2019 Workshop Descriptions

Below are the descriptions of the workshops that ran at the 2019 Heartwood Gathering. Workshop descriptions for this year's gathering will be posted in the spring.

Talal Al Hamad

Arabic Herbal Medicine

We will discuss the history and role Arab/Islamic herbalists played and how the system of healing has been shaped over time. We will focus on modern clinical findings in the Palestine territories, the use of common foods such as honey as medicine as well as specific Arabic uses of herbs and more.

The Ins & Outs of Cannabis

An in depth workshop that will focus on the history and modern day use of Cannabis including: medical applications, how to make various extracts and their uses, understanding the different constituents, growing advice, Clinical case studies and more. The goal of this workshop is to empower you to gain control of your own health by understanding this newly legalized herb.


Robbie Hanna Anderman

Forestry First Aid

When we step out of town and into the woods to go hiking, camping, cross country skiing, canoeing and more, or even if we move into a cabin/homestead in the woods, we are visitors amidst the neighbourhood of the Trees of the forest. When a malady or injury occurs, our neighbours often can help us, if we ask. And if we know whom to ask and for what. Utilizing the Forestry First Aid chapter of The Healing Trees book, we will talk of common physical challenges that may arise for us in the woods. Then we will seek out the Tree(s) that would be an aid for each situation. If more than one Tree has helpful attributes, we will discuss why we might choose one over the other. The proper approach and request for help to each living being will also be actively brought forward, with gratitude.

The Healing Trees

In The Healing Trees, we will focus on meeting the local Trees of Heartwood Gathering. Using The Healing Trees book as a guide, we will discuss individual Trees and learn about the different qualities found in each part of each variety. These edible and herbal qualities are found in all parts of most Trees: in the roots, sap, resin, bark, branches, wood, flowers (male and female), fruit, seeds, buds, twigs, leaves and needles, and even in the ashes of some. We will share safe and less invasive methods of harvesting and utilizing the different parts by the season. We will also share what practical experiences each of us has had in utilizing the healing qualities of The Tall Standing Rooted Ones, as teas, tinctures, salves, poultices and more for medicine.


Abrah Arneson

Plants and Planets: A Close Look At Mercury and His Plants

There was a time when an herbalist was as knowledgeable about a planet and its medicine as a plant’s healing effect. During this workshop we explore Mercury’s volatile, lively and brilliant vibration to deepen our appreciation of the plants under Mercury’s influence and their medicine. Watch out, we will be inviting in Mercury’s trickster energy.

The Art and Science of Formulation: More than a Sum of its Parts

Creating a formula is a science as much as an art. We will begin by dissecting one formula created by Doctor Christopher and another traditional European formula to understand how traditional herbalist combined herbs to create medicine that is more than the sum of its parts. After getting a feel for formulation we will take a look at methods herbalist use to create a formula specific to an individual’s needs. Lastly, we will tune into our intuition to sense the synergy of the formulas we create and how we can improve it through a deeper knowing.


Marianne Beacon

Making Lotions and Creams with Ease

With a good recipe, and a few techniques, you can make your own lotions and creams with style and grace. Using good ingredients, learn how to make these products, that could cost a fortune, at a fraction of the price. Add some herbs, and you have luscious medicine for your skin. Participants will take home a sample of the cream that we make.

The Bitter Truth

In the land of the sweet tooth, something is missing… Bitters! In North America, we tend to dislike this flavour, but it is exactly what we need. Bitters may also help the root cause of many of our illnesses. Come find out why this flavour, and the herbs that have it, are essential for a healthy body.


Penelope Beaudrow

Teas and Tinctures ~ Preparation & Blending Workshop

In this hands-on workshop you will learn how to create a Healthy Home Tea blend for you and your family. We will learn the correct technique of brewing an herbal tea and will sip on our herbal beverage while learning how to make a tincture. The tincture we have chosen to blend is a Memory tonic, just what you need to help retain the days herbal knowledge! Everyone will go home with a small bag of tea and a bottle of our Memory tincture blend.

