Immersion Course Information

  • In-Person Learning

    Learn the basic field skills you need for safely using edible wild plants of our bioregion during these in-person guided walks. Each season you will learn how to identify a variety of flowers, fruits, and foliage of plants in their habitats and practice identifying familiar ones in different stages of growth. You will learn edible uses and sustainable harvesting techniques and practices for a variety of plants on each walk. Plant species lists for 10-12 of the plants covered each class will be provided prior to each walk. At each walk, Pat will provide samples of edible wild plant treats which you will have the option of tasting, so please bring hand wipes/sanitizer, a reusable cup, and napkin.

  • Dates and Times

    Edible Wild Plant walks are held on select Saturdays from 1 pm – 4 pm (CST) for this morning session. The Spring starting series includes a total of four walks during the months of April, May, June, and July. 2021 Spring Series Dates are: Saturday, 4/17/21 * Saturday, 5/15/21 * Saturday, 6/19/21 * Saturday, 7/17/21 . **** Locations in the western suburbs of Chicago will be provided to students upon registering. **** These guided walks are for in-person participation and hands-on experience, they are not virtual. >>>>>>A summer series is also available. Receive a discount when you register for both!<<<<<<<<<

  • Need to Know

    Dress for the weather! Walks will be held rain or shine (if there is a need to cancel a walk due to dangerous weather, you will be notified by the instructor and a rain date will be offered). * Bring one edible and one standard plant, tree and shrub identification book. * You are encouraged to bring a notebook, journal, or camera for recording plant information, observations, and photos. * Covid precaution practices will be required, so be sure to wear your mask and respect physical distancing requirements * You may also wish to bring a reusable water bottle and a basket for plant harvesting when permissible


Edible Wild Plants Field Immersion

Edible Wild Plants Instructor

Pat Armstrong

Patricia Armstrong has a Master of Science degree from the University of Chicago in Ecology (Biology-Botany). She taught multitudes of nature classes at the Morton Arboretum in Illinois for 17 years, plus Botany, Ecology, and Geology at the University of Wisconsin Extension, and Michigan State University's Juneau Icefield Research Program in Alaska. Pat's knowledge and understanding of all things wild and free comes from a life-long personal and intimate relationship with Nature that is passionate as well as scientific. She lives in a home she and her husband designed and built to fit into the natural ecosystems of northern Illinois. It is active and passive solar, energy-efficient, and landscaped with over 300 species of native trees, shrubs, prairie grasses, and wildflowers, approximately 40% of which are edible. Pat is actively involved in living joyfully with Nature. She runs a consulting firm, PRAIRIE SUN CONSULTANTS, to educate and assist others in appreciating and using native plants and wild edible plants in home landscaping. She is the co-founder of her local chapter of Wild Ones, which also promotes and educates people on native plants and natural landscapes. Pat teaches invaluable skills in Plant Identification, and her Edible Wild Plants students rave about all the fun recipe ideas they're inspired to try using plants they can find right outside their homes!


  • Where are the walks held?

    Because some walks are held on private property, locations will be sent to students upon registration. All walks are within a 20 minute drive from Naperville.

  • What should I bring to class?

    Book for EDIBLE Plant ID, Book for tree and shrub ID, Mask, Hand Wipes/Sanitizer, Backpack and gear for weather: Coat, Hat, Rain Jacket, Boots, Umbrella, Sunscreen, Insect repellant, extra shoes/clothes, Camera. Notebook/Nature Journal & writing/drawing utensil(s), Water Bottle, Reusable Cup & Napkin, Paper bag or basket for plant harvesting

  • What is your weather policy?

    Walks will go unless weather conditions are deemed unsafe at the designated walk location and time by the instructor. Students are expected to show up on location for the walk unless notified otherwise by the instructor. There may be the option to wait for bad weather to pass so the walk can still take place. If necessary, rain dates will be 1:00 -4:00 pm CST the Sunday following the originally scheduled walk. Should the rain date not be viable as well, refunds for the missed walk, not the season, will be available.

  • What books do you recommend for EDIBLE plant identification?

    Field Guide to North American Edible Wild Plants, Thomas S. Elias & Peter A. Dykeman *** A Field Guide to Edible wild Plants of Eastern & Central North America, Lee Peterson *** The Forager’s Harvest, Samuel Thayer *** Nature’s Garden, Samuel Thayer *** Incredible Wild Edibles, Samuel Thayer

  • What tree, shrub and plant identification books do you recommend?

    A Field Guide to Trees & Shrubs: Northeastern and north-central United States and Southeastern and south-central Canada (Peterson Field Guide) *** Forest Trees of Illinois, Robert H. Mohlenbrock *** National Geographic Field Guide to the Trees of North America *** The Tree Identification Book, George W. D. Symonds *** Wildflowers and Weeds: A guide in full color, James H. Zimmerman & Booth Courtenay *** A Field Guide to Wildflowers: Northeastern and north-central America, (Peterson Field Guide)

  • Where should I purchase the books for the class?

    We suggest trying to support a local bookstore, or order from the publisher if possible. In 2018, Amazon made $11 billion in profits before taxes, paid no taxes, and received a $129 million tax rebate (60% of what it donated)...If you do purchase through Amazon, we suggest you purchase a used book. Also, The Resiliency Institute is happy to share in the $215 million global donations (2% of total Amazon profits) of half of one % of your purchase total if you go through the extra steps to use Amazon Smile and list us as your selected charity - Thank you.