For several decades Sue & I have been working with kids and others to grow and plant native plants. We’ve also been restoring habitats and documenting the recovery of vegetation in 100’s of protected sites in hills and valleys, on the shores and in wetlands. And we’ve been exploring, teaching and leading walks about California ecology, native plants and culture, and about the garden-like character of the region when Native Cultures were actively using and tending wild plants and habitats. 20 years ago Dave developed a database and mapping package in excel (later adapted for iPhone) for weaving patterns of a sites vegetation together with seasonal plant uses. We then used it to develop and facilitate occasional workshops that combined ecological restoration with wild tending, crafts and culture.
Perhaps you’ve joined one of the workshops where we removed and replaced invasive edible plants with natives, and then enjoyed the resulting gourmet weed salad with elderberry vinaigrette. Or maybe you’ve helped us replace salsify with salvaged wild hyacinth, then prepared and feasted on parmesan salsify and alder-smoked salmon. Another set of volunteers helped us replant a creek bank with native rushes, grasses and sedges after removing invasive pyracantha, then snacked on acorn thumbprint cookies with delicious pyracantha jelly. Some of you helped us collect data on plant diversity of a creek floodplain or a meadow, with a break for seasonal wild flavors (acorn cookies, wild mint lemonade, wild salad with elderberry vinaigrette, an ice-cream soda flavored with a wild rose petal syrup, or such)
In all of these ‘nature/culture’ experiences, we teach that the world tastes good, if you pay attention and take care, and that people - with wild tending and crafts - can actively restore, sustain and celebrate the wild world - and people too.
In the last few years, Dave has been creating poems and stories, and he’s been collecting threads for many more stories the weave culture and ecology together with natural history, animal behavior, ethnobotany, geography and more. Dave also regularly shares his nature photos and occasional videos on Facebook, Instagram and Meetup.
Sue has been: a naturalist with several organizations; a preschool teacher of science, math and gardening; co-director of a Maidu Cultural Heritage Program with Sacramento County Parks; and a newsletter editor and contributor the the American River Conservancy. She also loves to find and share high quality children’s books on nature, culture, math, gardening and natural sciences. In the last few years, she’s been focused on growing native gardens for pollinators, wildlife and people. She also searches the internet for programs and posts to share on various ‘nature/culture’ themes, small farms, and on pollinator conservation.
We’ll soon be launching some blogs and a membership platform where all of us can share stories, essays, workshops and much more.