North Florida Branch Teachers
Phoenix Fermin is a Community Herbalist and Director of Development for non-profit Lichgate on High Road, a historic site in Tallahassee, FL.
Her great passion for gardening rooted in 1998 at a home-based plant nursery. There she learned about planting, cultivating, harvesting, transplanting, and propagation. Her love of gardening grew and she began her herbal studies in 2006, teaching yoga for Herbalist Rose Kalajian at The Natural Health Hut in Wesley Chapel, FL and Bob Linde at Acupuncture & Herbal Therapies (AcuHerbals) in St. Petersburg, FL. In 2012, she attended the first Florida Herbal Conference with Rosemary Gladstar as the keynote speaker. Inspired and deepening her connection to the plants, she furthered her studies over the course of several years at the Florida School of Holistic Living with Herbalist, Emily Ruff. Phoenix continues to expand her herbal knowledge through classes in all aspects of herbal medicine, clinical practice, and hands-on gardening experience; as there is no end to the depth of knowledge that we learn from our plant allies. She provides herbal consultations and offers a variety of herbal products through her blooming business, Sacred Tree Herbals. Phoenix is a Certified Yoga Instructor, children’s book Illustrator and Author for AppleTree Institute in Washington, DC, and has enjoyed working in education with the Florida Department of Education, Full Sail University, and Cornell University. In the past, she has enjoyed teaching preschool children by developing daily lesson plans, yoga instruction on a weekly basis, and designed and implemented the school gardens. With her love of gardening and serving the community, she also served as Executive Director for non-profit Damayan Garden Project. Phoenix has taught seminars at New Leaf Market, Tallahassee Nurseries, Florida State University, Sustainable Tallahassee, Roots Roundtable at the Florida School of Holistic Living, and Lichgate on High Road. Phoenix is the Regional Director for the Florida School of Holistic Living North Florida Branch.
Since Ghita was a young girl she has been mesmerized by the world of plants, always exploring her surroundings to find out what plants could be used for medicine or food. This fascination for plants continued into adulthood and has turned into a long life passion. For 12 years Ghita had a small natural body care business where she created all kinds of herbal products for people to care for their bodies in a healing and holistic way. Later in life she returned to university to finish her degree in Plant Sciences with the intent to protect the plants and the knowledge of people connected to these healing plants for future generations. Ghita also spends her summers abroad in Spain with forays into France, Portugal and elsewhere learning about the useful plants of these areas and connecting with others that have roots in the botanical world.
Susan Anderson, is the owner and operator of Native Naturals Farm. Her family has lived on and worked the same land since 1826. The farm produces organically grown herbs, nuts and fruits as well as grass fed beef. She comes from a long line of herbalists and healers. She began the study native plant medicine, collecting, growing and preparing, with her grandmother who was a well respected midwife and nurse. She is of both Creek and Cherokee descent and has learned from traditional healers throughout the southeast. She is a traditional ceremonial person and draws heavily on her cultural roots in her relationship with the growing world.
She has worked as a resource planner, journalist, educator and as a natural resource interpretive writer. She has served as executive director for two nonprofits and consultant on numerous environmental and cultural projects.
Her love of the land and respect for the food, fiber and medicinal value of native plants has been a guiding force in her life. She is a traditional fiber artist working primarily with native plant fibers and dyes. She has developed an intimate and comprehensive understanding of her land, it’s ecosystems and cycles and how these things relate to the unique “medicine of place”.
Her non traditional academic education includes degrees in sociology and religion from Florida State University. Graduate studies in urban and regional planning at FSU and cultural sustainability at Goucher College in Baltimore MD.
Vicki McGee, is a biologist, herbalist and permaculture designer of Cherokee and Catawba descent. She and her family have been practicing traditional medicine for many generations and she is a member of both Cherokee and Miscogee creek traditional communities. Coming from a family of farmers and orange growers her relationship with plants began early. She spent several years living “off the grid” on a barrier island in south Florida where she raised her oldest son and became immersed in sustainable living practices. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge of “living lightly” on the planet and has been asked to help design sustainable curriculum for local schools.
She currently resides in Key Largo, Florida where she is the Research Project Coordinator for the Florida Bay Inter-agency Science Center.
