Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ethnobotany Project- "making it with your hands"

This spring I have been teaching an ethnobotany course at Whatcom Community College that focuses on many plants of cultural importance to Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest. My philosophy is that ethnobotany is a subject best learned—at least in part—experientially, and so the course incorporates a number of field trips and labs that allow students to taste and feel the plants we are examining. Each student is also responsible for an ethnobotany project, which is often some kind of food, fiber, or tool that they study and manufacture.

Below are photographs of a few projects that impressed me.

Nick's obsidian (left 3) and flint (right most) arrow heads.

Jason's adze. The handle is made of Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) and the steel blade is attached with the roots of Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata).

Robin's basket is made from the inner bark of Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata).

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