Ana’s Intro

Salutations, my name is Ana and I’m a freshman student at UAF/UAA. I’m part Alaska Native from the lower Kuskokwim and Bristol Bay areas and have been foraging/gathering wild plants and berries for sustenance as part of our subsistence way of life since I was a little girl. Living in the city and studying for my degree, I realized that I wanted to learn more about wild flora for their medicinal qualities as well. I have ordered several books on wild plants of Alaska and the Northwest, and have been taking classes online as well as workshops on the continental west coast of the US. I’m very excited to have found this class, as most wild plant classes (for foraging or medicine) in Alaska have been cancelled or put on hold due to the pandemic. I’m a bit of a science head, so this class seems like the ideal elective for me. I hope to be able to apply what I learn here with what I’ve learned in the other plant classes, as well as the books relating to local flora.

Favorite plants? Hmmm, I find that I love birch and willow, so I guess I prefer deciduous trees to conifers. Wildflowers here in Alaska, probably Iris and Fireweed; it’s bittersweet because I love seeing fireweed, but the blossoms herald the end of sun and seasons. Berries, I think the Cloudberry and Nagoonberry; I pick blueberries and crowberries a lot as well, but that’s just part of our family foraging. Medicinal, I find I’ve used willow and plantain (I don’t feel experienced enough to use anything else just yet) more than anything, probably due to mosquito bites; those spit-poultices are mighty handy.

As far as gardening goes, my parents and grandparents had the green thumbs. My grandfather’s garden was lovely! I, however, have been cursed with a black thumb XD Well, I shouldn’t say that, I guess I’m just always so busy that I tend to forget about plants. I can keep kids and pets alive, but not plants just yet. I have a bamboo plant at work, but I only have to water it once a week, so it’s low maintenance. Everything else green and under my care has met an untimely death.

I would love to get into vegetable gardening, but I’m away too often in the summer for that to come to fruition. I enjoy outdoor recreation all year long, all the seasons, but I live for Alaska summers! Hiking, fishing (fly, spin, subsistence), camping, 4x4ing, sea-kayaking & whitewater rafting, berries, and that leads into fall hunting. I’m not home enough to tend a vegetable garden. *long sigh*, sad sauce.

It’s late, I wasn’t watching the time, and my dog is letting me know the lights need to be turned off (she’s so dramatic, *eye roll*). Talk to you later!

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