Welcome to Tend, Gather, & Grow
A place-based curriculum about plants, local landscapes, and the rich cultural traditions that surround them.
Tend, Gather and Grow (Tend) is a K-12 curriculum that focuses on native and naturalized plants of the Pacific Northwest region. Through hands-on activities, students explore themes in cultural ecosystems, herbal medicine, plant technologies, tree communities, and wild food traditions. Northwest Native American plant knowledge and stories are woven throughout the curriculum. The 60+ lessons align with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics (STEAM) education principles and Next Generation Science Standards.
The Tend curriculum was designed by a team of Native and non-native educators and is intended for use by Native and non-native educators and their students. Tend has been reviewed for accuracy, ethical harvesting practices, and culturally-appropriate content. Learn more about our team and review process here.
We would like to thank the Elders and teachers who have shared knowledge and stories. And we thank the plants for their generosity, medicine, and teachings.
Practice Reciprocity! Support this work!
The six year process of developing this curriculum has been made possible through investments from regional Native American tribes, the National Science Foundation and other grantors, individual donors, and the love and volunteer labor of many people.
If you find value in these resources, and in particular, if you are from a non-native school, community, or program, please donate to this work in an amount that feels meaningful to you, in the spirit and practice of reciprocity.
- Using a single or a few lessons? Consider donating $10 or $20.
- Integrating many lessons or a whole module? Consider donating $50 or $100.
- Adopting the entire curriculum into a school or district? Consider working with your school to invest $500 to $2,500.
Your donation will help keep teacher workshops affordable, support continual enhancement of the curriculum, prioritize the participation of tribal community educators, and maintain the infrastructure that makes this curriculum available.
What is in the Tend Teaching Toolkit?
There are many components to this place-based curriculum about plants, local landscapes, and the rich cultural traditions that surround them.
Tend Teacher Guide
We ask that anyone using our educational materials read the Tend Teacher Guide and watch the Honoring Plants, Paces, and Cultural Traditions video before using the materials. These resources explore the ethical harvest considerations and cultural foundations of this work, as well as teaching practices that enhance students’ interaction with the content.
Tend Plant Guide
This module covers 20 northwest plants and includes 38 hands-on lessons. Teachers can choose lessons based on what plants are available, in season, and most relevant to students. Plants that are at risk for over-harvest have not been included in the curriculum unless there is a specific emphasis on restoration. Select plants in the guide are available on our Plant Guide page.
Cultural Ecosystems Field Guide
This field guide explores the deep-time relationships and cultivation practices of Native People within local ecosystems. A Cultural Ecosystems Overview Lesson gives context to field trips including camas prairies, saltwater beaches, food forests, wetlands, and urban landscapes. Students explore reciprocity—how they might both receive the gifts of the land and give back to the land.
The Herbal Apothecary
This module includes techniques for harvesting, processing, and preparing medicinal plants. Topics include herbal teas, infused vinegars, honeys, poultices, infused oils and salves, herbal baths, and aromatherapy.
This module investigates how plant qualities have been used for millennia to create human technologies. Students explore ways to gather, process, and make useful items including cordage, baskets, mats, tools, and dyes from plant materials. This module is rooted in STEAM concepts.
This module introduces common Northwest trees and how they are valued for food, medicine, and traditional technologies. Themes include tree identification, ecological relationships, and life skills that we can learn from trees. Tree Communities documents are available on our Tree Communities Page.
Wild Food Traditions
This module engages students with native and wild foods from a Coast Salish perspective. Seasonal lessons include spring wild greens, summer berries, healthy snacks in fall, and traditional beverages in winter. Native American stories, cultivation practices, ethical harvest techniques, and recipes are woven throughout lessons.
Other Supportive Documents
Career Connected Learning Toolkit: These documents highlight careers related to each of the Tend modules and feature interviews with Native professionals plus books, schools, and other career path resources.
Ecosystem Garden Guide: This document helps people grow plants featured in the Cultural Ecosystems Field Guide in a garden setting—mimicking and integrating with surrounding intact ecosystems.
Lesson Calendar: Find which lessons are best suited for different seasons. This document is available in 11 by 17 and 8 ½ by 11 versions.
Harvest Calendar: Use this document to orient yourself to the ideal times of year to harvest plants featured in Tend lessons. This document is available in 11 by 17 and 8 ½ by 11 versions.
Career Technical Education (CTE) Framework: Tend, Gather and Grow - Ethnobotany & Natural Resources Management is a 180-hour high school level framework under the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) career pathway, and is a lab science equivalent. This Olympia School District framework is organized seasonally and integrates much of the Tend curriculum as well as other resources.
Plant Teachings for Growing Social-Emotional Skills Toolkit: This toolkit includes a book, cards, an activity guide, movement videos, and posters. Many of the resources in Plant Teachings can be easily integrated into Tend. Learn about the toolkit here.
Teacher Trainings & Technical Assistance
We highly recommend that you experience this curriculum hands-on in order to build cultural context and confidence in teaching. We offer seasonal teacher trainings throughout the year and our team can design and deliver customized workshops for your school, district, or community. Contact us at email@example.com.
Educating younger generations on the gifts of the land has always been a cornerstone of indigenous teachings to strengthen mind, body, and spirit.
As Skokomish Elder Bruce Miller said, “The Forest was once our Walmart.” The Pacific Northwest is teeming with wild plants including berries, greens, roots and seeds that are nutritionally superior to store-bought foods. Wild plants also provide medicine and materials for traditional technologies. These common and accessible “weeds” are often found in our own backyards.
Tend, Gather and Grow Project Funders and Partners include: Feeding Seven Generations, The Squaxin Island Tribe, The Muckleshoot Tribe, The Tulalip Tribes, The Suquamish Tribe, The Nisqually Tribe, The Puyallup Tribe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Connecting People with Nature Program, Washington Dental Health, Hancock Forestry, Pacific Education Institute and University of Washington Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health and Center for Conservation Biology.
For more information on the project please contact Elise Krohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.