2017 Teachers

2017 Keynote Speaker

Community Herbalist and Founder of the Florida School of Holistic Living, Emily Ruff, joined us as our keynote speaker for Heartwood 2017. Beyond her decade long practice as a healer, Emily is a community activist and has most recently forged a network across herbalists in North America to brings massive amounts of resources to support communities in need. In response to the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub, Emily founded the Orlando Grief Care Project. From the community relationships cultivated through the response to this tragedy, Emily has formed the Herbal Action Network to continue weaving the web of compassionate herbalism into community engagement. Her most recent work has taken her to Cannonball, North Dakota where she serves with the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council.

Teachers for this year (2018) will be announced soon!

Check out the teachers who joined us last year below:

For a list of our 2016 teachers, please click here.

Interested in teaching at this year’s event?
Email presenters@heartwoodgathering.ca for more info about offering a workshop at this year’s Heartwood Gathering.

Marianne Beacon
Marianne is a Registered Professional Herbalist, Advanced Bowen Therapist, Reiki Master and teacher. She has been training in the healing arts since 1994 and has a Diploma in Clinical Herbal Medicine, as well as over 2000 apprenticeship hours alongside traditional and professional herbalists and midwives. Her focus is a Western Herbalist approach using whole plant medicine and flower essences. Marianne runs a multi-disciplinary clinic and apothecary in Peterborough, Ontario. Marianne brings a heart-centered approach to her work and teaching and has many years of wild-crafting, production and clinical experience from which to draw. With multiple modalities available to her, Marianne offers the breadth and depth of her experience and knowledge to her clients and students in a co-creative and caring atmosphere. Visit her website at www.elderberryclinic.ca

Vita Bowen

Carefully harvesting local sources of wild willows, dogwood and grapevine in the early spring Vita Bowen creates beautiful baskets and spectacular tree and vine installations. Since 2002 Vita has been involved in several art shows and has recently started teaching her craft. Growing up by Georgian Bay, near a small village called Walter’s Falls, surrounded by an artistic community and natural beauty has fostered Vita’s creativity in weaving as well as her landscaping business and fire flow arts. To learn more about Vita Bowen check out her Facebook page and come join her workshops.

Alexis Burnett

Alexis is a Naturalist, Tracker, Herbalist, Wilderness Skills Practitioner and Canoe Guide from Orangeville, Ontario.  He currently resides in the Owen Sound area, spending his days tracking, wild-crafting and running his Outdoor School and Wilderness Canoe Tripping company, Earth Tracks. Alexis is lead guide for the wilderness canoe trips and head instructor for all the programs and classes. Along with his wife Bobbi and two children, they also run a small scale herb farm (Rebel Roots Herb Farm) which specializes in organically grown and ethically wild-crafted herbs. Alexis is committed to mentoring and teaching others the skills that help us to re-connect with the natural world in an ancient and powerful way. By learning from nature through immersion and direct experience we begin to see and more importantly ‘feel’ the inter-relation of all things in the natural world. And from here we can begin to understand the important role that we all can play in protecting and preserving the Earth for future generations.  www.earthtracks.ca

Heather Cain RRPr

I am a Registered Reflexology Practitioner with the Reflexology Registration Council of Ontario. I have certificates in Foot Reflexology (2016, 2005), Celtic Reiki (2012), Plant Spirit Healing (2007), Advanced Energy Healing (2006), and Reiki Level I (2005). I have nearly completed my Hand Reflexology certification. For many years I worked in environmental non-profit administration, fundraising, and activism. I earned a Bachelor of Environment & Resource Studies at University of Waterloo. I have been drawn to plants and wild places since I was young. I have studied herbalism and ecology, worked in organic farming and with native plants. One day I realized that I longed for a deeper, more heartfelt connection with plants. This led me to study Plant Communication and Plant Spirit Healing with Pam Montgomery in Vermont. I now have many green allies who I call upon to support myself and others. I offer one-on-one healing sessions as well as learning opportunities for people to deepen their relationships with nature.  http://www.heathercain.ca/