Sacred Plants – Spiritual and Medicinal Uses

We welcome you into the quiet of the forest for this beautiful teaching. In this workshop we examine and experience how the Anishinaabe people use their sacred plants in ceremony and in medicine. Come learn with longtime friends Penelope and Lauri; Penelope will cover the medicinal uses of these amazing plants, while Lauri will share the ceremony and traditional teachings of these sacred plants.


Pierre Blin

Cattall Dolls

Cattails abundant, generous, and very helpful/useful. We will be crafting beautiful and unique figurines! Once the basic form is completed, you can make yours into an elf, an angel, a Jedi knight, or anything that you can think of! Many of my past students have kept their dolls for many many years!

Cedar Bark Berry Baskets

A simple design turns cedar bark, and other pliable barks, into a lovely container, suitable for picking berries, holding flowers, or any other delight you can imagine.


Julie Bothwell

Indigenous Teachings


Alexis Burnett

How to Grow Your 4 Cannabis Plants

In this workshop we will discuss and learn how to grow and take care of this special plant.   Some of the things we will cover in this workshop include:

  • What strains/cultivars grow well in this area.
  • How to germinate seeds and when to transplant seedlings.
  • Organic Nutrients – How to feed and water your plants
  • Various pruning and growing techniques
  • How and when to harvest
  • Drying and curing your flowers

And much more……

Suzanne Catty

Intro to Distillation of Essential Oils and Hydrosols

Essential oils and hydrosols (aromatics) are extracted from plants through distillation. In this workshop you will learn the basics of the process from the harvest of plant material through to the uses of the finished product. Distillation is an art and each plant requires different treatment, this class will introduce you to the parameters needed to produce aromatics of truly therapeutic quality.

Tea from White to Black

Matcha and green tea are famous for their antioxidant health benefits, but what about other types of tea. In this class we will taste the six major types of tea and look at the health benefits of each one. From weight loss to cancer, every type of tea has shown specific health effects; and each one tastes completely unique! You will learn about the myriad forms of tea processing including fermentation and the effects it has on tea chemistry all while tasting healthy teas from around the world.


Pat Crocker

Cooking with Cannabis

In this intensive workshop, you will learn about Cannabis, its healing benefits and key healing components: cannabinoids, THC and CBD. Pat will demonstrate how to decarboxylate, infuse a cooking oil, and how to use the infused oil in healing recipes. She will also show how to make Cannabis tinctures. You will take away a high CBD-low THC Cannabis tincture. Workshop size is limited to 20 people and there is a $20 materials fee.

Invigorating Tonic Herbs

In herbal medicine, an herbal tonic is used to help restore, tone and invigorate systems in the body or to promote general health and well-being. Join Pat Crocker as she explores a two-step approach to health by cleansing and toning using herbs that increase energy, boost immunity, enhance memory, ease digestion, and support daily health and wellness. Following a brief powerpoint introduction to 6 tonic herbs you can grow, you will taste an Everyday Tonic Switchel and make your own Immune Tonic Tincture, or Fire Cider. You will take away an Immune Tonic Tincture, or Fire Cider. Workshop size is limited to 25 people and there is a $10 materials fee.

Christine Dennis

The A,B,C,’s of Herbal Energetics

Herbal energetics is an ancient system used to understand the language of plants that many cultures around the world have used, and whose wisdom was handed down over the generations. It is a wisdom that is encoded in our DNA. It is a way of knowing the plant’s energetics and therefore how to match it up with a person’s energetics, that goes beyond symptom cover up and gets down to the roots of the dis-ease processes. With herbal energetics, the medicinal properties of herbs include the tastes, the heating and cooling aspects, the moistening and drying aspects, their chemistry and their essences. In this workshop, our exploring will give us a way of better knowing the plants more intimately vs just memorizing what we have read about them.

