Friday, October 25, 2013

Girl Scout Badge Programs

It has been great fun being a Community Event Provider for the Girl Scouts! I recently did a Flower Badge for a troop at a school in Milwaukee, WI. The class was a great deal of fun. At the end of the class, the members were able to earn their Flower Badge and add it to their sash or vest. For this class, we first talked about the various parts of a flower and identified the function of each part and then the troop all choose different parts to imitate to recreate a "living" flower in the classroom.

Different girls became parts such as sepals, petals, stamen with pollen and the central stigma. The troop took to the task with great enthusiasm! After that, we discussed what healing properties flowers possess such as the healing qualities of calendula. This lead to the discussion of how to infuse those properties into olive oil which can then be combined with beeswax to make a salve. The girls were really excited when I announced we were going to make our own salve in the classroom and everyone would go home with one!

Everyone was able to pitch in and help make the salve. There were a lot of "oooo's" and "aahhhhh's" when the salve solidified and they were each able to pick up a tin and test it on themselves.

It is a great feeling to be able to pass on the amazing healing capabilities that plants have!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Trip

I had the most amazing trip to the Boundary Waters this past September. The weather was absolutely perfect and even warm enough to swim in the cold lakes of upper Minnesota. I traveled back to an area that I used to be familiar with nearly twenty years ago when I worked for Gunflint Outfitters. We entered at Bearskin Lake and took a portage to Duncan Lake where we set up our base camp for 3 nights. I took a friend and her 17 year old son who had never been to the Boundary Waters and they loved it! We took day trips to Rose Lake to hike and see the falls which you can hear rushing as you approach them. Water cascades over a fifty foot drop as the elevation plummets between Duncan and Rose Lake. At night we listened to loons calling their eerie song and looked up at a night sky filled with beautiful twinkling stars.

With no technology for distraction, we entertained each other around the camp fire. When darkness and exhaustion announced bedtime we slept on top of  down filled sleeping bags in the near balmy evenings. The mornings brought beautiful sunny skies and the constant chatter of a red squirrel we named Joey.

The went by far too quickly and soon enough it was time to pack up and head back to the portage and call Gunflint for the pickup. The long 10 hour drive was more than worth the experience!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Primitive Skills Gathering

I had the pleasure of being an instructor at the 10th annual Primitive Skills Gathering this past week which was held near Ashland, WI. There were over 200 individuals gathered to learn skills that ranged from basket making to knife making as well herbal medicine, wild edibles and flint knapping. I taught a class on how to make a healing salve using local plants such as plantain and yarrow which help heal cuts, scrapes and abrasions....there was plenty of potential for use considering all the sharp tools were being used!

We camped along the shores of Lake Superior and enjoyed hot, sunny weather throughout most of the week. There was one impressive storm which forced everyone to seek cover but it lasted only a couple hours and was followed by plenty of sunshine. During the evening hours, there were activities such as trade blankets, movies and a pot luck. The land that we used was generously offered by a local Ojibwa named Joe who shared stories of his early life learning how to live off the land.

While I was there I also took advantage of the skills of the other instructors and learned how to do flint knapping, make a knife and how to sharpen my tools with a wet stone. I had an incredible time meeting all of the other instructors and participants. It was truly a unique and wonderful experience. I can't wait for next year! To learn more about the Gathering, go to

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Girlscout Brownie Hiker Badge Program

I had the pleasure of working with a troop of Girlscouts this past weekend while helping them to earn a hiker badge. We met at beautiful Grobschmidt Park in Franklin, WI and talked about what it takes to be prepared for a hike. We then prepared a quick snack on a camp stove of oatmeal, honey, peanut butter, nuts and berries to provide the energy for the hike. A quick review of how to orient with a compass and we took to the trail!

The troop along with a couple parents walked the trail while I pointed out a variety of wild edibles from Bee Balm to Burdock and medicinals such as yarrow and plantain. It was perfect weather for the hike and we enjoyed a quick loop around the lake. The flies and mosquitoes didn't bother us too much as we came prepared with a lotion of citronella with a catnip all natural and wonderfully scented bug repellent.

At the end of the hike I presented the girls with their Hiker Badge which they will add to the many that they have already earned.

To find out more about Girlscout Badge Programs through Resiliency Training, go to

Friday, June 28, 2013

Upcoming Classes in Greenfield


There are many plants that you see every day and may think of them as weeds but they have tremendous healing capabilities if harnessed in the right way and preserved in a salve. You’ll even learn how to make a “drawing” salve or black salve that can be used to draw out toxins or splinters. Participants will create a   healing salve to take home with them.

The cost of the class is $15 per person and includes all materials and a 1 oz tin of healing salve.