Ari O’Hara was raised among the beautiful Pine trees of Tallahassee, Florida. She graduated from FSU with a degree in Art History, but where her heart truly lies is in peace with Mother Nature and all her plant allies. After high school, she wanted to forgo college and instead begin down her herbal path, hoping to travel to North Carolina and work with Juliet Blankespoore at the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine. It was not until the beginning of 2013, however, that the world of herbalism opened up to Ari. After becoming incredibly ill, and healing herself of her ailments with the aid of locally foraged plants and fungi, she knew that in order to be truly healthy, happy and whole, she needed to finally take the Green Path to becoming an herbalist. Ari began making her own healing tinctures, salves and herbal infusions through self-study, and began her own small business called Valley Green Herbs, which she still runs today. In 2015, Ari went to her first Florida Herbal Conference, an event that changed her life in so many amazing ways. She got to meet, work with and learn from countless inspiring herbalists, among them was the ever inspiring and radiant Emily Ruff, Bob Linde, Joanna Helms, keynote speaker and noted herbalist Steven Foster, and the lovely Juliet Blankespoore herself. Being immersed in the world she loved fueled Ari’s passion for healing and her life has never been the same. Since then she has continued learning and expanding her lovingly made herbal products, received a certificate in Traditional Mexican Medicine (Curanderismo) with Eliseo “Cheo” Torres from the University of New Mexico, has travelled to the 2016 Florida Herbal Conference to meet Paul Stamets and continue her education, and now teaches classes on herbalism and healing to those who want to learn form the comfort of her own home in Havana, Florida.
Ari is currently working on a certificate through the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine to complete a six-month, in depth course on Medicine Making. Ari’s goals for the future are to become a certified clinical herbalist in order to help heal those in need and to continue teaching about the incredible power of plant medicine. Ari is also proud to be working with Emily Ruff and Phoenix Fermin to open a branch of The Florida School of Holistic Living in Tallahassee. When she’s not busy reading about plants, making medicine, working in her garden or out foraging for wild edibles, Ari spends her time learning and practicing Ashtanga Yoga, as well as learning the ancient Sanskrit language, which her plants particularly love to hear her speak. She also loves crystals and stones, and loves to blend crystal essences into her herbal preparations for their added healing benefits.
If you are a Floridian, you have likely seen the art of Honey Hilliard. Her paintings are featured on Florida’s bird identification
poster. She created the paintings 20 years ago, and the posters have been in circulation ever since, at state parks, wildlife refuges, schools and libraries all over Florida. Since the creation of those extremely detailed bird paintings, Hilliard’s art has become progressively bigger, brighter and bolder. A talented, prolific artist and entrepreneur, Honey creates soulful, vibrant paintings, thick with texture, rich with color and alive with energy. After receiving an art degree from Florida State University, she was employed by the State of Florida as a bird and wildlife artist. For the last 16 years, Honey has honed her abilities as a successful freelance artist. Honey’s interactive children’s book, Looking for Butterflies©, was published in 2012, and takes place at St Marks Refuge, is available at bookstores and www.LookingforButterflies.com. Honey spent the summer of 2013 studying and working as an assistant at an Artist Retreat Center, a trip that resulted in a body of oil and pastel paintings, “The French Collection”, another of several ongoing series such as “The Bejeweled Forest”, a collection of jeweled, crowned creatures with gold leaf and decorative fibonacci swirls. Honey’s art has been featured in many publications, calendars and books. Her work has been commissioned and collected by clients across the US and internationally.
Bridget Noel Jones
Bridget Noel Jones is a Licensed Massage Therapist for 20 years, a Kundalini Yoga teacher for 18 years, and has been living a holistically healthy lifestyle using herbs, nutrition, vegetarianism, and many modalities for herself and her family for over 20 years. Bridget is passionate about healing and loves empowering others with the knowledge to keep themselves well.
Denise describes herself as an ex-R.N. (Registered Nurse). After working in the Western medical system for 28 years she became frustrated with sick care and decided to dedicate herself to learning/teaching how to live a healthy lifestyle. She supplemented her Bachelor of Science degree with a Diploma in Complimentary Alternative Medicine (CAM). The CAM degree focused on a dual major in herbalism and aromatherapy. She also expanded her long term yoga practice into a teaching role by acquiring her 200 RYT certification. Her ultimate goal is to see herbal medicine become a part of the daily life, just as it used to be in the past.
