Becoming a member of the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary Network has opened some doors to transformation for the Serpentine Project. In 2013, we will launch the Trillium Center and the Seed Gardens, which will include the Seed House.
The trillium is a three-petaled flower deep in the woods that wraps its seeds in what looks like a pat of butter. Ants carry these seeds, three times their size, and store them in their underground tunnels as food for the colony and its queen. Thus the flowers spread slowly through the woods, unlike the mayapples and partridgeberry dispersed by deer and birds. There are two species growing here, the common white trillium, some which may be as old as 50 years, and the rarer red trillium that was given as a gift from a friend on the Medicine Council for the Lenape Nation. Trilliums are at-risk of becoming endangered. As we work on this land, helping to restore the forests and growing gardens, we realize that the relationship between the trilliums and the ants is like the dream we are weaving of a place where people can come to find creation and creativity in the retreat from the buzz and the press of the cities. People will come here and carry away their own precious seeds and perhaps store them until the time comes for them to germinate and bloom into new projects and ideas.
At the Trillium Center people will learn folk arts through experiential skill building projects and workshops. The workshops will allow participants to create in a collective environment so they can apply these skills in their own communities. Currently, we have a list of people who are interested in teaching ceramics, dyeing with plant-based dyes, carpentry, creative gardening and cooking, outdoor skills such as building shelters and starting friction fires, and wildcrafting wild foods. We are seeking people who can teach a wide variety of skills that would include woodworking, painting, blacksmithing and tool making, wildcrafting plants to make cordage and baskets, making snowshoes, and other folk and healing arts. We believe that health and healing are intrinsically connected to artistic expression and hope to encourage people to integrate functional art and folk traditions into their healing process.
The Trillium Center workshop topics will complement the herbal medicine and wellness workshops that Leah Wolfe, founder of the Serpentine Project, currently teaches, which are offered locally and throughout the country where workshops are requested. Her philosophy holds that traditional approaches to healing, including plants, nature, and storytelling, support community health. Some of the workshop topics include Kitchen Medicine, Storytelling and Healing, The Ancient Art of Wildcrafting and Medicine Making. A full list is here: http://trilliumcenter.org/workshops/. The donations received at these workshops (less the expenses) are put into the seed fund for the Serpentine Project. Leah founded the Serpentine Project in 2009 as a botanical sanctuary and an educational endeavor to improve community health and resilience through plant medicine, education, and folk traditions. The botanical sanctuary has been accepted into the United Plants Savers Botanical Sanctuary Network and is taking on a life of its own. Meanwhile the educational aspect of the Serpentine Project will become the Trillium Center and the botanical sanctuary will be called the Seed Gardens.
The Seed House will be a place to plant seeds and nurture plants to share with the community while planting seeds in the hearts of our participants. The Seed House will be an educational program that launches in 2013. It will include monthly plant walks and seasonal workshops. The free plant walks will start with an introduction to the Serpentine Project and UpS. We will then take a tour of BLD farm to see the Native Plants Learning Garden, the Seed House, the food forests, and the wild forest.
The Seed House will be a two-part building: sunroom and greenhouse. Back in the 1950s, the Drennans lived here and ran a small dairy. What remains of that family business is a small barn and a concrete slab where what may have been a milk-processing room stood. That slab will serve as the sunroom’s foundation. The straw bale sunroom will have a timber frame sourced from our land, a passive solar design for winter warmth, a rainwater collection system for the greenhouse, and a bench thermal mass heater to dry plants and seeds and to provide a warm sunny place to go in the winter. A hoop-style greenhouse will attach to the sunroom, which will allow us to humidify the sunroom if needed.
Help us raise the funds to make this dream come true!
We need some help from our friends and plant friends in general to make this happen. Please make a donation via PayPal or send us a check or money order.
Send checks payable to Serpentine Project to:
c/o Leah Wolfe
715 Furnace Road
Conneaut, OH 44030
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