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Edible & Medicinal Plants of Rocky Mountain National Park

Jul 28, 2023

Join naturalist Leanne Benton for an exploration of the many useful (and a few dangerous) plant species found throughout Rocky Mountain National Park!

Not only are Rocky’s plants diverse and beautiful, but many species have been part of the grocery store and pharmacy of earlier peoples, and are still used today. We will explore these edible and medicinal species with a focus on their identification, current and historic usage as food and medicine, preparation techniques, ethical harvesting and conservation. We will also discuss some toxic species to avoid! We will meet at the Estes Park Visitor Center and travel together to various sites in Rocky Mountain National Park in Conservancy vehicles. Registration includes all required fees and permits for Rocky Mountain National Park.

Participants will:

1) Acquire skills in identifying native and non-native edible and medicinal plants found in the southern Rocky Mountains, as well as toxic species to avoid.

2) Learn about common, traditional, and historic uses of wild plants; plant parts used, and methods of preparation for food and medicine.

3) Understand the importance of plant conservation, ethical harvesting, and safe use of wild plants.

Who: Participants ages 16 and up

When: Friday, July 28, 2023, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Estes Park Visitor Center, 500 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, and various field locations in Rocky Mountain National Park

What to bring: 10 Essentials for Field Courses, sack lunch, notebook and pen or pencil, hand lens, your favorite guidebooks (optional).

This is a Level II course. Expect short-distance walks throughout the day, primarily on level terrain. Courses proceed rain or shine!

Conservancy members get 15% off individual registration when you use the discount code in your membership email! Enter your code and select “Member Registration” tickets at checkout. Limit 2 per membership.

Not a member of the Conservancy? Learn more and join here: Conservancy Membership

For questions about membership, please contact memberprocessing@rmconservancy.org or call 970-586-0108.

For questions about the course, please contact education@RMConservancy.org or call 970-586-3262.

About your instructor: Leanne Benton is a former ranger-naturalist in Rocky Mountain National Park and has led wildflower walks in the park for over 25 years. She has studied and photographed the park’s wildflowers since her first summer in the park, and continues to expand her botanical knowledge, most recently into edible and medicinal uses of plants.

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