Internationally-renowned bioregional herbalist Linda Conroy has signed on to teach three courses for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Continuing Education Institute this winter and spring.
Conroy, a practicing herbalist, owns the herbal business Moonwise Herbs located in Albion, Wisconsin. She is also the community organizer and founder of the well-known Midwest Woman's Herbal Conference, as well as the Mycelium Mysteries Conference, designed to teach women about locating and foraging wild mushrooms.
However, her path to plants was a passion that took years to cultivate and grow. In fact, Conroy worked for nearly 20 years as a social worker and holds two master's degrees, Master of Social Sciences and Master of Law and Social Policy. Yet, it was through her work as a medical social worker that she found her green thumb.
"One of my co-workers started teaching me about plants, and I got really intrigued and fascinated. So, then I started seeking out education myself," said Conroy.
Her love of learning led her to study under the tutelage of some of the top herbalists around the world. Slowly but surely, her passion for plants became her profession.
"I didn't start working with plants thinking this is going to be my career. It was more my passion, and then it started to turn into work," said Conroy. "I really dug in and studied because I want to be well-educated, and if I'm going to do this, I want to be responsible. I want to be thoughtful, so the information I give people is solid and trustworthy."
What has followed is more than two decades of sharing her knowledge with people around the country. This winter and spring, she'll teach three courses with the Continuing Education Institute. Two of the courses will focus on identifying and foraging plants with nutritional and medicinal benefits, while the third will be a hands-on demonstration on how to create a coiled basket out of sweetgrass.
- Wild Food & Wild Medicine Talk: Jan. 30, 10 a.m.-noon, via Zoom
- Coiling: Hands-on Sweetgrass Basket Making: March 12, 9:30 a.m-4:30 p.m., via Zoom
- Wild Food & Medicine Plant Walk: April 23, 9 a.m.-noon, Devil's Lake State Park
"We have a real trend of people who are foraging using apps to identify plants, and those apps are wrong a lot of the time," Conroy said. "So what I'm teaching people is to look at patterns, to learn to identify plants in the field and do field botany to make sure you're harvesting the plants that you intend and that you're mindful of what you're harvesting."
Anyone interested in taking one of Conroy's courses can visit Go.UWPlatt.edu/Enrichment.