Education Lifestyle

Education 2023: Nature Studies at John C. Campbell Folk School

Since 1925, John C. Campbell Folk School has offered hands-on, non-competitive instruction in craft, art, music, dance and foodways on a secluded 270-acre campus in Brasstown. More than 800 classes in 46 program areas provide opportunities for beginners looking to explore their creative side, as well as intermediate and advanced courses for experienced hobbyists and professionals.

“There is fantastic energy around the Folk School right now, thanks to many exciting new developments and our visionary staff working diligently to make it all happen,” says Robert Grand, John C. Campbell Folk School’s communications and brand manager.

One area that is growing and changing is the school’s Nature Studies Program, an ever-popular field offering dozens of ways to learn and explore in one of the most biodiverse temperate ecoregions on earth. Students can spend a week or a weekend hiking with an expert naturalist, foraging for edible plants and craft materials, birding, beekeeping or learning techniques for gardening.

“So many details of wonder and beauty go unnoticed until a trained eye helps you focus and observe life around you in new and appreciative ways,” says Karen Hurtubise, the Folk School’s Gardening and Nature Studies creative program advisor. “Taking a nature studies or gardening class will deepen your relationship to the gifts of being alive on earth.”

Following is a sampling of new Nature Studies courses offered in 2023:

The Little Homestead (April 16–22)
Landscape architect Amy Fahmy teaches participants basic home garden design principles and gardening/planting techniques for native plants and garden crops.

Edible Flowers (June 9–11)
The Folk School Cookbook author Nanette Davidson teaches participants how to grow, harvest and work with edible flowers to create beautiful dishes.

Growing and Using Flowers (July 9–15)
Led by Holly Strawn, this week-long class focuses on how to grow, harvest and use a wide array of flowers in the garden for bouquet and wreath making all year long.

Gardening for Pollinators (August 13–15)
Kim Bailey will share her experience raising and understanding monarch butterflies, native bees and honeybees. Students learn to grow milkweed and other native plants, and make mason bee houses.

Summer Herbal Harvest and Preparation (July 30–August 5)
This course is led by CoreyPine Shane, founder and director of the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine and author of Southeast Medicinal Plants: Identify, Harvest, and Use 106 Wild Herbs for Health and Wellness.

Learn more about John C. Campbell Folk School and download the 2023 course catalog at

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