Today I will be teaching at the local high school, for the ‘special needs’ kids. I did this class once before. The teacher wants me to come in to talk about wildcrafting and herbal medicine as they are reading “Where the Lilies Bloom” which features a character gathering plants. So I am there as the modern-day continuation of this character. I like doing the class. I will be bringing in lots of show-and-tell items, my first aid bag, just-gathered branches of Wild cherry (Prunus serotina), Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina), Black birch (Betula lenta), and Willow (Salix spp) with catkins just emerging. There is not much in bloom right now, but these branches are either aromatic (Prunus, Betula), famous (Hamamelis, Salix), or just interesting (Rhus).
Last time, the item that got the most attention is my old wildcrafting friend, a large cleaver, whom I named Pinky. Pinky is an odd name for a cleaver, but as may be construed from such a name, I did, in fact, chop off a piece of my pinky with this cleaver. And you can imagine the students getting a kick out of this (and perhaps you too not-so-gentle reader).
So I will come in with branches and chopping tools and a bag of herbal medicines and see what we can learn from each other with such an array today.