Mycol Stevens has a masters in aquatic ecology and has worked as a restoration ecologist/botanist for the Florida Fish and Game across the state of FL since 2004. He has traveled much of Central and South America and Africa, and has learned from some of the best teachers including Frank Cook. Mycol has been teaching ethnobotany and edible mushrooms on the side since 2005. He also lives off-the-grid on an “ecocentric” permaculture homestead where he eats from the wild almost daily and propagates and cultivates his own organic foods. Mycol’s philosophy is to ween off the “system” and to eat your food as medicine. Mycol has been inspired by the Hostel since the mid 90’s and much of its philosophy is reflected in his way of life. Knowing the living world around you, connects you to the living world. Mycol hosts (Willing Workers On Oraganic Farms, (WWOOFers) at his finca. Contact him if you are interested in visiting. He also hosts an Earthskills gathering near the beginning of February every year.

Marc Williams is an ethnobotanist. He has studied plants intensively while learning to use them for food, medicine, biological conservation, and beauty. His training includes a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture from Warren Wilson College and a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies concentrating in Sustainable Development with a minor in Geography and Planning from Appalachian State University. Marc’s major research in graduate school focused on the most useful plants of Appalachia. However it is clear that a holistic appreciation of nature irrespective of utility will be necessary to create the new paradigm that are current global situation calls for. He has since spent significant time learning the plants of the Western U.S. and tropical regions as well. Marc has spent over a decade working at a multitude of restaurants, various farms, and travels throughout 23 countries in North/Central America and Europe and 49 of the United States of America. In those travels he has visited over 70 of the best botanical gardens in the world. He has taught hundreds of people about the marvelous lives of plants and their respective uses. Marc first came to the Hostel in the Forest in March of 1998 and was immediately transformed through a first time sweat lodge experience with Tom Dennard the hostel founder. Like Mycol many of the principles that make the Hostel in the Forest such a special place have informed his expression of life in this world ever since. Further info can be found at where an online botany class in the tradition of Frank Cook is conducted by donation.

Teachings will start Friday evening and end Sunday afternoon.

Workshops will include:

Botany 101 presentation, Wild Foods/Medicines walk, Super Food preparation presentation, Botanical Beach Walk, Fermentation Overview with Honey Mead Making and a Permaculture Ecological restoration talk

Botanical slide shows of various parts of the world including Latin America, Africa and Europe are also possible.

The cost will be $100 per person, which includes accommodations at the Hostel for the Friday and Saturday night as well as a beautiful vegetarian dinner on both nights. Make sure to call ahead to reserve your spot!!!

Bring your notebook, any relevant books you have, a camera, a loupe if you have one, water bottle, rain coat etc. Handouts will be provided.

“Teach a man to fish, ya got food for life. Let your food be your medicine.”

“The forests and fields are a table always spread” Henry Thoureau

Special Natural Basket Weaving Workshop

Nancy Gildersleeve is a north Florida basket maker working mostly with natural materials. She teaches at Florida State Parks, the John C.Campbell Folk School and at basket and gourd gatherings in the southeast. Her work can be seen at the Gainesville Artisan’s Guild, Gainesville, FL where she is a member. Nancy has been a core teacher at the FLorida EarthSkills Gathering the past two years but won’t be able to teach this year because of a conflict…so this would be agreat time to learn from her mastery skills at the Hostel. Pine needle baskets were made wherever long leaf pine trees grow, all over the Southeast. They are coiled baskets, held together by sewing with a needle and thread. In the Florida tradition the baskets were made with raffia, often embellished with fancy stitches. In her Friday day class you will learn to start the basket, shape its sides and finish the top. You’ll learn a variety of stitches and have a chance to look at a wide variety of basket styles and stitching materials. Arrive on Thursday and pay an additional $50 for one extra night accommodation and Nancy’s class.