Meet the Team

Our Project Team

The Plant Teachings for Growing Social-Emotional Skills toolkit was developed through a partnership between GRuB and Squaxin Island Tribe’s Northwest Indian Treatment Center, and was initially funded by Seattle Indian Health Board. Over two years, a team of plant experts, mental health workers, cultural experts, graphic designers, and editors worked together to synergize and synthesize the toolkit. 

Elise Krohn, M.Ed. is an educator, author, herbalist, and native foods specialist. She is the Wild Foods and Medicines Program Director at GRuB (Garden Raised Bounty) in Olympia, WA. During her 20 years of experience teaching in tribal communities, she has worked with Elders and cultural specialists to create community gardens, food sovereignty resources, and curricula on chronic disease prevention. She worked at Northwest Indian Treatment Center for 10 years. She also has experience as a clinical herbalist, and has authored four books and several educational resources.  

Sable Ka’ohulani Bruce is from the Hawai'ian Islands and primarily works as a mindfulness-based licensed mental health counselor. She has experience working with Indigenous communities, military families, and youth in foster care. Over the last three years she has deepened her understanding of traditional foods and medicine in the region, and has been part of a team developing the Plant Teachings toolkit. She values creating sustainable relationships with our environment, and that also includes supporting local small scale organic farming for food security. Sable believes that healing happens through the re-connection to self, spirit, community, and the natural world.

Chenoa Egawa is Coast Salish of the Lummi and S’Klallam Nations of Washington State. She is a ceremonial leader, singer, speaker, environmental activist and artist dedicated to bringing healing to our Mother Earth, and to people of all cultures, backgrounds and origins through recognition of our shared experiences as human beings. Chenoa has long been active in local and international work for Indigenous peoples, children, and the environment.

June O’Brien, Nansemond Nation, is the past Director of Northwest Indian Treatment Center, which is operated as a department of the Squaxin Island Tribe and serves tribes of the Northwest. Together with NWITC employees, she developed a unique model of addiction treatment, blending culture, best practices, and trauma-informed methods. June was taught the use of medicinal plants by an elder in the Northwest. She is a poet and is the author of several books including the Blue Child Series.

Nakia DeMiero is the Native Plant Specialist Supervisor at Northwest Indian Treatment Center. She helps patients reconnect to the Earth through learning about native foods and medicinal plants. Ms. DeMiero is currently enrolled in the Native Pathways program at Evergreen State College. Other studies have included lengthy apprenticeships with Elise Krohn and other well-known herbalists in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, she tends several food and medicine gardens. Ms. DeMiero has a deep love for her plants and is passionate about sharing their wealth and uplifting Native communities.  

Ofiialii “Ofi” (Niuatoa) Tovia is of Samoan descent and is the director of the Northwest Indian Treatment Center where she has worked for over 17 years. Ofi has been involved in domestic violence, substance abuse, and suicide prevention grants. She facilitates Dialectical Behavior Therapy and domestic violence classes, is a certified Recovery Coach Academy trainer through Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery, and is a certified Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trainer through LivingWorks Education. Ofi believes that it is important to remember where we come from, remembering our ancestors before us and keeping in mind the next generation and the generations to come.

Sonja Ibabao is a senior Substance Use Disorder Professional at Northwest Indian Treatment Center, where she has worked for 16 years. She has been involved with the Domestic Violence grant through the Office of Violence Against Women and facilitated Dialectical Behavior Therapy and domestic violence classes. She is also a certified Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trainer through LivingWorks Education. She looks forward to continuing the work that is taking place at Northwest Indian Treatment Center by helping Native People reconnect to their traditions and healing the wounds of generational trauma.

Rachel Smart is a tribal member, mental health counselor, and the family prevention coordinator at the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. She is dedicated to the healing and growth of Coast Salish People through the restoration of culture, including: traditional plant medicine, Indigenous family values, singing, dancing, carving, weaving, and ceremony.

