Spring Greens of Appalachia

Happy Spring Equinox! Here’s the look of a happy forager in Appalachia… Field garlic (Allium vineale) is just humming right now in West Virginia, a welcome early spring green.


Photo by Saelyn Savage

Pinch me, we went so fast we burned the wind! My oldest son is flying the coup. At 17 1/2, stuck in a teenage covid lockdown nightmare, my feller was ready for new horizons. So, I’m dropping him off for a blacksmithing apprenticeship through the fall in West Virginia – a dream come true for a Dungeon & Dragons Dungeon Master who loves the medieval era.  Saelyn bought his hammer at the Rogers Community Auction last Saturday. The end has already been cut down and it’s seen 2 days of pounding metal in his hands…a beautiful new relationship is forming.  Blacksmith Donn Wagner, of Lightning Creek Forge, specializes in knife making and pre-1840’s items at his forge. 

Proud mom, my boy Saelyn Savage on right

Chickweed

Chickweed (Stellaria media) is popping up all over Appalachia! A common wild green of North America, it can be found in small pockets at higher elevations around the Hawaiian Islands, however it’s tropical chickweed (Drymaria cordata) that is far more common in Hawai’i. We’ve been eating the chickweed nearly every day, alongside our almost 100% local meals I’ve been preparing with food from the farm we’re staying at. 


Garlic Mustard

Y’all know how I love to focus on eating invasives! Well this is one of the most prevalent edible invasives of North American woodlands, called garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Its early greens are popping up now in mid March. 

Garlic Mustard – photo by Sunny Savage

Hairy Bittercress

Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) is another delicious, frost-tolerant, invasive herb. For those in Hawaiʻi, you can find a very similar wavy bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)

Hairy Bittercress – photo by Sunny Savage

Field Garlic

To the untrained eye, field garlic (Allium vineale) can just look like emerging tufts of grass, hiding in plain sight. But the blades are round and you won’t be confused by that unmistakable onion-y smell.

Field Garlic – photo by Sunny Savage

Sweet Cicely

Sweet cicely (Osmorhiza claytoni) is only for advanced foragers!  Apiaceae Family plants can be tricky, and need extra caution especially when you are in water hemlock and poison hemlock country. You can just barely see the small hairs on this sweet cicely stem in the photo, but crush the leaves and you’re sure to smell it’s sweet anise/black licorice aroma. 

Sweet Cicely – photo by Sunny Savage

Serpent Mount – photographer unknown

I’m at Serpent Mount for the Spring Peace Summit this weekend, co-leading the Water & Seed ceremony at 1:30pm.


“Shifting Narratives in Conservation”

IUCN Global Youth Summit
April 8, 7-8am HST

I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be hosting a networking session on this global platform that really shapes policy and action around the globe. Please let any youth (over 35’s are welcome as well) know, who might be interested. I’d love to listen to their hopes/concerns/ideas, connect them with others, and be in conversation! Let me know if anyone needs help registering for the event.

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