This collection of pebbles in a mountain stream called a website aims at a specific notion of reality and a particular way of seeing: that nature is multiplicitous, polyphonic, always churning, in process. Brooding, really, sitting on an egg. The persistent heat of transformation is what keeps a thing glowing and growing — a life, embers in a fire, irons burning hot.
Ars botanica, botanical arts. To narrow the theme of this meandering stream to "plants" would be constraining and limited. In studying nature we study ourselves, our culture – we reflect and stretch and grow like trees; we gain metaphor. We move to de-literalize the things around us, un-anaesthetize, re-imagine our place, be affected by beauty. We learn to participate in, create, beauty.
Beauty then is our purpose, is the pattern of pebbles more than the sum of their parts. Join me.
Joshua Paquette is a botanist and herbal educator who enjoys using immersion, poetry, story and metaphor to inspire people into the graces of green landscapes. Of particular interest to him is how our personal stories intersect with those of the wider Earth. Some big questions he likes to ponder are: How can the exploration of untamed places be used to foster the innate, wild genius living inside us? What do ritual, poetry, story and myth have to teach us about the analogical processes of nature, and vice versa? Joshua finds that engagement with natural landscapes coupled with in-depth observation often brings magic and empowerment to people’s lives; he aspires to share that sense of place with his community.
Joshua holds certification in herbalism from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism (NAIMH), as well as from the Columbines School of Botanical Studies. He began his study of the natural world in earnest in 2005 at the University of Maine, Orono where he was introduced to the craft of environmental education. Since then he has had the opportunity to work with some outstanding herbalists and botanists in the field. His time with Howie Brounstein and Steven Yeager at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Oregon has enlivened his passion for botany, ecology, and wildcrafting ethics. His studies with Paul Bergner at The North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in Boulder, Colorado revealed the powers of Vitalism as a therapeutic approach to healing as well as a way of living. Namely, that our body's innate intelligence does much of work, one has only to encourage the flames a bit and step out of the way (which is much more challenging than it sounds).
Joshua teaches workshops on herbalism, botany, plant poetics, wildcrafting ethics, myth and story. He co-teaches the summer-long field botany program at Mountain Herbalism, a Denver-based school owned by Adrian Mintzmyer. Joshua is a core faculty member at Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism in Lafayette, Colorado, where he teaches botany, nutrition, herbalism, and natural therapeutics.