Encouraging Resiliency – Helping our Patients Prepare for the Great Turning and Climate Crisis

As herbalists we are in a position to be able to help encourage patients to make changes in themselves and in their lives that is hopefully in right relationship with Mother Earth. And this can help them better face the massive global changes and challenges that are going on already. From personal internal resiliency to resiliency in how we live, we often lead by example and we also share knowledge and resources. By looking at resiliency from an alchemy perspective, one can more easily figure out where all the short falls are, where adaptation is needed, and so where to focus attention, and the various ways that they may be able to be made. But it can also help in determining where and what are the resources, assets and skills that one has and can be shared or at least where to find them. Adaptation and resiliency developing facilitates support from both within and outside, building a stronger individual but also community, for both our patients and ourselves. Time will be made for open discussions, sharing feelings, thoughts and ideas on this topic.



Connecting Wholistic Health Care Practices

This workshop will assist with learning about treatment strategies when using natural plants of Northern Ontario. Plant therapy has been in existence since the creation of time, Identification of some plants within Northern Ontario assisting with physical, emotional, mental and spiritual ailments e.g. you will learn how a wholistic perspective leads to a wellness plan.

Spiritual Connection to the Plant World

Participants will acquire understanding of Medicine Wheel principles that will assist with creating an understanding of improve personal wellness. Become more educated regarding the healing properties of medicinal plants thereby creating an awareness regarding the personal connection to Nature.


Taylor Eveson & Remy Meyer

Herb Walk: Herbal Actions and Energetics (advanced)

An advanced level herb walk. Students will be lead through several areas around the forest centre and instructed on the medicinal actions and uses of herbs in the context of traditional energetic patterns.


Bonita Ford

Edible Forest Gardens for Medicine, Food & the Earth

Interested in growing more of your own medicine and food, while taking care of the soil and water, creating natural spaces for animals, supporting healthier ecosystems, and doing less work? In permaculture (ecological design), we aim to mimic Mother Earth. Our gardens can provide food, medicine, craft and building materials, fuel, habitat, microclimates, and beauty. Learn about edible forest garden functions and layers, as well as a few favourite trees and shrubs, and various perennial medicinal herbs for our cold climate. Design a simple polyculture with several species of useful perennial plants.


Learning From & Connecting with Our Plant Friends

I’ve learned a lot from the plants in our garden. My relationship with them is intellectual, intuitive and spiritual, and it has deepened over time. When I notice the plants that thrive, or that appear on their own, or that I am attracted to, it is like having a conversation with a new friend. It is an invitation to learn more about them and about me. This has helped me become more comfortable (as a non-herbalist) using herbal medicine for myself. Over time, the plants have become my family. In this workshop, I will share some stories from the garden, then lead you on a guided meditation to connect with a plant. Smell, touch and taste a few common medicinal plants. What messages do your plant friends offer you? Come join us and listen.


Dee Gauthier

Make your own Herbal and Resin Incense Class!

This very popular workshop will practice and discuss blending different types of herbs and resins to complete intentional incense to burn on charcoal discs! Burning incense created for specific intentions and cleansing is a very old practice, and in the workshop we will discuss specific herbs and resins used for protection blends, cleansing blends, love blends, and how to use them! Each Participant will be created their own blend and taking it home with them! Please note that during the class we will be burning incense, so the class is very smelly! If you are sensitive to smells, this may not be the class for you.


Monika Ghent

What Plants Can Teach Us About Ourselves: A Meditation and Connective Experience with Plants

What can plants teach us about ourselves? What does the shape of a plant’s leaf, the pattern of its veins, its roots, its colour, its relationship to the other plants around it, its relationship to insects, birds, animals, to the weather, to the wind, teach us about ourselves? What can we learn from the plant people using our five senses and powers of observation? What if we then go beyond what is observable with our five senses into deeper intimacy and communion with a plant and connect with the animating force that gives it life? What will we learn about ourselves there? Can plants really teach us about ourselves? Come and find out! In this experiential workshop, you will spend time hanging out with a plant that calls to you and delve into an intimate experience of learning about yourself through observation and a deep connective exercise. Please bring a notebook and pen. Optional, bring drawing paper and pencil crayons and a blanket.


