Community Instructor Spotlight: Sarah Williams

Say Hello to Sarah!

What is herbalism? For Sarah, herbalism means many things. Primarily a path to healing, it’s also about learning, meditation, craftsmanship, and most importantly, connection. “It brings us closer to being in harmony with the world around us, our community, and ourselves,” said Sarah. “As human beings, we are fundamentally linked to and dependent upon plants for our survival; working with them is an inheritance of wisdom and puts us in touch with all the generations who have come before.”

Throughout Sarah’s life, she has acquired knowledge and real-life experience working directly with the plants, having conversations, attending workshops and conferences, and allowing her curiosity and passion to grow. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology, as well as certificates from Sage Mountain Herbal Center and the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine. At 577, she shares this deep-rooted knowledge, education, and first-hand experience through her herbalism and wellness classes.

Sarah has been teaching for about 10 years now. 577 has always been a place of fond memories from childhood field trips, and as an adult, she was drawn back after a friend mentioned opportunities to teach. Upon visiting again, she was “immediately enamored of the place, not only of its beauty and charm but of the abundance of medicinal plants and the use of organic practices.” Sarah said one of the biggest reasons she started teaching at 577 was because of part of our mission; to be a place of healing through art, gardening, nature, curiosity, and lifelong learning, she knew she wanted to be a part of it.

Within her classes, Sarah pairs scientific findings, traditional practices, folklore and other stories, and of course, her own experiences she’s gathered in the field. All classes touch on sustainability and ecological responsibility in one way or another, whether discussing how making our own medicine and food allows us to use less resources, packaging, transportation, et cetera, or how to harvest conscientiously and with respect to ourselves and our planet. She focuses on accessible and practical knowledge surrounding local and readily available herbs that will likely be useful in our day-to-day lives, and hopes her students walk away with an understanding of the herbs, as well as with an inspiration and drive to get started on their own. She also added that “just as much, I hope they come away knowing that they are a part of a community of passionate, generous people working to make life better for all of us.”

Outside of work, Sarah enjoys being out in nature, biking, hiking, gardening, and cooking. Although hard to choose, one of her favorite herbs is milky oats for its soothing and restorative effect on the nervous system. She also has a love for animals; with three cats of her own, she has also worked in wildlife rehab and was the animal control officer on a desert army base, wrangling loose dogs, cattle, pelicans, and rattlesnakes. Sarah also loves traveling—meeting new people and learning new things. She has backpacked around Australia, summited Kilimanjaro, and traveled by horse and camel through Mongolia!

Interested in learning more about herbs and a healthy, natural lifestyle? Sign up for one of Sarah’s upcoming classes in June and July! She’d love to share her passion and knowledge with you.

Midsummer Herblore
Friday, June 21 ~ 6pm to 7:30pm
The summer solstice ~ when the sun is at its strongest and the plant world is a riot of growth and color ~ has always been considered a potent time for gathering medicine. Join us in the Log House to discuss the stories and traditions of Midsummer, as well as a number of herbs that are strongly associated with the sun, and how we may tap into their magic to bring us life and warmth throughout the year. ~ click her to register ~

Herb Harvest, Drying, and Storage
Saturday, June 29 ~ 2pm to 3:30pm
Growing or foraging herbs is delightful in itself, but how do you make the most of your harvest? The simplest and most traditional method is to dry them and tuck them away safely for future use. In this class, we’ll discuss how to properly harvest, dry, and store herbs for maximum quality and potency, as well as the best health of the plants. We will also cover various ways that you can use your dried herbs: teas, powders, seasoning blends, etc. ~ click her to register ~

High Summer Herb Walk
Thursday, July 18 ~ 6pm to 7:30pm
Join us as we stroll the 577 grounds in search of wild and cultivated herbs. Learn the identification, folklore, and medicinal virtues of many of our common high summer plants. Many of our common “weeds,” as well as some garden staples, have a lot to offer once you get to know them. Children ages 7 through 17 may register and attend accompanied by a registered adult. ~ click her to register ~

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