Laura, owner of Wild Rootz, brings passion and years of outdoor experience to her nature tours and specialty workshops. Certified as a California Naturalist and Chaparral Guide, professionally trained in therapeutic herbal medicine and herbal phytotherpy. Her teachings cover a wide array of captivating and inspiring topics including; California ecosystems, plants and animals, ethnobotany, therapeutic usage of native plants and herbs, landscaping with California natives, the benefits of healthy cooking, and Biodynamic gardening.
My story really begins back in the ’60s, when my parents moved our family from Berkley to Northern California to start a new wholesome life. Yes, you guessed it, they were "urban-hippie-homesteaders". Their dream was to get away from the big city, get back to nature and teach themselves and their children how to be self-sustaining by living off the land. They purchased 180 acres of raw land and with their children and grandparents, transformed it into a sustainable, small farm. Everything had to be built from scratch—the roads, water supply, our house and barns. Our family tended and raised cows, goats, sheep, pigs, horses and chickens, most of which provided us with food. There was planting of our orchards, vegetable and herb gardens. Much of the food was canned, dried and smoked. Yes, it was a lot of work. But, as my grandpa used to say, “nothing worth having is easy.”
As a child I loved being outside, in fact most of my growing years were spent outside exploring the wild. Surrounded by hundreds of miles of beautiful, densely-packed, flora and fauna, running streams, oak groves, coniferous forest and the amazing majestic redwoods, shaped me into the naturalist I am today. Back in those days there were no boundaries between the land owners allowing for a "wild child" like myself a huge range of freedom to explore Northern California’s spectacular beauty.
THE COWGIRL, HERBALIST, FORAGER
I loved the freedom of riding my horse through the untamed landscape with a very special Native American friend. She taught me so many fascinating ways to use wild plants as food and medicine. Most of our rides would consist of searching for delicious huckleberries, thimbleberries, currants, wild strawberries and puffball mushrooms yum, never needed to pack a lunch! Of course there were a few wild and crazy foraging moments like the time while picking huckleberries a family of berry-loving black bears decided to join us! Neither us, nor our horses, liked this encounter and since the bears needed the food more, and momma bear growled GET OUT we respectfully handed over our berries and hightailed it out of there!
NATURE'S HAPPY PLACE
Nature and spirituality have always gone hand in hand for me. I find that the outdoors makes it easy to be my childhood self, a place of a calm and rejuvenation for both mind and body. One of my earliest memories of using nature for refuge and meditation was when I would sit with my dog Ginger next to a little stream on our property and watch how the water would flow over the hundreds of colorful rocks that sparkled with gold flecks of iron pyrite (also known as fool’s gold). The calming effect of the stream and the warmth of my dog cuddled up close to me was like a big loving hug from nature. I call this my happy place.
What can I say about my photography?.... I like to capture the little things nature offers that we don't normally take the time to stop and observe. I'm always in complete astonishment on how incredibly complicated and beautiful our planet truly is, and how luck I am to be able to capture a small piece of it!