Beverley Gray

Sacred Spirit Plant Healing: Plant Ritual in Motion

Connect deeply with the sacred, life-force energy of plants. Sacred-spirit plant healing involves meeting the plant spirit or energy to influence healing of the human mind, body, spirit, and heart. This energy can be engaged on many levels including through the chakra system. We will delve into the spiritual anatomy of the heart, the center of the chakra system, through guided meditation, and by co-creating a vibrational plant essence with local wild plants. This is a hands on and hearts-in workshop!

The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North

Beverley Gray will engage us on a journey through the Northern landscape using wild medicine plants of the Boreal Forest. We will be exploring the use of wild medicinal and edible plants of the north for health and healing in everyday life, from how to soothe pain with willow, staunch bleeding with yarrow and to treat a urinary-tract infection with bearberry.


Bev Maya

Connecting it ALL Together: Muscle & Joint Aches, Pains & its Origin in Kidney Function

In this workshop, I will outline the importance of Kidney function as it relates to connective tissue in the body. Initially I will discuss the types and function of connective tissue and how the Kidney participates in the maintenance of its health. I will highlight the the role of the kidney in detoxification of water soluble toxins and review the specific mechanisms by which the liver removes toxins. I will then review herbs kidney and connective tissue herbs and their specific action in clinical practice.


Create Hormonal Bliss: 3 Mistakes Natural Medicine Practitioners Make that Leave Their Patients Sweaty & Miserable

Natural Medicine strives to keep all bodily function in harmony to allow for optimum health. The wholistic approach used by many natural medicine practitioners is to listen to these signals and address its origins. Reproductive challenges such as pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), and peri-menopause come in many different packages. No two people seem to experience the same combination of symptoms. Additional hormonal aberrations are common during this transition and may compound the picture. Common symptoms may include but are not limited to forgetfulness, irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, restless legs, heavy or erratic periods, sore breast, hot flashes, night sweats, bloating, bowel habit changes and fluid retention. And the list goes on! When treating women who experience acute and severe PMS and menopausal symptoms, the temptation to focus only on the normalization of reproductive hormones with natural remedies or bio-identical hormones is great. However, in many women, this approach does not lead to the resolution of their symptoms long term. Reproductive hormone imbalance is a harbinger of global hormonal dysfunction. Since the body is an integrated organism, continual dialogue between all endocrine organs (adrenals, pancreas, thyroid, parathyroid, and ovaries) determine a woman’s sense of wellbeing. The endocrine system also networks with the nervous and immune systems while being nurtured and cleansed by the primary elimination organs (liver, kidney and digestive tract) to complete the orchestra of life.


Jackie McMillan

Lacto-Fermenting Wild Medicinals

Preserving medicines with alcohol isn’t a good choice when supporting children, pregnant women, people with blood sugar or addictive issues, or people with chronic immune and digestive challenges — who comprise an increasingly large portion of the population. Alcohol-based tinctures can cause or aggravate gut permeability (a primary cause of inflammatory disease, which is 85% of what ails and kills us), suppress immune function, destabilize blood sugar, and over-challenge the liver and other organs. Lacto-fermentation enhances bio-activity and bio-availability of nutritional and medicinal components. Extensive Korean research on Kimchi indicates anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, anticancer, anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, cholesterol reduction, anti-aging, and probiotic properties. In Korea, medicinal lacto-ferments can last 10 or more years, if well-stored. This workshop overviews traditional how-to, benefits, issues to watch for, and sources of further information on preserving medicinals in ways that promote greater health benefits. Attendees should have some experience with lacto-fermenting foods.


