27 Jul Huckleberry Grin
This following week marks the beginning of Nature Survival Camp — a week long, middle school trip of about 30 preteens exploring the outdoors and gaining an aptitude for using the abundant resources nature has to offer to thrive in it. It includes two overnight stays by the Pacific Ocean, where I will be, to the best of my ability, an environmental educator. Foraging tips is what I am most excited about! I prepared for this by foraging stinging nettle soon to be made into pesto. Stinging nettle is one of the most harmful plants here at the park (we have relatively benign flora and fauna) and makes for a nutty green once boiled for a few minutes. The Lewis and Clark NHP is special in that we have a variety of harvestable items, most notably the berries. My favorite is the sweet, candy-like thimbleberry. Thimbleberries are a beautiful pink and yellow tinge when unripe, but develops into a deep red color that becomes so ripe it slides right off its branch. Another special item is the king bolete mushroom that grows abundantly along the trails. The king bolete is a delicious, meaty mushroom. I used it to make a veggie omelette. Other items on the menu at LEWI include red and Alaskan mountain huckleberry, salal berries, salmonberries, three different species of blackberries: trailing, himalayan, evergreen, oyster mushrooms, lobster mushrooms, sheep and redwood sorrel and finally wapato — which is a well-known staple of the Lewis and Clark expedition. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work in such a luscious garden. I hope to make huckleberry apple cider soon.