Archive for the ‘Land Restoration & Wildscaping’ Category

The Healing Terrain: Coming Home to Nature’s Medicine

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Now Available, Plant Healer’s Newest Book:

Coming Home to Nature’s Medicine

by Jesse Wolf Hardin
with Kiva Rose, David Hoffman, Phyllis Light, Robin Rose Bennett, Juliet Blankespoor, & Dara Saville
Foreword by Judy Goldhaft (Planet Drum Foundation)

309 pages, 8.5×11” B&W Softcover – $29

Click here to Order: Healing Terrain Book

The Healing Terrain front cover 72dpi

“Rightfully at the core of all Natural Healing is nature, from the herbs it provides to the positive healthful examples it offers.  By deepening our conscious relationship with the land, we create the opportunities and conditions for increased sensual engagement and creature awareness, empowerment and self-authority, uninhibited pleasures and fun, and greater effectiveness at nearly everything we might try to do in life.”    –Jesse Wolf Hardin

I’m excited to announce the release of the third book in our healing trilogy, “The Healing Terrain,” written with my partner Jesse Wolf and our Plant Healer allies Phyllis Light, David Hoffman, Juliet Blankespoor, Robin Rose Bennett and Dara Saville.  I’ve watched for the past year as Wolf searched out the most amazing photographs and art, and placed them in the most visually pleasing ways, illustrating inspiring content about the art of wildcrafting and growing herbs, biorgional herbalism, plant natives and “invasives,” the healing powers of nature, becoming more native, rewilded and empowered as healers, and connecting with place.  Those of you who know my personal story, know how crucial my canyon home and its native medicinal plants have been to the healing of my body, mind and spirit.  Along with the other two titles in this trilogy (“The Plant Healer’s Path” and “The Enchanted Healer”), “The Healing Terrain” strives to provide insights and tools for your own deepening connection with the source of all medicine and healing: this living earth.

Judy Goldhaft and Peter Berg, directors of Planet Drum. ©2009 IWe’ve been blessed to have Forewords to our other books written by herbalists like Matthew Wood and Phyllis Light, but this time we reached out a little further, and are thankful to have one penned by Judy Goldhaft.  Judy and her life partner Peter Berg have been two of the greatest influences on what we have come to know as “bioregionalism”: the practice and art of living sustainably in place.  Back around the time the pioneering “Whole Earth Catalog” was featuring the first photo of our planet taken from outer space, San Francisco was coming alive with social and eco activism, and Judy was busy using dance and theater to raise consciousness and inspire change.  From her work with the Diggers to directing the wonderful Planet Drum Foundation, she has lived a life and done the work that makes her the perfect person to introduce our book.  Her complete Foreword follows, along with the table of contents.  Your order will be shipped direct from our printer, CreateSpace, sparing us storage and shipping.  Hope you love it!

Thank you.   –Kiva Rose

Ainu Snyder quote poster

Foreword to The Healing Terrain

by Judy Goldhaft

It’s always amazing to pick up a book and discover it is not the book you expected.  Jesse Wolf Hardin said he had put together a book about using plants in healing and healing the places plants live.  Sounded simple, interesting and very bioregional.  But the book is a deeper more inclusive investigation than Jesse’s brief description. The book is a journey for those who have forgotten how important place is, and a handbook for developing an awareness to relate to a place while becoming a more balanced and whole person.

girl and deer 72dpi

The Healing Terrain recognizes the importance of a life-place (bioregion) to our beings and our health. The book begins with a deep exhortation to the reader to discover his or her own place as the first step in healing oneself, becoming a healer or becoming a complete person. It challenges the reader to recognize their personal place and to refocus for a more meaningful life, and then provides the tools to do this.  There are lists throughout the book to help actualize practical manifestations of the abstract ideas, helping the reader travel beyond the philosophical discussions of place and rootedness to actually experiencing and delighting in their bioregion.

amazing-garden-flowers 72dpiThe word bioregion represents a deceptively simple idea. The concept realigns priorities so humans are contained within the place (bioregion) — not governing or exploiting it. This simple notion opens up the possibility that the whole interdependent ecosystem could become the basis for a society’s decisions. This deeper understanding of a bioregional outlook is reflected in the importance that “Rights of Nature” are being given in South America.  New social mores are emerging which are entwined with the natural world.

