Photos courtesy of Faye Rodgers
Thank you to our special guests at today’s “Handy, Helpful Herbs” workshop! It was a glorious day at the nature center for sharing the joys of our nature trails and learning about historical uses of our native plants from knowledgeable docent, Shirley Pratt.

The programs at the Nature Center every 3rd Saturday of the month are FREE and open to the public. The trails are open year-round, so don’t miss a chance to visit this remarkable facility!

(Photos courtesy of Johnny Sigler)
The 3rd Saturday Morning at South Fork for May dawned bright and beautiful, perfect weather day for a trail walk! Although few in number, visitors arrived with high anticipation for Handy, Helpful Herbs of South Fork, the walk led by docent Shirley Pratt.

The group met at the Riddle Log Cabin for a welcome and introductions and a quick look at a reference list for future research on their own. Then off to the cedar glade trail! Some handy food trees along the trail included white oak for acorns to roast, hickory for nutty treats, pine for flour made from the inner bark. The group discovered some unexpected medicinal qualities of the dogwood, whose bark has been used as a fever reducer; the wild black cherry’s bark was used as an expectorant for congestion; and the eastern red cedar multi-tasked as a strong diuretic, insect repellent, source of vitamin C, as well as a treatment for itchy skin, not to mention fence posts!

Helpful plants on the forest floor were little wild onions, nature’s tasty but powerful antibiotics. Goat’s rue was discovered on a rock ledge, a plant used by Native Americans in stream pools to stun fish for an easy catch for supper. So many interesting plants were encountered! Back at the cabin, the group relaxed around the picnic tables as they were introduced to surprisingly handy and helpful common “weeds” probably growing on their own property! What a great day!

Come out every 3rd Saturday April through November and discover the many faces of South Fork, meet new friends, and learn new things about the wonderful world of nature in your own backyard!