BLSA Podcast: Maria Solakofski – Wild By Nature

Wild by nature

In recent years there has been a growing call for us to recognize the isolation and disconnection that have become a common part of how we experience modern culture. Thought leaders like Johann Hari have gone so far as to draw correlations between the square footage of private residences and the rates of mental illness  and addiction in a given culture. We are increasingly distanced from one another in all kinds of ways – physically, socially, intellectually and culturally – and the negative consequences of this distance are quickly overwhelming us. The job of any educator should be to reduce the distance between their students and the world around them, and finding ways to do this across all situations and school subjects is paramount in this moment.

Enter community leaders like Maria Solakofski, the founder and visionary behind Wild By Nature, an urban homestead that encompasses mentoring programs, herbal workshops and a herbal apothecary.  She is the matriarch, magician, and mentor for all those she welcomes to the homestead, including community stakeholders, aspiring gardeners, and some lucky high school students.

Maria is inspired by everything herbal, sustainable gardening practices, community building, self-sufficiency and homesteading in the city.  She emphasizes nature connection as a pathway to lifelong learning and to living the life our wild nature longs for. Maria teaches that the opposite of resilience is isolation; that our instinct to contract and to separate in the face of modern existence is in fact causing some of our most profound problems. In the garden, learners are able to experience an expansiveness and connectedness – with their environment, their peers, and themselves – that generate awareness, appreciation and healing for all involved. Her wisdom is needed now more than ever, and we’re so grateful for her ongoing presence in the Student Life of Braemar College.

In this episode, we get an introduction to Maria and her work with the Wild By Nature homestead, followed by a discussion of the place and benefits of gardening and engagement with nature in the education of young people.

If you’d like to learn more about the work, education and healing being done at Wild By Nature garden homestead, you can find out more here:

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