Lisa Wilson is a Muckleshoot tribal member, an educator, and a social worker. She specializes in the ways land-based education supports students’ learning and holistic well-being. She serves her community as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, working across early childhood to adult and higher education settings. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver and is a PhD student at the University of Washington in the College of Education. She is also a co-founder of FEED Seven Generations, a Native-led nonprofit specializing in food sovereignty efforts.

Mariana Harvey is a Yakama tribal member, and holds a BA in American Indian Studies. She is GRuB’s Wild Foods and Medicines Program Coordinator, and is on the Tend, Gather and Grow Curriculum development team, including doing research, editing, piloting lessons, and leading teacher trainings and tribal community cohorts. She has spent the last seven years working to promote culturally based leadership initiatives for Native youth within the Northwest and nationally through her work with the Native Youth Leadership Alliance and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Youth.

Annie Brulé is a visual storyteller whose work combines illustration, design, plants, and culture. She holds a BS in Fine Art, with adjacent studies in Anthropology and Environmental Science. Her contributions to the Tend curriculum include graphic design, editing, and exercises in The Art of Noticing. She cultivates human-nature connection as an art teacher with teens and adults. She also runs a small publishing company in Seattle. 

Rachel Collins did graphic design for the Plant Teachings infographics. She is completing her study at Bastyr University in the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program and Master of Public Health program focusing on social justice and community health education. Rachel’s capstone project included research regarding the health and education career underrepresentation of Indigenous communities in North America, and the development of the Tend, Gather and Grow Career Connected Learning Toolkit.

Editing Team

Clare Follmann is an author, editor, artist, bibliophile, herbalist, tea-leaf reader, and gardener located in Olympia, Washington. She has a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College, and a B.A. in Philosophy and Literature from Sarah Lawrence College.

Michi Thacker taught elementary school in Olympia, Washington for many years before teaching in the Masters in Teaching program at The Evergreen State College. She has been involved with the development of the Since Time Immemorial curriculum as a listener, advisor, trainer, and writer.

Fae Scherling brings her background in communication and design to ecology and stewardship programs that focus on building community through creating educational resources and opportunities. She is an artist, herbalist, and avid explorer with a deep love of learning.

Kim Gaffi is co-founder of GRuB, a community-based non-profit in Olympia, WA. She has a B.S. in Environmental Studies and B.A. in Community Development and 25+ years of experience in youth development and environmental education. She believes that group facilitation and popular education are powerful tools in creating meaningful personal and social change.

Jennifer Herbert is Diné (Navajo), originally from Flagstaff, Arizona, and now resides on occupied Duwamish lands in Seattle. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Public Health and has a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Health Promotion. She served as an evaluator and editor for GRuB’s Wild Foods and Medicines Program through a partnership with Urban Indian Health Institute. 

Kerensa Mabwa leads GRuB’s fundraising and community cultivation, equity team and multicultural training series. She loves the intersection of systems, circles, grassroots leadership, and the wisdom of the natural world. With Kerensa’s international background and passion for inspiring cross-cultural learning, she facilitates human growth and wholeness through creativity, inclusivity, and the land.  

Explore Educational Materials

Additional Acknowledgements

Plant Teachings includes the voices of many Northwest Native elders, cultural knowledge keepers, plant specialists, and mental health workers. Elise Krohn is the project director, designer, and writer for the plant descriptions and the Harvesting and Preparing Wild Foods and Medicines Chapter. She would like to express gratitude to her teachers including Bruce Miller and Kimberly Miller (Skokomish), June O’Brien (Nansemond), Rudy Ryser (Oneida), Roger Fernandes (Lower Elwha Klallam), Elaine Grinnell (Jamestown S’Klallam), Theresa Parker (Makah), Mary Hayes and John and Linda Elliott (Tsartlip), Allen Frazier (Yurok), Joyce Netishen, Michael Moore, Cascade Anderson Geller, Nancy Turner, Adam Seller, Jody Berry, Krista Olson, Marja Eloheimo, and Frederica Bowcutt. Elise has also learned a tremendous amount from patients and staff at the Northwest Indian Treatment Center.

Plant Teachings

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