August: Advanced Foraging

daphne blueberries smallLocation: Northeast Nova Scotia, Twa Corbies Hollow, approx. 45 minutes from New Glasgow and Antigonish; 2.5 hours from Halifax.

Date & Time: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, August 18-20.  Begins Friday @ 1200 and ends Sunday at 1800
Storm Day: Note that the course will take place rain or shine, but in the event of seriously stormy weather, the course will take place the following weekend at the same time.  We will notify students in the event of a storm day.
Cost: $250 per person
Pre-Register Rate: Fee is due at time of registration.  We can only accept persons who pre-register.
Ages: Adults and youth to age 12 (youth must be accompanied by a guardian)
Limited Spaces: We keep classes small to give all students individual attention.  Classes are limited to twelve students.  This does not count staff, support persons or children that may be present with their parents.
Refunds & Class Choice: Please be certain of the class and date you desire when registering.  Due to class size restrictions, we cannot move registrants to other classes.  Registration fees are non-refundable within 30 days of your chosen class.

Email to register.  Directions will be provided to registrants.

beaked hazelnut

Beaked hazelnut, a delicacy in these parts. Elusive, but only if you don’t know where to look.

Course Description:  If you want to go beyond learning to puzzle through a field guide, and beyond having an expert show you what is what in the field, this is the course for you.  In Advanced Foraging, students learn to expand their foraging portfolio by developing an understanding of the classification and identification process.

The basic foraging classes we offer have been popular for many years.  Students go into the field and learn to identify some two dozen plants and fungi that are often found in yards and among meadows and fields throughout much of eastern Canada and the northeastern USA.  The advanced course goes much further, however, and teaches students taxonomic and botanical principles that will help them build their basic foraging skills into a much broader competence so that they may identify and make use of a far wider range of Nature’s bounty.  For example, applying field knowledge of the taxonomic classification system of botany, one can quickly identify all plants in the brassica family.  Since all brassicas are edible, this immediately adds thousands of species to the advanced forager’s portfolio.  Likewise, learning to identify the shelf fungi class opens doors not only to a plethora of interesting edibles but enables herbalists to take advantage of one of the most abundant medicinal classes of fungi, many of which are even better then over hyped and overpriced chaga.

oyster mushrooms smallThis three day workshop begins Friday afternoon at Base Camp 1 with a study of the taxonomic classification of plants and fungi.  On Saturday, we take to the woods and meadows of Twa Corbies Hollow for hands-on practice where students will apply what they’ve learned and group plants by important traits.  We will start by studying some useful and important, easily recognizable genera such as the wild peas, mustards and mints.  We will also review the use of telltales in the field: key features that give away a plant’s identity almost instantly.  In the evening, we will return to Base Camp 1 and study the classification system of fungi, emphasizing shelf, jelly and polypore fungi.  On Sunday we will head into the woodlands to do hands-on study of these fungi, observing those that grow directly on the ground as well as on live and dead trees.  We will return Sunday afternoon to the base camp for review.

This is a camping event.  Students will be able to pitch camp at Base Camp 1 using tents or hammocks.  Classes will be conducted at the base camp, and studies will be conducted in wild meadows and surrounding woodlands.

unknown mustard smallCourse Requirements:  You will require a small tent or camping hammock and tarp, as well as sleeping bag, pad, and food sufficient for three days.  Water will be available on site.  Fires may not be possible, depending on how dry the weather conditions are, so plan for sandwiches or bring camp stoves.  Expect roughing-it camping.  This is fairly wild ground and there are no showers.  We will bring in either portable toilets or have a designated outhouse area.  Students are required to use good forest hygiene (remove, bury or burn refuse according to leave-no-trace principles).

wey shelf bracket fungus mushroomDress appropriately for warm weather, but it is advised you bring a day pack with rain gear and a sweater as the weather in these parts is fickle.  Be sure to wear appropriate footwear.  Some sort of hiking boot is strongly advised; this is rough country. Also, participants should bring a stout knife, folding or straight blade, as well as lunch and snacks.  Use hats, sunscreen and bug spray according to personal need, though in July biting insects are rarely much of a problem.   For your own safety, please do not wear shorts or you will get scratched up as we hike through meadows full of wild rose shrubs and bramble berry canes.

All rights reserved.Anticipate that we will hike three to six miles per day to study forage on location.  Breakfast and dinner will be at the base camp and lunch will be in the field. Much of the terrain is meadow or dirt road, but there are areas we’ll go into the woods and the terrain is rough.  Students must be moderately fit and able to handle rough ground.  If you would like to attend but avoid the rough ground, you may wait at the base camp during that portion of the course, which takes from one to two hours.

Your teacher: Author and naturalist, Cliff Seruntine, is a certified psychotherapist, shaman, horseman, and fiddler. He is also a veteran of some of the most rugged wilderness on Earth–the Alaskan bush–where he dwelt at a remote cabin for many years.  Cliff now resides on a homestead in the Nova Scotia highlands and brings a polymath, spiritual perspective to Nature experiences and decades of wilderness living know-how to his courses.


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