Living with the planet requires diversity, adaptability, creativity, and self-regulation. Within this book difficult questions are dissected, examined, and considered from a multitude of perspectives. There are bold in-depth discussions of the tangled questions about living with other species and the authors are fearless in considering all topics — including wildness, bodily functions and sex. The tone of the conversations is always balanced and inviting, never preachy or judgmental.

Man hugging Basil 72dpiThe voices in this book come from people who have been putting bioregional sensibilities in the center of their lives for years. The community presents a series of personal approaches to universal ideas. They are deeply rooted where they live and encourage you also to become aware of your bioregion, in a very deeply understanding way.  They provide guidelines to reconnecting to the earth and personal heightened awareness while welcoming diversity and recognizing how difficult it is to do this.  The two main voices balance and fulfill each other. Jesse Wolf speaks poetically yet in-depth about historic, social, scientific and political considerations and analysis; Kiva Rose weaves a fabric of personal experiences and direct observations that she shares openly with ingenuousness and heartfelt warmth. They provide different paths and explanations to access the information and heart of this work.  From the section “The Healing Roots of Home”:

“On a practical level, to live bioregionally is to acknowledge and participate in the ecosystem we are a part of, rooted – in a very literal sense – in the land that we live on. What this means will vary according to the needs of the land in a particular area, whether it is establishing trees or restoring the soil… or simply helping maintain the diversity that already exists with careful harvesting practices and a prayerful attitude towards the spirit of the land.”

House with Roots 72dpi

The book itself has been thoughtfully put together, its format a manifestation of the ideas being expressed. The pictures and quotations are intrinsic aspects of the book. Each reiterates the ideas and could be the subject for meditation or rumination. This collection of philosophizing, musings, experiences, graphics, epigrams, and quotations reinforce each other and produce a balanced whole. It doesn’t just encourage “a vital return to balance,” the book itself is a balance—of head and heart, scientific and experience, words and graphics — a truly accessible set of information on many levels.

The Healing Terrain is like a long love poem to a bioregion — water is treated as a lover, there is a love affair with the geology, plants are longtime companions, etc. Be prepared to fall in love.

Click here to Order: Healing Terrain Book

Elka gathering wild herbs and food in a misty S.W. forest.

Elka gathering wild herbs and food in a misty S.W. forest.

The Healing Terrain Contents

I.    Nexus: Grounds For Healing
Jesse Wolf: The Journey Home: The Call to Stay & The Call to Roam
II.    Rooting – Where We Are, & Where We Most Belong
Jesse Wolf: Tips For Cultivating Sense of Place
III.    Grounding – A Geology of Place
Kiva Rose: The Weedwife – Coming Home, Weedy Ways
IV.    Healing Waters – Sweet Medicine, Hydrotherapy & River Tales
Jesse Wolf: Creating an Organic Calendar
Kiva Rose: The Ripening Fruit – Living With The Seasons
V.    Bioregions – Defining, Being Defined By & Drawing FromStellaria 72dpi
Dara Saville: Place-Based Herbalism – Practicing at The Crossroads of The Southwest
Kiva Rose: The Healing Roots of Home – My Journey Into Bioregional Herbalism
VI.    The Landed Healer – Finding, Purchasing & Restoring Land
Jesse Wolf: 15 Tips For Wildlands Restoration
Jesse Wolf: Strategies For Land Protection
Kiva Rose: Reading The Leaves – Learning The Names & Ways of  Plants
VII.    Building a Relationship With a Plant
Juliet Blankespoor: Planning Your Healing Garden
Dara Saville: Gardening Natives –  Reflecting the Wildlands in Your Medicine Garden
Kiva Rose: Deep As Root & Song – Wildcrafting
VIII.    Plant Adventuring
Jesse Wolf: Herbaria: The Importance & Joy of Plant Collections
Kiva Rose: In The Pines – Pleasure & Healing From an Ancient Tree Ally
IX.    In Balance – Invasive Species, Natives, Healing & Wholeness
Jesse Wolf: Guidelines & Reminders
Robin Rose Bennett: The Terrain of Home – The Healing Land, Commitments of Love
Kiva Rose: Sustainable Wildcrafting & Foraging – Tending The Wildest Garden
X.    ReIndigination – The Necessity of Learning to Become Native Again
Phyllis Light: The Geography of Healing
XI.    An Ecology of Healing – Treating The Body As An Ecosystem, & The Ecosystem As A Body
David Hoffman: Deep Ecology, Deep Healing – Herbalism’s Place In The Living Whole
Kiva Rose: The Cartography of The Heart – Finding The Road Home
XII.    ReWilding – Unleashing The Wild Empowered Healer
Kiva Rose: Spiraling Deeper
XIII.    The Blooming – Growing, Thriving, Spreading Our Seeds


