For Earth's Sake

Pacific University community members exchange clothes and more at last year's Stuff Swap.

April 19, 2013

Pacific University marks Earth Week with lectures, service activities, planting and more.

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Ground rose hips and water can make a jam.

A little lavender oil might help you sleep.

The root of licorice fern sooths a sore throat.

Plants native to the Pacific Northwest have been used in food and medicine for centuries, Roberta Basch told an audience of Pacific University students Thursday.

Basch — mother of anthropology-sociology major Charlotte Basch ’14 — recently completed a degree (her third) in traditional medicine, looking at how people have used plant-life for healthcare in her own heritage, as well as through other parts of the United States.

“I have been exposed to it all my life, but when I had the opportunity, I decided I wanted to learn more,” she said. “Even then, I just barely touched the surface.”

She urged caution, and shared few details, as she outlined some of the uses of plants native to the Pacific Northwest. For one thing, she said, many plants have “look alikes” that can be dangerous, and it’s important to know what part of the plant to harvest, when, and how to use it.

Further, she said, many people who have knowledge of plant uses are hesitant to share, fearing abuse of the knowledge. She spoke of huckleberry plants being “harvested” with a baseball bat and over-picked wildflowers with no chance to re-seed and grow back the next year.

“People who hold ancient knowledge treat it with the utmost respect, and I’m asking you to treat it with the utmost respect,” she said.

Basch’s presentation was sponsored by the Anthropology-Sociology Club as part of Earth Week at Pacific University. Earth Day is Monday, and activities continue through the weekend and into next week. Coming up:

Ecopsychology Class Presentations, 2 to 3:45 p.m. Friday, UC

Stuff Swap Last Call, 5 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, UC Patio

Forest Grove Sustainability Summit, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Community Senior Center

Forest Grove Tree Planting, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, 2423 26th Ave.

B Street Potluck Celebration, 4 yo 8 p.m. Saturday, B Street Farm (RSVP)

Cas Haley & Fanno Creek Earth Day Concert, 9 p.m. to midnight, UC (Pacific ID)

Pacific Wheat, 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, east side of Library

Wild and Scenie Film Festival, 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Taylor Auditorium (Marsh 216)

Mobile Garden Project, 9 to 11 a.m. Monday, Community Senior Center

Tree Planting at Pacific University, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, meet at Trombley Square

B Street Student Campaign Launch, 1 to 2 p.m. Monday, UC

Seed Paper Making, 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, UC

In Your Face Lecture: Kristen Sheeran, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Taylor Auditorium (Marsh 216)