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May 8, 2017

“Edible Plants” foraging workshop offered May 23

Contributed Photos
Instructor for the May 23 class, Tim MacWelch honed his extensive wilderness survival skills and his love of the outdoors growing up on a farm in the rolling hills of Fauquier County.
Deep-fried dandelions can take a bite out of your lawn’s weed problems.
A free workshop, “Foraging for Wild Edible Plants,” will take place Tuesday, May 23, in the arboretum at Rady Park in Warrenton.

Survival skills expert Tim MacWelch will lead the workshop, starting at 6 p.m.

The Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Fauquier and Rappahannock County Master Gardeners will present the event.

Mr. MacWelch will share ways to safely identify edible plants, trees and shrubs in the wild. His lecture will also cover:

• Native uses of wild plants.

• Collecting and sampling wild plant foods.

• Identification of harmful plants.

• Finding safe locations to collect and forage.

• Understanding practical and historical usage of trees and shrubs for shelter, making a fire or other survival needs.

Following the lecture, Mr. MacWelch will conduct a guided walk through the arboretum, identifying choice wild edibles from among the 50 trees and shrubs.

“I think many people may be surprised by the bounty of edible trees, shrubs and plants that are commonly found in our parks, fields, forests and our backyards right here in Fauquier County,” he said. “Even common backyard weeds, such as dandelion, chickweed and plantain, are edible and can be both nutritious and delicious.

“But before you eat or drink any wild plant, it is critically important to know exactly what the plant is. A mistaken identification can result in sickness or even worse.”

Mr. MacWelch founded Advanced Survival Training, a local business that provides a wide range of outdoor skills, including foraging, trapping, tracking and wilderness survival. He has been an active practitioner of survival and outdoor skills for more than 30 years and has provided outdoor skills training for more than 20 years to law enforcement agencies, search and rescue units, all branches of the U.S. military, the State Department and other agencies. He also has written five survival books, three of them New York Times bestsellers. He contributes regularly to Outdoor Life magazine, OFFGRID magazine and numerous websites.

The “Foraging for Wild Edible Plants” class is part of the Fauquier Master Gardeners’ Twilight Tuesdays program, a series of horticultural classes held from spring to fall each year for the community. Taught by horticultural experts and seasoned Master Gardeners, the workshops cover a range of topics – from gardening techniques and tips to advances in environmental and conservation issues.

The program is free and open to the public, rain or shine. It will last up to two hours. It is recommended to wear comfortable shoes for the guided walk. To register or for more information, contact the Master Gardener Help Desk at 540-341-7950, ext. 1, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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