Mai Duong

Mai brings her vast experience of over 25 years as an entrepreneur, professional dancer and business owner to her role as a Plant Spirit Medicine Healer. She became interested in Plant Spirit Medicine (PSM) due to her own illness. Mai also recognized that this medicine was not available in Ontario, and persuaded her teacher, Eliot Cowan, to bring the medicine to Canada. So the first Canadian PSM class was taught. Since her studies, Mai has uncovered a deep profound connection to the plants and the natural world. She graduated from the Plant Spirit Medicine training, in 2005, and is inducted as a Lay Spiritual Healer in the Temple of Sacred Fire Healing. With a commitment to serve, Mai has furthered her growth and learning by being an initiated Fire Keeper in the Sacred Fire Community. There have been many teachings and blessings that this medicine has brought into her life. Gratitude to the plant people and the mysterious ways that Plant Spirit Medicine has weaved into many lives that they touched.  www.plantspiritmedicine.org

Wild Foragers Society- Becky Lamb & Lee Earl

The Wild Foragers Society is a community initiative started in April 2013 by pals and then colleagues Lee Earl & Rebecca (Becky) Lamb from their own passion for learning about edible landscapes, even the very urban one in Toronto. As they stumbled upon new plants and shared their plant enthusiasm, other people who were also eager and excited to learn about local plants/weeds/trees approached them for advice, as they couldn’t access many human resources to aid in their casual learning of what was growing from the sidewalk. Many looked to thick field guides or were overwhelmed with the variety of unregulated online content, and although both can be useful, nothing really replaces having a person who knows a plant give you a proper in-person introduction. As a pair of enthusiasts, not experts, they decided to provide a safe space for the Toronto community to share lived and learned knowledge of ‘wild’ plants. Meet-ups (or ‘frolics’) are held once a month featuring seasonally relevant plant highlights during a rain or shine trek around Toronto where anyone/everyone is welcome to join and connect with nature.  https://wildforagerssociety.wordpress.com

Monika Ghent  RH, PSMA

Monika is a Western Traditional Herbalist and Plant Spirit Medicine Healer with a private practice in both Toronto and Maple, Ontario, Canada. Monika was blessed with the opportunity of growing up in the countryside of Southern Ontario where she spent a lot of her time in nature observing, listening, being. In her 20’s she heard the call of the plant people and began the study of herbal medicine. She started her professional practiced as a Western Traditional Herbalist in 1997. She is an advocate of being in respectful and humble relationship with the earth and all the beings that inhabit her, and so all the herbs she uses in her practice she either ethically wild harvests herself or are grown organically. As a healer, Monika has most desired to help people come to know the beauty of their uniqueness and live in their truth to its fullest expression in health and wholeness. Monika also has a school of herbalism, Living Earth School of Herbalism, with her husband, Michael Vertolli, which offers general interest workshops and online classes, and certificate and diploma programs in Western herbalism and related fields of study.  www.livingearthschool.ca  www.dreamingwillow.ca

Chris Gilmour

Chris has spent the past 10 years helping people learn about the natural world and grow their land based skills through teaching ancient wilderness living skills, survival and wildlife tracking. He lives on a permaculture-inspired modern day homestead in Muskoka where he and his wife Laura run an artisan wild food business, Wild Muskoka Botanicals. Chris is also passionate about being innovative and adaptable amidst climate change and in a changing world. He works in emergency & disaster preparedness and runs http://www.changingworldproject.com

Laura Gilmour

Laura is a community herbalist, permaculture designer, and ecologist living near Dwight, Ontario. Her feral rural upbringing allowed her to develop a natural curiosity and passion for nature from a young age. Laura formally studied ecology, and later went on to pursue sustainable living by working on several Permaculture farms and with herbalists on the west coast. Laura has a passion for traditional living skills and has spent years learning primitive arts such as basket making, traditional hide tanning, and friction fire making. She is also a strong naturalist with several years’ experience as an ecological consultant. For over 14 years she has been learning how to prepare wild foods, make her own medicines and learning how to share this with others to empower them in living more sustainable lives.

