When Women Were Trees: Remembering our Roots

Current enrollment: Closed. Fill out the short form below to be notified when registration re-opens.

Where: Several locations in Western MA and Southern VT/NH.

  • Winter/1st date: Buckland MA. Specific address will be shared a week beforehand.
  • Spring/2nd date: tba
  • Summer/3rd date: tba
  • Autumn/4th date: tba

When:  Once every season in 2020, 9:30am – 3:30pm:

  • January 25 (inclement weather date January 26th)
  • April 18 (inclement weather date April 19th)
  • July 11 (inclement weather date July 12)
  • October 17 (inclement weather date October 18th)

Who: Female-identified adults.

Cost: sliding scale $225 – $300 (the true cost is $265). Scholarships available.

 If you’ve ever felt, or heard, an invitation by a forest to enter into the embrace of its canopy of mysteries and delights, then you know how many stories are told in deep woods, when we take the time to enter, and to listen. 

In this four-season workshop, we will explore and further our awareness and understandings of nature through an ever-deepening relationship with trees and what they teach us about the natural world, and about ourselves. Tree identification, wild edibles, medicine crafting, basket making, animal sign, fire building, phenology (seasonal changes) and tree communication are some of the areas we will explore in depth together over the course of the year.

Women have always been intimately connected to trees. Traditionally, they have collected firewood for the hearth and home, crafted baskets from tree bark and needles, infused medicines from roots and twigs and blossoms and the fungi that grow on trees. They have harvested fruits and nuts and berries and sweet sap for sustenance. They have long known what multiple gifts trees offer and have learned to listen deeply to the infinite teachings of the forest.

Like women, trees support the network of life all around them. They shelter, feed, communicate and cooperate to support a healthy balance of the forest community in which they live. This course will offer us the opportunity to ask trees what we can learn from them and to remember and refresh our deep and abiding connection to the natural world.

A commitment to attending  all four sessions is required for this program.


What’s covered in this workshop?

The trees offer us so much to learn from that we could never fully explore the connections between women & trees in one workshop! That being said we will do our best to cover as much as we can. This workshop will cover some (and hopefully all!) of the following:

  • Sensory awareness activities and routines (sit spot, sense meditations, owleyes)
  • Tree communication (mother trees, chemical communication, mycelium network, dialogue with trees, etc)
  • Learning or deepening your fire building/fire by friction skills
  • Tree identification (winter bark/twigs/buds, summer leaves/flowers, fall mast/fruit)
  • Tea making using parts of trees (chaga, pine needle, birch twigs, etc)
  • Food making from trees (acorn flour, edible tree mushrooms, maple or birch sap, leaves, etc.)
  • Tree medicine such as double extractions from medicinal mushrooms
  • Understanding animal signs on trees such as identifying nests/roosts, dens, climbing marks, scent marking, feeding sign
  • Crafting with trees such as making birch bark containers, woodsy vessels, pine needle baskets (note that these are very time consuming so we’ll only cover them if the group as a whole agrees to)
  • Journaling, discussion, and other reflective practices

In your registration materials and in group discussions please let us know if there are particular things you’re excited to cover, or learning edges you want to explore! Kathy can work with you and the other women to offer lessons that balance the needs of the group and of each person’s individual learning journey.

Instructor Bio

Kathy Dean is has been teaching in the outdoor adventure and nature connection fields for more than 20 years. Together with Jean Bergstrom she co-founded Her Wild Roots, which offers nature education programs for women. She devotes most of her dirt time and study to animal tracking and bird language, as these are two of her biggest loves.


To register:

  1. Registration is currently closed. If you wish to be notified when it re-opens simply submit the short survey below.
  2. When it becomes available, fill out the registration form and be sure to click the SUBMIT button.
  3. Pay in full, or pay a $150 (non-refundable) deposit.
    • Make a secure online payment by credit card or Paypal by using the payment box at right. —>
    • OR
    • Send a check payable to “Vermont Wilderness School” to: VWS, PO Box 2585, Brattleboro, VT 05303.
  4. Complete a Medical Form by clicking the tab at the bottom of this page.
  5. Your spot is secure once we have received your registration and payment.
  6. Any remaining balance is due January 15, 2020.

See our scholarship and cancellations policy page for more information about payment.