Medicinal Plant Symposium coming in May to Ozark Folk Center State Park

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The annual Medicinal Plant Symposium will be held at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, Arkansas on Saturday, May 14. Tickets are $87.75 and include an herbal lunch. Details and tickets are available at

This year the Committee of 100 for the Ozark Folk Center is sponsoring Helen Lowe Metzman for her presentation, “Native Medicinal Plants: Uses, Cultivation, Conservation, Connections and Ecology.”

Metzman says of her life work, “The nexus of natural history, ethnobotany, and environmental conservation has been a passion of mine since young adulthood. I have worked as a naturalist, artist and herbalist - specializing in medicinal plant gardening. As an educator and a prior director of Jim Duke’s Green Farmacy Garden, I have taught humans’ long and evolving history with plant medicine — the traditional uses, current scientific research, gardening with the plants and the urgency of plant conservation. While growing up, I was not exposed to the wisdom of herbal medicine but studied and deeply honored various cultures’ uses of native plants. As an elder now, I am committed to seeing that current and future generations learn to respect and to use all plant medicine with reverence — not only for themselves but also for the survival of the species and the biodiversity of ecosystems.”

Bo Brown is returning to teach Using and Preserving Wild Foraged Foods. Brown will be demonstrating his fermentation techniques. His book Foraging the Ozarks was released by Falcon Guides in 2020 and is full of creative and delicious recipes using the free food growing in the landscape around us all. Brown is a self-taught naturalist that has been teaching foraging and outdoor skills for over 30 years. Follow his various outdoor activities at

This year’s Medicinal Plant Symposium dives deeply into the International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year™, with “The Medicinal Virtues of Violas—Herb of the Year 2022” with Susan Belsinger and “North American Viola Species & Their Traditional Uses by Indigenous People” presented by Kathleen Connole. These herbal experts will guide participants who will make a Viola infused oil to take home.

Belsinger teaches, lectures, and writes about gardening and cooking, and is a food writer, editor and photographer who has authored and edited over 25 books and hundreds of articles. Referred to as a “flavor artist,” she delights in kitchen alchemy — the blending of harmonious foods, herbs and spices — to create real, delicious food, as well as libations, that nourish our bodies and spirits and titillate our senses.

As the Ozark Folk Center’s horticulturist, Kathleen Connole’s passion is to research the natural history of the Heritage Herb Garden’s diverse collection of plants. Connole is secretary for the International Herb Association Board and is editor of “Viola—Herb of the Year™ 2022.”

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