Laura is a guest instructor with a number of wilderness skills schools, and organizations. She lives on Wild Spirit Permaculture Homestead located near Dwight in northeast Muskoka. Here Laura lives with her husband and dog Tucker, they grow vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, keep bees and chickens. Laura also runs Wild Muskoka Botanicals, which produces artisan wild foods and herbal products. It exists to reconnect people with the natural world and to promote health and wellness through incorporating wild plants and traditional herbal medicines back into people’s modern lives. http://www.wildmuskokabotanicals.ca

Jackie McMillan, BES, Asperger’s

Hi there! I’m an international and wild foods enthusiast.  When I’m not exploring new ingredient sources, finding new recipes, preserving foods, entertaining friends, teaching food workshops, or trying culinary experiments, I am either working as a movement therapist, showing people how to find ease and comfort in their normal daily activities; spending time outdoors; or supporting parents, educators, autism spectrum adults, and professionals in achieving autism turnarounds and thriving with autism.  I can be reached at <jackiethrives@gmail.com>, or discovered at http://ThriveWithAutism.ca.

Lisa Messenger

Lisa Messenger has been trained by the original teachings from ceremony makers pre-contact 17th century to the present and has received teachings through Ceremony, Grandmothers and Grandfathers for the last 18 years. Lisa works with plant-spirit connection and works with an innate ability from birth that allows her direct communication with her spirit helper who is a medicine man of Cree descent. For authenticity purposes it is important to acknowledge that the original knowledge and ancestry is connected to the land. The original herbology teachings in North America are in part derived from indigenous. Lisa’s native teachers arranged for her to be accredited through the Ontario Herbal Association as orally trained. The original knowledge and culture is not ours. We can learn from this balanced perspective acknowledging that cultural knowledge is to be taught by the original people’s of this land. We are not entitled to teach what is not ours, as it looses its authenticity as the knowledge is transferred through blood lines. Lisa provides a bridge for all to learn about her own experience of healing with working with and learning from Native Americans and the original teachings of this land. Lisa works as an Herbalist and formulates herbal formulas based on her training. Lisa is also a Medical Intuitive Messenger and is certified in Energy Psychology therapy that treats all forms of dis-ease from a cellular quantum physics approach to healing. Lisa provides workshops and training with Native American colleagues on Herbalism, Nature Spirit Connection, and Energy Therapy.  http://www.facebook.com/naturalmedicineartist/

Caleb Musgrave/Kinew Nini

Caleb Musgrave is a Mississauga Anishinaabeg man of the Crane Clan, who has had a varied career, pertaining specifically to the relationships shared between his ancestors, and the land. He has traveled both Canada and the USA as an Archaeologist, Canoe Guide, Wilderness Survival Instructor, and technical adviser for film, television and radio. He is well known in the Indigenous Studies Field in his homeland, Nogojiwanong (Peterborough Ontario), as a Knowledge Holder of the Material Culture and Ethnobotanical Culture of his Anishinaabeg People. Whether it be speaking on behalf of the Wild Rice, creating traditional crafts and food from the landscape, or constructing 100% old-school Wigwams, Caleb has in his own words; “a little bit of everything in my back pocket”.   www.canadianbushcraft.ca

Zach Owen

Zach was born in Toronto, Ontario. At a young age, he was influenced by his parents who owned a health food store, this inspired his first interests in health and wellness. When he was nine years old, his family who knew of his love for nature, decided to move to Port Hope where natural surroundings were more abundant. While in high school he worked at an herbal store, and subsequently apprenticed with an herbalist at a medicinal herb farm and distribution company. Feeling that he had to learn more about the natural world, he attended Sir Sanford Fleming College where he studied Ecosystem Management. There, he made the connection between our external and internal environments and began to understand how one affected the other. Zach worked and also apprenticed in the environmental field for 5 years. During this time he explored Chinese Medicine to help his own well-being. He experienced very favorable results and found he shared the oriental perspective regarding the human body as a living ecosystem. The concepts regarding the cycles of nature are clearly demonstrated in the philosophies of the ancient Chinese which date back thousands of years. The connection with these concepts, as well as the results of their application, inspired Zach to pursue a new education which would enable him to help people improve their lives, health and well being from a truly holistic perspective. Zach has an Acupuncture practice in Cobourg, Ontario where he incorporates traditional Chinese as well as western healing modalities.  www.cobourghealthcollective.ca