Jill Welch is a natural foods educator and chef with over 20 years of experience in helping people improve their diet and lifestyle, lose weight and stabilize their moods by adopting a natural foods way of life. For more information on cleanse classes, health consultations, wellness coaching, recipes or health tips visit www.thekitchengoddess.com.
Heather Diamond has been an educator for 22 years beginning as a classroom teacher and then a case manager for a research project jointly run by pediatric neurology and education at the University of Florida. She later became an independent consultant, presenting at local and national conferences and providing training, coaching, and support related to improving education. Heather joined the Florida Department of Education and the University of South Florida to coordinate and facilitate statewide efforts for implementing a unified, integrated, data-based multi-tiered system of supports and lead improvements for school counseling, social work, psychology, and nursing. Heather’s work in education included a passion for the multiple dimensions of health for both students and teachers. While working at the Department, she attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, NYC, and earned her certification in holistic health coaching. Heather routinely embedded her passion for health into her life and work, opening and closing otherwise conventional meetings with yoga and mindfulness practices and sharing strategies with her team on healthy work/life balance. She became known in her career for a quirky fixation on natural living, wholesome eating, walking meetings, and yoga breaks. The Department featured an article on her healthy routines and coworkers sought her advice and support daily. Heather now devotes her time to providing health coaching and education in contribution to the food revolution. Her interest is in improving our society’s kitchen culture and our relationship with food, our bodies, and the planet. Heather’s integrative approach provides her clients with the crucial connections between the dimensions of health, life and happiness.
Alannah Brown, MS, Ed.S., LMHC. Alannah brings diverse knowledge to the staff. She currently practices as a Mental Health Counselor, herbalist, and Tai Chi instructor. Her practice is holistic and based on the notion that all parts of a person must be addressed in order to have true healing. She wishes to present seminars in the practical aspects of using herbs at home and in the community to promote joyous health, radiant well-being, and increased consciousness. This season, she will present on Fermentation for Mood Stability and the Alchemical Art of Distillation.
Sallie Dixon is an Advanced Student with the East West School of Planetary Herbology. Studying traditional energetic systems including TCM, Ayurveda and
‘Western’ approaches to the uses of plants. The EW program integrates plants and diagnostic tools from multiple traditional systems.. An avid learner, continually expanding and enhancing her formal schooling, Sallie attends conferences, symposiums, workshops and webinars from a wide variety of nationally and internationally known practitioners and educators.
Although she had some early childhood encounters with the fae folk, it wasn’t until 2008 that Sallie began to focus on incorporating plants into her life after an acupuncturist recommended herbs to improve her health and encouraged her interest. Since then plants have become an integral part of her life – and her family’s – both as food and medicine. She also utilizes energetic principles and herbs to treat her horses, dogs and cats.
Sallie maintains a limited clinical practice in the Tallahassee area where she works with people from a nutritional and lifestyle perspective, incorporating herbs as appropriate for the individual and their constitution. She lives in rural Gadsden County near Tallahassee and enjoys tending an unruly collection of herbs and other plants.
Artemis Dove has lived in the Tallahassee area for 17 years. Over these years she has walked the forests and watched the seasons of the plants around her. Her Love for Nature and the Amazing properties of Plants has always intrigued her though. She really begin to cultivate her love when at the age of 18 she moved to the beautiful land of Maui, where she lived on several Organic Farms. From there began her journey of developing a special relationship with Plants everywhere she went.
When she became a mother it solidified the importance even more for her, to share this Love and Respect for the Earth with her children.She wanted to express this by trying to follow a Natural Rhythm of Living. She became trained as a Doula and co-hosted a Natural Birthing themed movie night at the Birth Cottage. And founded a Nursing Support group in Gadsden County. Over the years that she has been in the Panhandle area, she has organized monthly Drum Circles celebrating the Moons Cycles. Her love of Drumming and Inspiring children continued as she co-founded the Keiki Artist Village, at the bi-annual Paralounge Drum Gathering. It is always her desire to support Children in their Natural Discovery of the World around them. To look at the Plants and Nature as their Neighbors and Friends. Learning their names and observing how they change with the seasons.