Ethnobotany: A Round Table with Ian Sanderson and Erin Smith

Ethnobotany: A Round Table with Ian Sanderson and Erin Smith


Join Ian Sanderson and Erin Smith in a round table discussion about how ethnobotany – the study of the relationship between plants and people – can help to enhance and support our work with plants in our everyday lives. How can we utilize ethnobotanical approaches to nurture a closer relationship with the plants? Ethnobotany is so much more than the study plants and people. As a field of study, ethnobotany focuses on the interrelationship between humans and plants. Often, it tells the stories of Indigenous people and the ways that our lives are intrinsically interwoven with our plant relatives. 

A member of the Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan, Ian Sanderson hails from the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. Ian has been involved in Outdoor and Experiential Education for 15 years, working for various organizations including the Canadian Outward Bound Wilderness School, the Santa Fe Mountain Center’s Native American Emergence Program, the Denver Indian Center, the Environmental Center at CU Boulder, and Naropa University.  Currently, Ian is devoted to providing facilitation, education, and training through custom programs that inspire reconnection to self, community, and the rest of the natural world by utilizing the convergences in Indigenous, Eastern, and Western traditions as a means to realize empowered personal development and socio-ecological change. When he’s not fretting about how the term “Decolonization” can arise into the common vernacular, he can be found doing the following, sometimes simultaneously: Trying to figure out the urban homesteading thing with his partner Rachel Balkcom, honing his skills in the woods, building something, cooking something, or at the Boulder Quest Center, where he teaches and trains in the martial art of To Shin Do ninjutsu.

Erin Smith is a clinical herbalist and ethnobotanist and has been studying medicinal plants for over 25 years. Bringing together her passion for plants and cultures, she received her MSc in Ethnobotany with distinction from the University of Kent in Canterbury, where her thesis focused on women’s knowledge of traditional medicine in Morocco. For ten years she worked internationally with indigenous communities on various issues surrounding traditional medicine, natural resource management, community-based conservation, and traditional knowledge. She was Head Researcher for a joint project with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and Wageningen University in Netherlands on a project that explored livelihoods, female-headed households and the use of plant resources in Tigray, Ethiopia.  She worked with Global Diversity Foundation in the UK and Morocco and is the former Managing Director of Global Diversity Foundation – North America. She was an independent consultant and worked internationally on diverse projects and for diverse organizations, including The Organic Center and Global Initiative for the Traditional Systems (GIFTS) of Health and is currently Education and Sustainability Manager for WishGarden Herbs. She has taught internationally on herbal medicine, ethnobotany, and the human/nature relationship for over ten years and has spent more than twelve years living and working abroad in more than twenty countries. She is the creator of Plant-Passionate Living™, an interactive program designed to help people find greater health and vitality through a deeper relationship with plants.

Date: Saturday, June 22
Time: 1:00 pm
Location: Barn Downstairs

Cancellations within 2 weeks of workshop are NOT REFUNDABLE, but may be transferable.

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