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Educational Hikes


James Mann

James Mann, naturalist, says he has always felt at home in the woods. Hiking, camping, and exploring were a big part of his childhood. Unfortunately there was not much opportunity so he decided to move to the city and become a chef. After toiling in restaurants around Columbus for almost 10 years, and interning at a Michelin-star restaurant in Sweden, he was burnt out and wanted to go a different route. He worked for a small, local mushroom farm for four years and learned the art of growing mushrooms. This re-sparked his love for the woods. Now, he has started his business Spicebush Woodcraft and Foraging to pursue his two greatest passions; teaching others about foraging and the natural world around them, and how to help and be a steward of the land. When he is not doing those things, he is working on building custom furniture and other wood-based crafts using native, sustainably sourced woods and primarily uses hand tools. He enjoys working on his homestead that was built with his partner Sarah and him. They call their home Cottonwood Hollow Homestead. 

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Raymond James

Tree Identification 

 Ray is a mushroom and native plant enthusiast. His passion for wild edibles stems from a desire to be connected not only to what we consume, but to the earth as well. This has lead him to learn the edible and medicinal mushrooms of our Ohio forests. Ray operates a native tree and shrub nursery called West Branch Forest Treasures. There, he grows fruit and nut trees from seed from local and high quality sources. He also operates a small farm where he is creating a food forest of native plants.

Desiree HarvestLove

 Meet Desiree HarvestLove, a nature enthusiast and foraging expert on a mission to connect people with the beauty of the natural world. With a background in horticultural botany and environmental science, Desiree is not just an educator but a passionate advocate for sustainable living. Join her on educational nature hikes to discover local flora and learn how to harvest in harmony with the environment. After your adventure, stop by HarvestLove's booth for gourmet beverages inspired by foraged ingredients, nourishing both body and soul. Let Desiree guide you on a journey of exploration and appreciation for the wonders of nature.​​​​

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Zack Felger

Zack Felger is an Outreach and Education Specialist for a local Soil & Water Conservation District in Ohio. He provides resources and technical assistance related to conservation education initiatives, while encouraging public involvement and volunteerism to enhance water and soil quality in Northeast Ohio. Zack brings a wealth of knowledge related to environmental conservation and education. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Youngstown State University. Prior to his current role, Zack served as an Educator and Naturalist at Mill Creek MetroParks and as a Naturalist for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at Pymatuning State Park. He is also actively involved in various environmental organizations, including Friends of the Mahoning River, The Old Growth Forest Network, Youngstown State University’s Legacy Forest Project, and Plant Ahead Ohio. Program Description: Title: Macroinvertebrate Mayhem Dive into water quality monitoring with our engaging program focusing on surveying benthic macroinvertebrates. These aquatic creatures, from insects to crustaceans and mollusks, reveal vital insights into watershed health. Join us for hands-on fieldwork along Yellow Creek, an Ohio River tributary, as we track water quality trends and ecosystem health through macroinvertebrate surveys. Gain skills in sampling, identification, and data collection, contributing directly to research and conservation efforts.

Jim Sayer's

Jim Sayer's work as an Herbalist blossomed from his own experience with chronic illness in his family and how conventional medicine failed them miserably. Jim has been studying Herbalism for over twenty years leading to his development of The Herbal Ally Way through his passion for true spiritual allyship with the Herbs themselves.  Jim is the owner of the House of Life Botanicals as well as the Coordinator for the Herbal Allies Chapter of the Herbalist’s Without Borders-Youngstown, OH. In addition to Jim's herbal studies, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Alternative Medicine with two years of Nutrition education, Certified as a Nutritional Consultant and many other continuing education credits and certifications related to his field. With that said, he is not a doctor, nor a licensed professional of any kind. These sessions are for informational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. You are encouraged to speak with your healthcare provider about all herbal products, dietary changes, or supplements you choose to use.



Workshop Macro photography Introducing Cindy – Your Macro Adventure Companion! Cindy enjoys bringing macro photography into the forest, shooting elusive slime molds, tiny mushrooms, and fungi that might otherwise go unnoticed by other passersby. In this workshop, we'll reveal tiny hidden treasures that grow beneath the forest canopy. This is an invitation to slow down, explore, and join a community with a deep appreciation for finding beauty in the smallest details. All levels of cameras are welcome, including phones. Together, let's dive into the world of macro photography, where every discovery has the potential to become a masterpiece! See you at the festival!

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