By Bernadette Noll (from Origin Magazine, May 2011) (OriginMagazine.com)
Harkening back to the days of the ancient healers, herbalist Ginger Webb is taking young apprentices into the field. What started simply as guided walks through the wildflowers, has grown now into herbal apprenticeships for a group of Austin based adolescent girls and week long herb camps for girls as young as 8 years old. She calls all her students and her campers, Little Green Witches, for their connection both to all the herbal healers who have gone before them and for their blossoming connection to the plant world.
Ginger understands the importance of this position she is in and has had to consciously slow things down in order to really let the girls develop their own relationship with the plants and with nature. “This is a birthright of every child, every human: to feel connected in nature and to know how to use the wild plants – the weeds, wildflowers, trees, vines, mushrooms – as food, medicine, for blessing, for art, adornment and for fun.
Ginger loves the chance to share with the girls her own love of the natural world. She knows that by becoming familiar with the plants, by living in them and with them for just one week of summer camp, the necessary relationship with the plant world is begun. And this deep connection to nature that camp fosters is an inherent component of being an herbalist. Said one mom, “My daughter wants to follow you around and learn everything you know!
Ginger sees, “This is the traditional path of the herbalist — feeling at home with plants, making friends with them, treating them with love and respect, and knowing when it is, and is not, ok to harvest them, how to do it in a respectful manner, honoring the gift they give. Before we harvest any plant, we develop a relationship with it.” And Ginger Webb is helping countless young girls take that crucial leap.