Shrooms & Ferns poster

Click here to Order: Healing Terrain Book

(Thank you for reposting and linking to this announcement!)

Riparian Restoration: Willow Planting 2010

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Our Sanctuary partner Van of Stream Dynamics led volunteers from Upper Gila Watershed Alliance, Sky Island Alliance and Anima Center in planting 550 willow starters on Forest Service land downriver from us, with permits kindly facilitated by John Pierson and Justin Schofer of the Reserve Ranger District.  Willows have spread effectively northwards (upriver) from our rewilded private inholding, primarily spreading by root and no longer assisted by us.  Downriver, however, there remain a lot of uncovered and untethered river banks, one section of which is now thickly planted with willow starters.  These bank stabilizing trees are so hardy, that any branches pruned off have a high likelihood of growing into whole new trees when stuck a foot or more into moist sandy ground.

In this first photo are the plantings the day they were placed, thanks to the hard work of the land-loving volunteers.

In the second, we see the same stand one month later, already leafing and branching out.  All of the environmental consciousness and Mother Earth bumper stickers in the world won’t do for the planet or ourselves what a single direct action, restored park or yard or planted heirloom garden will.  Groups like the UGWA and Sky Island count on volunteers such as yourselves, to find meaning and satisfaction in giving their time to make real their priorities and beliefs.  Heartful Hand-Work.

Confrontation and resistance have their place in any movement or cause, as do education, litigation and legislation.  What is great about watershed restoration in comparison, is that it benefits all manner of land user or owner and can therefore enlist the support and even assistance of a wide range of folks.  The same revegetation that lessens erosion and contributes to wildlife habitat and proliferation, is also the best known means for ensuring the continuance and purity of surface water for human use.

Our gratitude to everyone that came this year to help out, and we look forward to future groups.

-Jesse Wolf Hardin & Family

Anima School and Botanical Sanctuary

The Greening: Nature’s Insistence and the ReWilding Within – by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Sunday, May 16th, 2010


Nature’s Insistence and the ReWilding Within

by Jesse Wolf Hardin

When I was a relatively impressionable teenager, I remember reading a book by a sociologist named Reich I believe, titled “The Greening of America.”  In it, the overly optimistic author outlined a future in which the progressive values and rich diversity of the 1960’s and early 70’s would continue and grow, with wall street executives increasingly exchanging their suit ties and dress shoes for sandals and Nehru shirts, giving their energies to green ventures that would benefit humankind and the planet.  While current events continue to belie such hopes, there is indeed a visible greening, one that will one day recolor and recolonize our sterile asphalt and concrete habitats, and one that has its way in nature each Spring that thankfully comes around.  Wherever you are, far north or heated south, mountains or coast, you have joined us in witnessing the uplifting seasonal changes by now.

Since my May 1st update, the bare Cottonwood trees have nicely filled out, with leaves wh0se green has the yellowish tint of arboreal youth.  They show up nicely in the photograph above, taken on the trail approaching the forested line of the Anima Sanctuary proper.  The comparatively barren scrubland in the foreground, gives you an idea of how the entire canyon looked prior to my moving here and initiating its protection from livestock grazing and land gobbling developers.  As you’ve seen and will see in other pictures, along the river the vegetation has now spread to over a mile from this land where the greening first began.

Here we are looking downriver from the new 6th crossing, just inside the Sanctuary gate that Van, our partner in rewilding this place, has installed.  None of the 100 feet tall Cottonwoods that you see, and none of the 4 species of willow were here until I made their return possible with an ornery attitude and loving heart.

These leaves are from the narrowleaf cottonwood, one of the main two varieties found here in the canyon.

