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Wild Wisdom 2024: A multi-season, hands-on foraging & cooking series covering ethical wildcrafting

Wild Wisdom Class at Awbury Arboretum

Wild Wisdom is a program designed to introduce some of the most common underutilized wild edible, medicinal, and craft plants of the Philadelphia bio-region, ancestral homeland of the Lenape/ Wingohocking people. This course will teach you to find, harvest, prepare, and cook wild foraged plants.

Wild Wisdom 2024 is offered as a 4-part 3-hour workshop series covering each season’s bountiful harvest: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Each class can be taken as a stand-alone class, or as a discounted 4-part series.

The classes will be offered on the following dates, with an optional and open community wild-food potluck to follow! Enjoy learning and developing new friendships with the wild plants and people of our community!

Spring – Sunday, April 21st: 11:00am – 2:00 pm
Potluck 2:30-4:30pm

Summer – Saturday, June 15th: 11:00am – 2:00 pm
Potluck 2:30-4:30pm, rain date Sunday, June 16th

Fall – Saturday, September 7th: 11:00am – 2:00 pm
Potluck 2:30-4:30pm, rain date Sunday, Sept 8th

Winter – Saturday, November 16th: 11:00am – 2:00 pm
Potluck 2:30- 4:30pm, rain date Sunday, November 17th

Each monthly 3-hour class will include in-class and in-field time to botanically identify, gather, and harvest useful plants with in-depth sharing on plants’ ecological, nutritional, medicinal, and cross-cultural usage, as well as hands-on time to prepare some of the plants to eat and drink, and for participants to take home. Students enrolled will receive a 4-season, full-color harvest calendar. Students enrolled in the 4-part series will also receive a 50-card full-color plant ID and recipe card deck during the first class. Those opting to register for individual classes will have the option to add on a recipe deck at time of enrollment!

Wild Wisdom Potluck

Join us 4 times a year – spring, summer, fall, and winter – after our Wild Wisdom class for a Community Potluck.

Connect with new friends over wild-foraged dishes, share knowledge about plants of our region, and enjoy delicious food prepared lovingly by the Awbury community. Potlucks will follow this year’s Wild Wisdom quarterly classes and will be a great opportunity for students to practice what they’ve learned in plant identification, cooking, and medicine making.

Everyone is welcome to join; participation is not limited to those who have been enrolled in classes!

Events may also include activities like plant or seed swaps, book swaps, medicine shares, etc.

Please bring a dish to share, labeled to include all ingredients. The dish does not have to include foraged ingredients. To be mindful of the earth, please bring your own reusable dish, bowl, cup and utensils.

For more information on Community Potlucks or to sign up, click here.

Wild Wisdom Class at Awbury Arboretum

Course History

WILD WISDOM is designed and taught by Alyssa Schimmel. The long-form 10-month program was founded in 2019 as an in-person and hybrid program in collaboration with Lynn Landes, founder of the Wild Foodies of Philly, and former Awbury Arboretum Executive Director Heather Zimmerman.

Alyssa Schimmel Wild Wisdom Instructor

Instructor Bio: Alyssa Schimmel

Alyssa Schimmel is a community herbalist, licensed massage therapist, gardener, grower, teacher, and forager passionate about sharing knowledge of regional food and medicine ways in community. She serves as the course designer and program lead of Many Hands Community Apothecary Herbal Aid Ed at The Farm at Awbury Arboretum, a mutual-aid herbal education program and community medicine network. She previously served as Education Director of The Philadelphia Orchard Project, where she developed the School Orchard Program serving 14 K-12 schools, and has collaborated with Awbury Arboretum teaching medicine making to youth of the Teen Leadership Program, catering seasonal dinners, and teaching medicine making and wild foods classes throughout the Philadelphia region. She has taught at institutions including Swarthmore College, Haverford College, The Village, Main Line School Night, and more. Her training includes studies through Wild Ginger Community Herbal Center, Sky House School of Herbal Medicine, Human Path school, Mountain Gardens, and formal study through David Winston’s School of Herbal Medicine.

Questions?  Please contact Alyssa at wildwisdom@awbury.org.


What past Wild Wisdom Students have to say about the course:

“​Now when I go for a walk in the city or a hike in the woods, I can identify and collect so many edible plants. We learned lots of different ways to use foraged plants including infused honey, wild green salads, medicinal tinctures and floral infusions.”


Wild Wisdom Participant

“Wild Wisdom is a wonderful nature course. I learned so much from this class – medicinal uses, crafting uses and the history of the plants. The class structure contains a “lecture” portion and practical hands on activity. It doesn’t matter if you know a lot or know nothing at all – this class is awesome!”


Wild Wisdom Participant

“The Foraging Intensive course has been amazing! I don’t remember enjoying a course I’ve taken as much as this one! It’s incredible how much we covered during the last several months. Each class is packed with so much information. All of the instructors – Lynn, Alyssa and Heather have been so generous sharing their extensive knowledge and experience. My classmates brought a wide range of experience that helped to expand my learning and appreciation for the class. This foraging intensive is well worth the investment. I would highly recommend it. I look forward to more classes with these wonderful teachers!”


Wild Wisdom Participant