraging experience prior to signing up for the wild edibles certificate program and was amazed to learn the wide variety of plants and trees we can use for food. Pat Armstrong is a gifted teacher and is passionate about wild foods and enjoying nature’s abundance. We learned the edible parts of each plant, when to harvest and how to best prepare them. Pat would often include interesting ethnobotanical information on the uses of plants as food and medicine throughout history.”        ~ Lisa Stuart, EWP Certificate 2015


Edible Wild Plants Pat SpringSo devote the 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. Pat is actively involved in living joyfully with nature. She operates a consulting firm to educate and assist others in appreciating and using native plants and wild edible plants in home landscaping.


This year we are offering a work study opportunity to one qualified candidate. In exchange for 20-25 hours of work, the work study candidate will receive a $300 tuition discount, reducing tuition to $460 for the 10 month course. 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.

By January 20th, 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.


February 25    March 18      April 22      May 20      June 17      July 22   August 19     September 16    October 21    November 18


  • attendance at all classes (1 class may be missed, but the exam must be made up)
  • pass nine monthly exams (using your notes and books) to demonstrate that you can identify edible (and poisonous) wild plants successfully
  • prepare four edible wild plant recipes (one each season) to share with the class
  • present four oral reports and hand 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.

During the final class, an edible wild plant potluck celebration will be hosted at lunchtime. Each student will receive an Edible Wild Plants recipe book containing all of the recipes prepared during the certification course, and students who successfully completed all of the certificate requirements will receive a printed certificate.


Required Material:
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.

Course Fee:

Fees listed are for check payments (preferred). If paying in full by Paypal ADD $30 for fees. No fees for down payments made via Paypal.

  • $660 Early Bird  – register with full payment by December 2, 2016
  • $760 Regular  – register with full payment by January 20, 2017
  • $860 Late – register with full payment by March 1, 2017
    A non-refundable (unless TRI cancels the class) down payment of $200 may be made to hold your seat. The remaining balance is to be paid by one of the above deadlines to receive that fee. Payment plans are available. Please contact Michelle to discuss payment plan arrangements.

     Included with registration:

Checks are to be mailed to The Resiliency Institute, 1421 Talbot Drive, Naperville, IL 60565