AE21 Introducing Arboretum Reads Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

This event is no longer on sale.

Sunday February 28

4:00 PM  –  5:00 PM

Introducing Arboretum Reads Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

ONLINE* Sunday, February 28; 4 - 5 p.m.

Instructor: Rebecca Caldwell with special guest Alexandra Holland

Free | Suggested Donation $15 


“Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”

― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass:  Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants


Join us as we read together in community Braiding Sweetgrass by ethnobotanist and writer Robin Wall Kimmerer. This introductory session allows for an overview of the book and access to research and related materials that will be provided online to supplement our reading alone and together. Something about reading in community enriches and deepens the experience. 

Throughout the month of March and finishing up in April, participants will meet online once a week to discuss a portion of the book with Adult Education Programs Manager Rebecca Caldwell and guests. A book this rich allows us to hold the virtual space and share stories even as we make our way through Kimmerer's own intertwining of science, spirit and story: "old stories and new ones that can be medicine for our broken relationship with the earth, a pharmacopoeia of healing stories that allow us to imagine a different relationship, in which people and land are good medicine for each other." 


The most recent Arboretum Reads selections included The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature and The Songs of Trees: Stories of Nature's Great Connectors by David George Haskell, who visited on two occasions to talk with participants. Our first selection was The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams. Readers who participated in last year’s program had this to say about the experience: “The Nature Fix helped me open my eyes to these wonders around us. We all need to slow down and take in the beauty of our surroundings. I also learned ways to manage stress and anxiety more effectively. My walks now aren’t just about seeing but about truly ‘taking in’ the experience in a more mindful and meditative way.”  


*Instructions for joining via Zoom will be included in your confirmation email following registration. A recording of the class will be made available to registered participants for a limited period following the session for review and to provide access to those with scheduling conflicts. 


Rebecca Caldwell is a writer and educator who serves as the adult education programs manager at The North Carolina Arboretum. She has taught literature and writing at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Clemson University and Western Carolina University. She is also trained as a counselor specializing in expressive arts and ecopsychology. While working in Student Affairs at Western Carolina University, she started the Women’s Center, a resource, advising and advocacy center open to all students. Her doctoral coursework and research at the University of Virginia focused on creativity, intrinsic motivation and the adult learner.

Alexandra Holland graduated from Duke University and earned her Master's degree in botany from the University of Texas at Austin. She was in the first class of students to be certified as Blue Ridge Naturalists. Alexandra managed the UTEX Culture Collection of Algae at UT Austin and spent many hours working with education programs at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. She has taught botany for over a decade and leads nature hikes in Western NC for groups of all ages.

PS—In these difficult times, we are working to support not only our wider community online but our local community as well. If you plan to purchase a copy of the book, consider ordering online from our wonderful Western North Carolina independent bookstores Malaprop's or City Lights Bookstore in Sylva., based in Asheville, helps connect readers with used, rare and out-of-print books from independent booksellers the world over. Like all independent bookstores, now more than ever, they need our support. For the audiobook, both Malaprop's and City Lights partner with


This class is free with the option to include a suggested donation appearing in your cart at check out. Your generous contribution goes to support education programs at the Arboretum.

To become an Arboretum Member and receive discounts on all future classes, go to our Membership page.