The second type we have are the Fremont cottonwoods, seen here between the 6th and 7th river crossings.

In the pic above is the 7th crossing, greened out, and hard to tell the river was raging chest deep through here a month ago.  Hard to tell, even, where the jeep-wide trail exits the water on its difficult and winding way to town.

The edible wild mustard has grown 2 feet tall since it first sprouted during the uncharacteristic late rains.

The local strain of Honeysuckle have prospered as well, and have just now begun blooming.  How sweet it is!

The roots of the wild Grape I helped plant and spread here, continue to grow all Winter long, supporting ever longer vines tipped by fresh sprigs like we see in the pic.

Thanks to all the water they got, plants like this Ragwort are blooming early.

And acting as the strongest perfume in this heady canyon embrace, is the now leafy Currant bush.  Thanks to their proliferation, walking through the mid May Sanctuary is like a trip through a pastry shop or organic fruit market.

The healing and prospering of this land and ecosystem is in part a result of our 3 decades of effort, but it was in another sense inevitable.  The spirit that drives me as its care-taker is the same that drives its ever more varied selection of flora and fauna, doing my best – like the dandelion-looking Silver Puffs – to seed the world with irrepressible wildness and endless expressions of nature’s truth and beauty.  It’s only right that we help the process along in every way that we can, but on the other hand it is the wondrous greening that will in the end prevail with or without us.

The exciting option, then, is to be a conscious and deliberate part of this continuing process, exceeding rigid customs and laws and imagined inadequacy the same as the plants break through layers of concrete in their hunger for life and light.  There will be a “Greening of America,” one day returning the continent to its garden splendor, flowering even in the middle of our cities at the start of every Summer until then, and growing its seditious and wondrous wildness within the best of each of us.


(for information on Anima Lifeways and Healing BOOKS and COURSES click here)

(Please forward and post freely)

The Humbling Unpredictability of a River’s Form and Course – by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Saturday, April 24th, 2010


The Humbling Unpredictability of a River’s Form and Course

by Jesse Wolf Hardin

One thing about river morphology, is that is only in the broadest terms predictable.  We can predict what events might lead to the water curving or diverting at a certain point in the landscape, and we can bet that a stream devoid of bank-stabilizing plant life due to overgrazing or other causes, will tend to straighten out and speed up, with less saturation of the earth nearby.  What is a continual surprise is how a high water event will alter the streamflow.

Without constraining dams or concrete channels, a river does whatever it wants… and as with certain people, it can prove unwise to assume we know what will or won’t trigger a certain mood, or result in a certain reaction.  Like a willful child, just when you think you know what it will do next, the river will do something entirely unexpected and seemingly improbable or even unreasonable.  One flood may fill in a channel with silt and debris, while the next one might strip it bare or dig it deeper.   It can remain within the same bed for years and then suddenly jump to another, straightening out a lovely meander or suddenly begin weaving thanks to a fallen tree or rockslide.  One time, the river might swirl and excavate a ten feet deep swim hole that lasts even through the Summer months of hot days and low flow, a delight to dive into from the rocky cliffs… but another time, it will shift away from the rocks and leave us with nothing to leap into but a fresh pile of wet sand.  Willows may be ripped up from one stretch, as a Spring season’s snowmelt gobbles up the banks, but then a short while later reappear along the new water’s edge, springing up from a vast an insistent mat of roots that survive every fickle shift in river height and path.  I assure you, the ultra attentive resident of decades is still regularly surprised.  Even the shaman – who usually perceives and predicts the unfolding patterns of weather, human events and the intentions of an inspirited land – must nonetheless be humbled by a wild river’s unexpected course.

This year’s mountain run off has been no exception, and after two months of our having to wade out through high flow, it has now dropped enough to un-curtain a river unrecognizable in places.  Nothing illustrates this more than the area by our green Anima Sanctuary gate.  A gate, of course is meant to be a point of ingress and egress for walking visitors and our supply laden jeeps.  Ours, along with the plethora of Anima School, United Plant Savers and No Trespassing signs no longer face a drivable trail but a branch of flowing river, and what used to be our sixth crossing coming in is now no longer.  In the photo below, the gate can be seen in the center of the image, to the right of what is the new river channel.