Saturday, July 20th or Wednesday
6:30 - 8:30 pm
5858 S 43rd Street, Greenfield
Wednesday, July 31st
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Greenfield Community Center


Did you know that there are many wild edibles right in your own neighborhood? During this class, you will take a short walk through a neighborhood and yard to identify a variety of edible plants. We will discuss how you can easily incorporate these plants into a meal to add flavor and nutrients.  Finally, you will enjoy a home cooked meal that will include some of the plants that have been identified.

The cost is $35 and includes all course materials and a small meal.  

Saturday, July 27th
10:00 - 12:00 pm
5858 S 43rd Street, Greenfield
Saturday, August 31
4:00 - 6:00 pm
5858 S 43rd Street, Greenfield
Do you have sensitive skin or just can't find a natural body lotion that you like? We'll be creating a body lotion with only all natural, organic ingredients that is gentle enough to use on even the most sensitive skin. You'll learn how to infuse your favorite herb and use it in a homemade lotion.
The cost is $25 per person and includes all materials and a 4 oz container of body butter.  
Saturday, July 27
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
5858 S 43rd Street, Greenfield
Saturday, August 31
6:30 - 8:30 pm
5858 S 43rd Street, Greenfield  
To sign up, go to
Make Your Own Natural Lip Balm 
Do you go through lip balm like crazy and would like to learn how to make your own and have a constant supply? Do you LOVE minty lip balm but feel most brands don't put in enough mint flavor? Do you have a favorite flavor you'd like to try out in a lip balm? In this class we'll make our own batch of lip balm using only all natural organic ingredients and you'll be able to take some home!
The cost is $22 per person and includes a tube of lip balm.
Thursday, August 8
6:30 - 8:30 pm
5858 S 43rd Street, Greenfield
Thursday, 29  
6:30 - 8:30 pm
5858 S 43rd Street, Greenfield 
To sign up, go to
Call Shannon at 262-515-5331 to schedule your own group training





Soaps and Salves!

This past week I traveled twice to Riverside High School to do two different classes for the Milwaukee Recreation Department. Wednesday night twenty woman joined me to learn how to make soap the cold process method using goat's milk and all organic oils. I separated the large group into four teams that took on the task of measuring out the oils, goat's milk and lye and then everyone took turns mixing up the batches until trace was reached which is the magical moment when saponification is finally taking place. Over the two hours, the ladies spent time chatting and getting to know each other. It was a relaxed atmosphere and a lot of fun. In the end, everyone went home with a container of soap that should produce at least four bars of soap.

On Thursday, I traveled back to Riverside and braved the congested traffic of Milwaukee Summer Fest. It was another big group of twenty people that showed up to learn how to create a healing salve by infusing medicinal plants into olive oil and combining it with beeswax that can last well over a year. We sat in a circle and talked about how to identify the plants and passed them around for everyone to touch and smell. We even took a field trip out to the parking lot to identify one of the plants, plantain, that you can find in nearly every yard.

I had a great time teaching that class and am grateful to the Milwaukee Rec Department for providing great facilities!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Homemade Body Butter Class at Greenfield Rec Department

I had my first of many natural product classes to be held at the Greenfield Community Center this past Wednesday.  It was a small but enthusiastic group. We talked about infusing oils in order to capture plant characteristics and creating the perfect scent using essential oils. The body butter is made with all natural and organic ingredients and one of the core ingredients is beeswax. The ladies are holding up a seven pound block of beeswax which we shaved to get enough for a batch of body butter. The group was able to choose from three infused oils and settled on lemon grass infused olive oil and they paired it with the sweet scent of bergamot. Other ingredients included vitamin e and coconut butter. Each person took home their own four ounce container of rich, smooth body butter packed with anti-bacterial properties.

Next week, I'll be returning to create lip balms! To sign up for the class, go to!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Greenfield Outdoor Thriving Class

The variety of people I meet during my classes is really a huge part of why I enjoy teaching. Everyone has a different reason for wanting to learn about self-reliance and everyone has different backgrounds. Joel and Gunther, father and son, were going to embark on a hike the next day to tackle the Ice Age Trail and wanted to hone their current skills and learn some new tricks to wilderness survival. Both came with some experience and knowledge and a willingness to learn more. Their enthusiasm and enjoyment of the material was evident. It was nice seeing them working together to complete a project such as learning how to lash a tripod together with paracord. I also taught them how to create a quick release paracord bracelet they could take with them camping so they could continue practicing their new skill.

During this Outdoor Thriving Class I taught as an instructor for the Greenfield Recreation Department, we also tackled how to create cordage or rope from grass found at the park, how to create a great tinder pile you can start a fire with using a ferrocium rod, how to build a solar still to get purified water and identify catnip which can be used as an insect repellent - which was a great thing as there were plenty of mosquitos around.

