Jane’s Walk Event in Houlton Explores ‘Wild and Delicious’ Theme, Engaging Community in Nature and Foraging

Published: May. 9, 2023 at 7:07 PM EDT
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Houlton, Maine (WAGM) - People in Houlton had the opportunity to participate in a Jane’s Walk Event this past weekend. Jane’s Walk is a volunteer-led walking conversation that draws inspiration from community activist Jane Jacobs and encompasses the exploration of a location, accompanied by the sharing of personal observations, local history, and civic engagement. Newsource 8′s Jonathon Eigenmann accompanied the Jane’s Walk group in Houlton, where they explored the theme “Wild and Delicious Houlton.”

Roxanne Bruce, Walk Coordinator:” The Beautiful Thing about Jane’s Walk is you pick a topic right? and the people that are going to show up, you’re gonna have an handful of experts who just wanna come and talk about what they know about, you’re gonna have a handful of people who never experienced everything, so beautiful because the experts and the novices are all together and you can just chat and walk and answer questions and its not; There’s no drive to be in and out at a certain time, there’s no price to enter, there’s no requirement for a base knowledge, its just come on , lets have fun, lets talk, lets walk, let’s do stuff”.

On a warm and sunny Saturday, a Jane’s Walk led by Roxanne Bruce drew a group of people to Riverfront Park in Houlton. They embarked on a trail exploration while discussing foraging and uncovering edible items nearby. Bruce emphasized that teaching foraging goes beyond sharing plant details; it entails empowering individuals to develop the skill themselves and equipping them with the necessary resources to make informed decisions and avoid misguided foraging attempts.

Roxanne Bruce, Walk Coordinator: " A lot of mistakes foragers make is they see a plant that looks similar to something someone showed them, they pick it, and they get sick. I never want that to happen to people. So, in order to prevent that, and I’ve been doing it for homeschool groups for years, I go out and I say, “This is how we identify the plant. Here are some books you can use to help. Let’s educate you and make you feel better.” I find that when people know more, they protect the environment more because they’re like, “Oh, I love that plant. That plant is such a good one. I want to keep it around.”

During the walk, Bruce highlighted the significance of diversity in nature as a crucial topic of discussion.

Roxanne Bruce, Walk Coordinator: " We hear about it all the time you know, farmers are planting all of one crop, people are poisoning the weeds in their lawn to make a healthy lawn. Well, the problem is, the birds, the insect, the animals, all the creatures use the diversity to help thrive. So i want people to stop killing stuff off just to have grass, i want you to learn that, all of these other plants are super healthy and super helpful and here’s the benefits they have and will keep your ant population down, keep your pest population down, lets do it in a smart and easy way versus spending tons of money”.

Participants in the walk expressed it provides an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, spend quality time with friends, and acquire new knowledge.

Michael Schneider. 4th Grade:” To be with my friend Roxanne”

Emmaleah Schneider, 2nd Grade: " So then they’re not sitting at a desk all day just working and they can actually have some outside time and look at the plants and nature

Joan Gravel:” Well its education, i mean we’re learning

Bev Rowe: " and Community

Joan Gravel:” and its part of the community and helping us seeing what’s available in our community”

Jane’s Walk, a global festival, fosters participation, networking, and captivating discussions about the unique aspects of local communities. Bruce extends an invitation for people to consider joining next year, where they can meet new individuals and uncover the fascinating features of their own neighborhoods.

Jonathon Eigenmann, NewsSource 8