We would have no objection to any new way that the rewilding canyon shapes up, if not for the need to be able to get a jeep in at least part of the year.  Food and mail can be transported in backpacks the 2 miles from the Sanctuary to the pavement, but the blocks of ice we need for refrigeration during the hot Summers can’t survive the hike, and over the years it has gotten less and less doable carrying full propane tanks in on a frame strapped to our backs.  With the ever denser conglomerates of thick willow forest and accumulating driftwood, options the sixth crossing have all but disappeared among the impenetrable rows of 15 feet high willows and young 100 feet high cottonwoods.

Thanks to water dropping to thigh deep, yesterday we managed to drive all the way to the cabins for the first time in 9 weeks.  Note that I said “managed,” as it was indeed a well considered and intrepidly carried out system, requiring 3 radically raised vehicles, an offroading paraplegic project foreman (“Little Brother” Ryan, pictured below), 2 strong backed adventure loving boys and a red bearded anti-roads author to alternately cheer and grumble.  Even with Samurais and our Jeep “The Beast,” we still managed to get stuck in the river over a dozen times getting in and out, each time sucked down by wet silt reminiscent of the explorer-gobbling quicksand seen in old B movies.

Our chosen path stays out of the floodplain for longer stretches, and will result in a larger portion of the Sanctuary proper being able to re-grow where the old track used to be, but the crossings themselves are still many weeks away from being solid enough to drive over without a 50% chance of bogging.  The plan for now is to try and ride in as far as the well discussed sixth, and then carry everything the remaining few hundred yards up over the precipitous “Winter Trail.”  The next test will come tonight, as I shuttle Resolute in for a week stay, no doubt hooting and hollering as we make our brave splash.

P.S.:  I’d like to take this time to welcome our many new Foundations in Western Herbalism and Journey Begins correspondence students.  Your responses since their recent release have been very gratifying for all of us here, and we hope the will continue to serve you well.  You can expect a series of pieces on various aspects of healing here, as well as increased coverage of our homesteading and wildcrafting activities.

And a note to everyone: You will notice yet more updates to the Traditions In Western Herbalism Conference website, with a few more additions coming to the Anima site as well.  The site links to the course, retreat and events applications will be fixed, but until then please continue emailing us with requests for the right form for whatever it is that you are applying for.

Forever wild,

-JWH and Family

Nourishing The Sweetness of Spring -By Kiva

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

roseplate3sm.jpgRhiannon and I spent this evening inspecting our baby plants, part of our native flora re-introduction project we’ve been working intensively on for the last year. Funded by a generous USFWS grant, we are engaged in introducing native plants that will provide diversity, soil nutrition and forage for all canyon residents, whether four or two footed.

Walking barefoot beneath the Maples, Oaks and Junipers, we examined each little plant carefully for signs of growth and vitality. Rhiannon was very proud of each healthy baby, since she has been taking on the sizable responsibility of filling jugs from the river and watering many of the plantings with Loba’s help.

Although most of the trees we chose are still small, we were especially excited over the two and a half foot tall Saskatoon sapling that is already covered with beautiful white flowers! And to our delighted surprise, all of the seemingly delicate Hawthorn trees have not only survived but are sprouting rich, red-tinted foliage. The Elder trees have also exceeded all expectations, with even the tiniest four inch seedlings digging in and sending out leaves and branchlets. Wonderfully wild and nutrient rich Nettles are thriving on the forest floor, and Rhiannon and I stepped carefully among them to avoid being stung as we crouched down to look at each tiny flower or uncurling Wild Grape tendril.

As the sun slipped behind the canyon wall, we ran down the sandy trail to the river for one last splash among the Willows and Mugwort before heading back to the cabins for snacks and bed. Rhiannon danced her way back up to the mesa, her arms above her head and her skirts spinning wide. In the growing dark, we could hear the sweet trill of the tree frogs and lonesome call of the poor-wills. Below us, we feel the forest growing — drinking in sweet river water and extending soft leaves toward the rising moon.

The example of these wild, and willed, beings serves to remind me of my own core strength and innate knowledge. Every year, the plants teach me again what it means to drink in nourishment, sink my roots deep and unfold into my fullest self. Each Spring, I experience anew the exuberant expression of the earth bursting into flower, and feel myself fall further into her primal rhythms.