Caleb Musgrave/Kinew Nini

Anishinaabeg Plant Lifeways

Caleb Musgrave (Kinew Nini, Bazwenaazhii Dodem, Mississauga Anishinaabe) will discuss the many directions that his people interacted and continue to interact with plants. From birth, to death, and everything in between.

Spruce Roots and Their Uses

We will discuss, demonstrate and experiment with different uses of spruce roots. From how to gather and process them, to weaving, sewing and tying with them for countless applications. We will also make a “stitch card.”


Gudrun Penselin

Forest Bathing (Shinrin-Yoku) & The Healing Powers of Immersing Oneself in the Forest

In Japan, the traditional practice of immersing oneself mindfully in nature (Shinrin-Yoku), is a pivotal component of their health care system. Dr. Qing Li from Japan is the world’s foremost expert on forest medicine. His research results into the therapeutic effects of forest bathing has shown that spending time in the forest increases the number of natural killer cells in our body, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, reduces stress hormone production, anxiety, depression and stress – and more. Patients recover faster and require less pain medication when they are around plants. This session is a practical workshop, introducing you through exercises to the practice of forest bathing. As a special ‘treat’, you will also be able to listen to the voices of the trees through a special device that translates the vibrational frequencies of plants into music.

Introduction to Bach Flowers – Gentle Healing from Within

Bach Flowers essences, developed by Edward Bach in the 1930s, are subtle plant medicines that encourage true healing in a very safe and gentle, yet effective way. Bach Flowers form their own unique system of herbal medicine. The underlying principle is that physical dis-ease is the result of imbalances of our mind and emotions, and that health can be restored by freeing ourselves from limiting beliefs and experiences. “The action of these remedies is to raise our vibrations and open up our channels for the reception of our Spiritual Self, to flood our natures with the particular virtue we need, and wash out from us all the fault which is causing harm. They are able, like beautiful music, or any gloriously uplifting thing which gives us inspiration, to raise our very natures, and bring us peace and relieve our sufferings.” ~ Edward Bach  NOTE: This workshop is experiential requiring the active participation of all students & the class size for the Bach Flower workshop is limited. 


John Redden

Black Salve for Treating Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Carcinoma Through History

Variations of “Black Salve” have been used as an Escharotic Substance. What is it? How does it work? Is it safe? We will explore the use of escharotic salves for the last century and discover their efficacy and limitations.

External Application of Herbs: Poultices, Plasters and Fomentations

Herbal Baths like foot soaks, hand baths and full body immersion baths will be discussed. The use of shower water of different temperatures (hydrotherapy) will be addressed. Treatments for adults and children will be presented. Some demonstrations with student participation are part of the class.


Andrea and Matthias Reisen

Everything Mushrooms

There is more than just the white button mushrooms that appear in the supermarkets. Andrea and Matthias will explain how they grow their medicinal mushrooms (turkey tail, reship, loins mane, oyster) and discuss their medicinal properties and how to use them in your everyday life.

The Healing Spirits of the Plants

Join Andrea and Matthias as they walk to identify, the abundant and sometimes no so abundant plants that surround us. Learn not only the medicinal properties but also how they connect with our spirit to heal us. They will also discuss the sustainability of herbs that we use and how we can help in promoting it.


Tamara Segal

Digging Deep with Burdock (with Chris Byrne)

Burdock’s roots grow deep! So do its many offerings as a food and medicine. This workshop will delve deep into the various ways that burdock (Arctium lappa) can benefit our health and our palates. This nutrient rich plant grows abundantly in our area making it accessible to pretty much everyone. We’ll cover proper identification, tips for harvest, medicinal and nutritional properties available from all parts of the plant, medicine making techniques and food preparation ideas as well as recipes (and samples) of delectable dishes prepared from it.

Prickly Medicine

Prickles, brambles, thorns and spines carry a signature that points to certain healing qualities embedded within the plants and trees that carry them. In this workshop we will look at different prickly plants and trees, examining how they engage with their environment. We’ll discuss their common medicinal applications on the body, mind and emotions. Reflecting back on their physical characteristics, we’ll consider the ways in which their signature (their appearance, texture, the locations where they grow and the roles they play in their surroundings) helps to teach us about the medicinal properties these plants tend to address.


