Earth Skills Workshop

Earth Skills Workshop at the Kalyx Center

Saturday, April 27th from 10:00 am - 3:30 pm



The Kalyx Center for Sustainability is located at 436 E 1300 North Rd, Monticello, IL 61856, about 45 minutes from Urbana.


Workshop Description:

Celebrate Earth Week by immersing yourself in nature with a group of experts covering a range of native plant and environmental topics at our Earth Skills Workshop at The Kalyx Center for Sustainability in Monticello, IL. Learn nature skills including springtime plant identification, responsible foraging techniques, nature observation, native fruit planting and grafting, homemade plant dyeing, and invasive species removal along with other nature enthusiasts. Plus, participate in our annual Seed Swap! Registration is $20/person and includes lunch. All remaining proceeds will be donated to The Kalyx Center for native restoration projects.


Workshop Schedule

9:15am - 9:55am: Early Bird Seed Swap

9:45am - 9:55am: Arrival & Check-in

10:00am - 10:30am: Welcome from Kalyx Center and CGFC

10:30am - 11:30am: Wild Food / Spring Foraging / Nature Observation with Chandler Womack & JP Goguen

11:45am - 12:45pm: First Workshop Breakout

  • Native Pawpaw and Persimmon Workshop including Persimmon planting & grafting with Sean Williams

  • Plant Dyes and Watercolor Workshop with Joan Jach (sold out)

12:45pm - 1:30pm: Lunch & Seed Swap

1:30pm - 2:30pm: Second Workshop Breakout

  • Hands-on Invasive Species Removal Workshop with Bill Taylor and JP Goguen
  • Guided Nature Walk with Chandler Womack (sold out)

2:30pm - 3:30pm: Expert Q and A

3:30pm: Farewell


Workshop Experts:

Chandler Womack has been a Master Naturalist since 2012 after receiving his degree in Landscape Architecture at the U of I. Between decimating local invasive species, and grubbing for mussels, he works to enrich the community as a local Landscape Designer. A volunteer nature tour guide, Chandler enjoys discussing ecological connections, geology, and foraging at his talks.




JP Goguen is the organizer behind CU Wild Food Club, Tour de Fruit, and other local wild food and foraging initiatives. He likes learning about nature, making art, and community organizing.






Joan Jach has lived in CU for 19 years and has worn many hats over those years: geologist, farmer, business owner, farmers market manager and, now, agriculture teacher at Urbana High School. She loves hiking and camping with her teenage daughter while discovering the best way to make camp coffee (still working on that one!).  Find Joan online at FB @oldtownflowerscu and IG @oldtownflowercu but mostly outside in Nature.




Sean Williams is an author, educator, independent breeder, germplasm preservationist, and botanical explorer. He has introduced over three hundred named grafted tree varieties, including apples, pears, pawpaws, peaches, plums, and native persimmon, to the central Illinois area. Botanical exploration has enabled him to discover and introduce superior feral genetics to improve cold hardiness, drought tolerance, disease, and pest resistance. He also works closely with the USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) to identify genetics in wild accessions to incorporate in future breeding and reintroducing varieties once considered extinct.


What to bring with you:
  • We encourage everyone to wear layered, comfortable clothing and shoes appropriate for outdoor forest activities as well as bringing a camping/folding chair for break out sessions.
  • If participating in the Hands-on Species Removal Workshop, please bring any tools (gloves, loppers, pruners) that will be helpful to remove invasive species, like honeysuckle and autumn olive.
  • Participants are invited to bring spare seeds to donate towards the Seed Swap Table. The Seed Swap Table will be available early starting at 9:15 am and will be a passive exchange table available throughout the workshop for those interested.
Food & Facilities

Lunch will be provided to participants with options for vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian. Drinking water and portable toliets will also be present. The Kalyx Barn is wheelchair accessible but not all pathways accommodate. Further instructions and workshop reminders will be sent out the week prior to the event and a rain date may be assigned if needed.



Questions? Email