John Redden

John Redden is a Medical Herbalist with an eclectic background. He has over thirty five years experience growing and wild crafting herbs, manufacturing remedies, teaching and clinical practice. As a member and former vice-president of the Ontario Herbalist’s Association, he co-founded “A Celebration of Herbs”, Toronto’s largest herbal event. John was for six years, the editor of the Canadian Journal of Herbalism, the national herbal medical journal for professional herbalists and interested lay enthusiasts. He is a hands-on teacher of numerous aspects of holistic herbal medicine with various classes taught in his clinic & laboratory. John’s studies in the U.S., Britain, and Canada culminated in the founding of Viriditas Herbal Products, whose clients include professional herbalists, naturopaths, and medical doctors. The Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations has designated John as a Herbal Elder of Canada. John has served on a number of Government Canada projects including CGSB producing the first legal documents governing Organic food and medicine in Canada. John’s hobbies are vegetarian cooking, medieval music and medicine, gardening and collecting blueberries & mushrooms in Ontario forests. www.viriditasherbalproducts.com

Andrea and Matthias Reisen

Andrea and Matthias Reisen have been community herbalists for over 20 years, they co-founded Healing Spirits Herb Farm and Education Center located in the Finger Lakes region of western New York. Healing Spirits Herb Farm and have been producing high quality certified organic medicinal herbs both fresh and dry for shipment throughout the United States and some foreign countries. They have created their our line of valued added products under the Healing Spirits label and also produce Rosemary Gladstar’s line of quality valued added products on the farm. They are former Peace Corp volunteers in the Philippines. Matthias has consulted overseas in Belarus, Nepal and Jamaica regarding medicinal and aromatic plants. Andrea has studied numerous body therapies and is certified as a Zero Balancing Therapist. Together they have raised five children, there are three generations living on the farm. Their goal is to live and work in balance and harmony with mother nature and humankind. www.healingspiritsherbfarm.com

Aku Dunyo Richter

Aku is a member of the Ewe tribe of West Africa from the village of Dagbamete, in the Volta Region of Ghana. The daughter of a village priest who is also a prominent traditional psychic herbalist, Aku moved to Canada to join her husband, Conrad Richter of Richters Herbs, in 1996. She was a member of Kekeli, an African traditional drum and dance ensemble based in Toronto. She is the greenhouse manager of Richters Herbs in Goodwood where she lives with her husband and three children. In 2013, Aku was initiated as Queen Mother of her village in Ghana by the elders in an elaborate ceremony. www.richters.com

Conrad Richter

Conrad Richter is president of Richters Herbs. He has been involved with Richters since its inception in 1967 when he was still a child, helping in the greenhouses and in the fields after school and on weekends. His interest in herbs took flight when he helped his father prepare the first Richters herb catalogue in 1970. He has worked on every Richters catalogue since. He has a primary responsibility for research and development. Through his efforts many herbs new to gardeners in North America have been introduced for the first time. Conrad is responsible for the introduction of famous Richters varieties such as Orange Spice™ Thyme and Profusion® Chives. Conrad has served on the boards of the International Herb Association and the Ontario Herbalists Association. He also served as director of a Canadian registered charity for 25 years. He has a Master of Science degree in botany from the University of Toronto. www.richters.com

Tamara Segal

Tamara Segal is a plant enthusiast and tree lover with a keen
appreciation for wild edibles and medicinals.  Based at her farm in Prince
Edward County, she runs a small herbal clinic and apothecary called
Hawthorn Herbals.  There, she harvests wild and cultivated plant
medicines, offers health consultations, teaches classes and leads wild
plant identification walks and workshops.  As a Registered Herbalist who
also considers herself a lifelong student, Tamara is grateful for the
learning and inspiration she’s received from her many teachers along the
path.  However, she has a very special place in her heart for the humblest
yet most important teachers of all–the plants!

