Rocky Mountain Field Botany Retreat

July 2017 … Stay Tuned!

Our first Botany Retreat was at the T-Lazy-7 Ranch • Aspen, CO … we’re planning another for the Paonia area next summer … watch this space for updates!


Join us for 5 extraordinary days on a secluded ranch with abundant Aspen and Evergreen forests, streams, wildflowers, wildlife and beautifully maintained gardens full of native medicinal plants. Participate in Field Botany and Plant ID exercises, herb walks, primitive skills, wildcrafting workshops, and more. We will hold community gatherings in the eco-yurt, serve whole food community meals, and offer time in the evenings to relax with music, campfires and dancing!

The Rocky Mountain Field Botany Retreat will be held at the historic T Lazy 7 Ranch, which is just 3 miles outside of Aspen and one of the original ranches in Colorado. The ranch is managed to protect wildlife and botanical diversity, surrounded by wilderness and national forest. Pyramid Peak (elevation of 14,000 ft.) adjoins the renowned Maroon Bells, and can be seen from T Lazy 7 Ranch.

Registration is limited to 30 participants – be sure to register to reserve your space!



Retreat participants may camp on the land for the duration of the retreat.  Camping fee: $50. The camping meadow is located next to the eco-yurt, with stunning mountain views.

There is also an option to reserve rooms at a local affordable Aspen hotel, only a 3-mile drive from the ranch. Details will be posted soon.






Included in the retreat are four delicious organic whole food dinners, along with buffet-style breakfasts and lunches. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian options will be provided. Saturday night there will be an organic Western-style cookout at the Chuck Wagon grounds with fire circle, music and dancing.







  • CSCH Student Pricing: $350 (limited to 15 registrants)
  • General Public Pricing: $450
  • Camping Fee: $50
  • Hotel in Aspen TBA

(WHAT TO BRING & WEATHER DETAILS will be provided upon registration.)



Registrants must be 18 and older.  Sorry, we love children and dogs, but we cannot accommodate either at this retreat (nursing babes in arms may be an exception; please inquire).

Cancellation Policy:  Full refund, minus $50 cancellation fee,  before June 15.   No refund after June 15.





  • Arrive early afternoon
  • Set up camp in the High Meadow
  • Organic Dinner under the stars at 5:30pm
  • Orientation and Welcome Circle followed by Campfire, Talking Stick and Introductions

Thursday, Friday & Saturday

Morning Movement Activity, 7:30am

Self-Serve Breakfast, 8-9:00am

Morning Session, 9-12:30

  • Botany Hike with Keying and Plant ID
  • Introduction to local plant communities and ecology
  • Nature Awareness and Memory Exercises
  • Plant communication skills

Lunch & Siesta, 12:30-3

Afternoon Session, 3-5:30

  • Thursday: Plant Anatomy and ID
  • Friday: Wildcrafting and Harvesting
  • Saturday: Plant Medicine with Harvest

Community Dinner in the Yurt @ 6:30

Thursday & Friday Evening Circle @ 7:30

  • Community gathering
  • Herb of the Day
  • Music, stories, talking stick around the campfire
  • Coal Carved Spoons (Thursday), Primitive Fire-Making Skills and Cordage (Friday)

SPECIAL EVENT SATURDAY: Rocky Mountain Herbalist-style Hoe-down with local live music and BBQ at the Chuck Wagon




Self-Serve Breakfast 7-8am

Drive and Hike to Maroon Bells, 8-11am

Lunch, 11:30-12:30

Closing Circle, 1-2pm

Take Down Camp, 2-4pm




Field Botany


Through a combination of hands-on botany skills and exercises, this portion of the course is designed to give you the basic skills to identify and connect with the plant world around you.

The field botany mornings will include:

  • Botanical terms and descriptions
  • Botanical keying and identification
  • Families method of plant identification
  • Sense meditations
  • Plant connection exercises
  • Local plant ecology
  • Edible and medicinal applications of local herbs


IMG_4523Primitive Skills

Primitive skills, sometimes called traditional skills, are methods of making tools and art from the natural world. Found-fiber cordage, coal-burned spoons, fire-making, food gathering, and herbalism are some of the things we’ll approach from a primitive skills perspective.

During our retreat, we will incorporate primitive skills into our nightly campfire activities. We use these skills not only to show you another way to be connected to the Earth, but as a tool for tapping into self-awareness and creativity. Also, they’re just plain fun!







Kat Mackinnon, CH, CNKat Mackinnon, RH (AHG), CN

Kat is a Registered Herbalist through the American Herbalist Guild, as well as a Certified Clinical Herbalist, Certified Nutritionist, and Certified Bach Flower Essences practitioner through the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism.

She has worked as faculty for both the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism, as well as the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism, teaching classes on wild edible and medicinal plants, botany, anatomy and physiology, Materia Medica, medicine-making, plant connection, herbal first aid, and many others.

Originally from Connecticut, Kat has studied herbalism all over North America, most recently the Southwest. She has a great passion for sharing her love of plants as medicine, food, and more. She and her husband Simon live in Southern Connecticut, and between teaching and working, she spends her time wildcrafting, gardening, medicine-making, and walking in the woods.

JoshuaPaquette PhotoJoshua Paquette, CH

Joshua holds certification in herbalism from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism, as well as from the Columbines School of Botanical Studies. He began his study of the natural world in 2005 at the University of Maine, Orono where he was inspired 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 at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies has enlivened his passion for plant identification, ecology, and wildcrafting ethics. Joshua finds that immersion into the wild places of the world coupled with in-depth observation often brings a magic, inspiration, and empowerment to people’s lives. Joshua aspires to share that magic with others.


Lisa GanoraLisa Ganora, Director of CSCH

Lisa began studying herbs in the Wise Woman Tradition back in 1986 and fell profoundly in love with medicinal plants and natural healing. While studying wildcrafting and medicine-making with traditional herbalists from New England to the Appalachian Mountains for ten years, she began creating herbal products and travelled the festival circuit with an herb booth and as a workshop presenter.

In 1997 Lisa decided to study botany, chemistry, and health sciences at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, and graduated with highest honors and several awards. Lisa combines a deep understanding of traditional, Vitalist herbalism with a scientifically-integrated and holistic approach to natural health.

In addition to directing CSCH, Lisa is also an Adjunct Professor of Pharmacognosy at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona, and has lectured and taught classes at numerous schools and conferences around the U.S. S6he is the author of Herbal Constituents, the standard textbook of phytochemistry for herbalists. For more information, see Lisa’s CV at