Janna Shapero

Working with Pain – Topical Treatments for Injury, Inflammation and Tension

Over the last 17 years I have learned a lot about pain through running a massage practice, working with herbal medicine and sustaining numerous personal injuries. In my day to day life, both personally and professionally, I have had to manage a variety of pain syndromes including simple muscle spasms, tendonitis, acute injury, arthritis, back pain and recovery from surgery. In this workshop I will cover the spectrum of herbs which are most useful for pain and tissue healing, how to match herbs to specific types of pain, working with acute and chronic pain, and how to apply herbs topically for the treatment of pain.

Alex Thomson & Gina Marucci

Bringing Plant Knowledge to Mainstream Students: Sharing Tips and Tricks

This workshop will allow participants to share best practices, tips and tricks around bringing plant knowledge to children. A discussion about hazards to be aware of when dealing with plants will also be shared.


Tracey TieF

Aromatherapy for Cannabis Medicines

What are the best analgesic (pain relieving) essential oils, and how can we best use them in topical preparations? Which carrier, enriching and essential oils are anti-inflammatory (reduce swelling)? Which essential oils can help increase your libido and your enjoyment of your sexuality (aphrodisiacs)? In this hands on workshop, Tracey TieF, Certified Natural Health Practitioner and founder of Anarres Natural Health Apothecary will introduce you to a host of useful ingredients and teach you how to use them in your cannabis medicinal preparations. You’ll come away with a custom formula to add to your own canna topical medicine at home.


Nicole Varney

Colors of the Landscape

Come explore the wonders of the natural rainbow. We dive hands on into making color from our surroundings and discuss topics of natural dyeing 101, sustainability, seasonal foraging, medicinal color & magic & ritual alchemy. Leave with a refreshed perspective of the landscapes possibilities. No prior knowledge or experience is required, just an open heart and curious mind.


Michael Vertolli

Harvesting Medicines

Whether we grow herbs or wild harvest them, to maximize their benefits it is critical that they are harvested in the right way at the right time. Which part of which plant, the stage in the plants lifecycle, the time of day, weather and other factors all come into play. Although in some ways these are unique to every plant medicine, there are general principles that will work for most plants most of the time. Using the plants that we see as examples, we will discuss these general principles that can help us to get the most out of our medicines.


Amber Westfall

Tasting the Wild, An Organoleptic Journey

“A plant’s scent is its language. Its colour communicates. In its flavour it speaks to us; not in our language, but in its.” ~ Jim McDonald   In the slippery mucilage of a violet leaf, the bitter bite of dandelion or the sweetness of clover, plants speak to us. When we understand the language of their tastes, we deepen our knowledge of their therapeutic actions in the body and become more connected and effective as herbalists. In this workshop we will discover what the plants are communicating to us through their tastes, as we explore the properties of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, aromatic, astringent, diffusive and more! *Please bring water to drink.”

Wayward Weeds and Wild Bounty

Explore the humble, weedy plants growing all around us. In a world where exotic and/or at-risk species quickly become trendy and overharvested, this walk will focus instead on our prolific, abundant friends such as plantain, dandelion, mullein and burdock.


Tiffany Wyse

Herbs in Pregnancy & Parturition – A Doula’s Bag

In this workshop we will discuss the use of herbs & nutrition during pregnancy and for common concerns that may arise during this time. A doula notebook will be provided as a reference guide noting specific herbs for use during the childbirth process.

Using Herbal Medicine for the Treatment of Children

In this workshop we will discuss using herbs for common childhood conditions. We will consider herbal medicines to support the constitution of the child during illness rather than using substances to “attack” the illness itself. When we use herbs to strengthen the immune system and encourage the body to eliminate toxins, a child may be guided through an illness with little complication and regain health & vitality with ease.