Dr. Christopher Sowton ND RP

Christopher is a both a licensed naturopath and a licensed psychotherapist. Based in in Toronto, his practice focuses on psychodynamic dreamwork and classical homeopathy. He is also an avid gardener and plant lover. He helped create the Paracelsus Garden, the Herb Garden at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Since 2003 Christopher has been training health care practitioners of all kinds to integrate dreamwork into their practices. He has recently published a book—Dreamworking–How to Listen to the Inner Guidance of Your Dreams.  http://www.christophersowton.com

Rene Suarez

Rene spent a half-decade living in forested eco-villages and other intentional communities in three continents. His goal was to harmonize his way of life with his environment and community, and to learn every skill necessary to do so. Avoiding formalized education, he sought mentors working on real-world projects and learned cob construction, masonry, carpentry, metalworking, renewable energy construction, permaculture, biodynamic, and Fukuoka farming, ayurvedic healing, western herbalism, and many more life-sustaining skills. Living in community, living with nature, and catalyzing change have become second-nature to Rene. Since his return to Canada, he founded a nonprofit organization with two social enterprises, all focused on leveraging DIY for social change, health empowerment, ecological stewardship and community economic development. Since then, he has supported dozens of DIY-based social entrepreneurs, gathered a committed volunteer team, and helped nearly a thousand members make their own personal care products with therapeutic herbs. This year, Rene’s nonprofit organization will be leasing a 70-acre property, and will immediately begin delivering workshops in green building, renewable energy, regenerative land management, health and wellness practices, and ecovillage development. There will also be an organic market garden, and a continuation of the pollinator habitat / mixed-yield agroforest he began planting in 2016. www.makeitnatural.org

Diane Tait

Trained and working professionally as a violinist for 45 years, Diane began her herbal studies in the Spring of 1985, in the woods where the Heartwood Gathering will take place. At first the plants were her only teachers, but she became a Chartered Herbalist through the Dominion Herbal College in 1991 and a Clinical Herbal Therapist in 1997 at the end of a three year course taught in Toronto also by the DHC. Diane has been teaching students in the use and preparation of basic herbal remedies for the last 18 years and has had a herbal practice since 1997. She is also the United Plant Savers’ steward of Eden Hyll Botanical Sanctuary in northern New York State.  www.greenwoodbotanicals.ca

Tracey TieF

Tracey is a Certified Natural Health Practitioner and founder of Anarres Natural Health Apothecary in Toronto. She graduated from The School of Holistic Studies, Jan Benham’s Institute of Aromatherapy, and as a Green Witch with Susun Weed. Tracey offers hands on Aromatherapy Certification and Apprenticeship, as well as a variety of introductory and professional level workshops in the community. She comes from the perspective that plants are our ancestors and that we need to reskill ourselves so that botanical medicine can be part of everyone’s life in healing mind, body and spirit.  www.anarreshealth.ca

Terry Vanderheydon

Terry is a Naturopathic Doctor and Registered Herbalist who has been in private clinical practice since 199. A graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, he is an Ontario board-certified ND. Terry has a general naturopathic practice with a focus on family health and cancer but treats all manner of health issues including serious illnesses. He is a herb lover and was attracted to naturopathic medicine largely through his interest in plants and nutrition. Terry also completed a three-year post-graduate fellowship in homeopathy through the Canadian Academy of Homeopathy under the tutelage of Dr. André Saine in Montreal. Terry is also a consultant for St. Francis Herb Farm, Inc, where he is responsible for Research & Development, Regulatory Affairs and also acts as a medical advisor. He practices in Barry’s Bay, Ontario.  www.stfrancisherbfarm.com

Michael Vertolli

Michael is a Western traditional herbalist who has been practicing since 1986. He is the founder and director of Living Earth School of Herbalism, which offers in ­class and online classes and workshops and a clinical diploma program in Western herbal medicine. Michael developed Four Elements Herbal Therapy, a system of Western herbalism that integrates the physiological approach of modern European and North American traditions of herbalism within the broader holistic and spiritual paradigm of indigenous healing traditions. He has apprenticed and continues to work with elders of First Nations traditions in Ontario and central Mexico. He has also done extensive research on medicinal herbs that are native to and naturalized in northeastern North America, many of which are no longer in common use. Michael has long been an advocate for herbs and the practice of herbalism. In the 1990s he was appointed by the federal Minister of Health as a member of the Advisory Panel on Natural Health Products and the Office of Natural Health Products Transition Team. He has served on the boards of directors of many practitioner and industry associations and is and is a past director and president of the Ontario Herbalists Association and the Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations.  www.livingearthschool.ca   michaelvertolli.blogspot.ca