The weather was perfect and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves! My next class through Greenfield will be a body lotion making class to be held on June 12th. Go to to learn more and sign up!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Permaculture Project Milwaukee

This past weekend the weather was anything but perfect but it was the best forecast for any of days preceeding it or following it, so we committed to putting the permaculture project into place. First, an explanation on the meaning of permaculture. Most people associate the term garden with rows that they grow food on. However, that is not the way a normal ecosystem would grow so permaculture incorporates random and circular planting as well as pairing plants together that support each other. The definition of permaculture is "The development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient." Since I'm all about self-sufficiency, permaculture is truly the way to go.

The day began at 10:00 am in the morning with the arrival of volunteers from the Victory Garden Initiative. Young, enthusiastic and energetic, they dove in with shovels to create a spiral design with paths that led to a large circular herb spiral. We heaped rotting wood debris atop composting material in the center which will be where we will be planting our herbs. Each pie shaped piece leading into the herb spiral will feature a variety of edibles and medicinal plants. After creating the permaculture shape, it was time to plant a few of the medicinals which included comfrey, mullein, st. john's wort, bee balm, lavender, and feverfew to name a few. I'll also try to coax plantain and yarrow into the design as these are two of my favorite medicinals. I make healing salves so the medicinals are an important piece of my business.

It was a lot of work but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it! Thank you Victory Garden Initiative!!!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Women's Outdoor Survival Class

The Women's Outdoor Survival Class was a great mix of ladies. The youngest was 8 years old and her mom was a fellow graduate of UW Stevens Point. We also enjoyed perfect weather throughout the day long workshop.

We started the day out talking about medicinal and edible plants and then broke off into pairs to learn to identify the plants in the field. After that we headed into the prairie area of Grobschmidt woods to talk about finding and collecting proper tinder to start a fire. With six people gathering dead grass and cattail fluff, the task was finished in no time at all.

We then headed into the woods and bushwacked into a wetland area in order to gather straight, tall grass that was perfect for making cordage. We took the grass back to a tree that had fallen over and sat down while I taught how to weave the grass strands into rope. Those closest to me taught the others further away and in no time at all, everyone had weaved about a foot of cordage that was strong enough to use to lash together some wood. With that knowledge we breaked for lunch of bannock bread with foraged dandelion heads and a quick stew. There was an additional home prepared meal for a few gluten free members of the group.

After lunch we learned how to build a debris hut and as the day was drawing to a close we headed back out of the park to sit in the shade while I taught how to make a healing salve using the medicinal plants I had taught at the beginning of class.

An incredibly fun group of ladies made for a perfect day! I love my job!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Stinging Nettle Article from Natural Awakenings

I'm creating a link to an article I wrote for the Natural Awakenings magazine that is published in Milwaukee. The article discusses identification and uses for a plant you will find throughout Wisconsin that most people have had some experience with called Stinging Nettle.

To read the article, click here.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Resiliency Training Becomes Girlscout Community Event Provider

Resiliency Training has now partnered with the SE Wisconsin Girlscouts to provide outdoor  opportunities geared towards gaining Adventure Badges for the various age groups. Courses have been created just for Brownie Hikers, Junior Campers and Cadette Trailblazers. Troop leaders can contact Resiliency Training to set up programming for their troops and learn new skills such as trail map reading, using a compass, identifying edible food sources, quick camp knots, make a survival shelter and how to make a quick start matchless fire.

Under the Environmental Badge categorey, Resiliency Training created a program for Junior Flowers and Cadette Trees. In these courses, girlscouts will learn the science behind flower and tree parts and how they work as well as some amazing benefits both provide.

These courses are designed for troop members to earn a badge in the categories listed above.

To learn more and see these programs in detail, go to the SE Wisconsin Girlscouts webpage here.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Time Has Arrived to Pick Burdock Root!

Now is the time to start looking for the first year burdock plant. Many people are familiar with the burdock in it's second year when it shoots into a tall, woody plant and sports the velcro-like burrs that stick to everything. Look for last year's growth that will probably still have some of those burrs. When you look around that plant and low to the ground, you will see the beginnings of what is to come. The leaves will remind you of rhubarb but look closely at the back of the leaf and you will see that it is white. It almost looks like a fine spiderweb has covered the whole backside. But it isn't the leaf that you will want to forage. Grab a shovel and prepare to dig deep because you are after the root which can go several feet into the ground. Luckily it usually growns straight down which will help in collecting it.

The burdock is a tremendously powerful plant and has been used for many purposes since ancient times. Among its attributes you will find that it is used to de-toxify the body, a diuretic and can be used topically for a variety of skin problems such as eczema, acne and psoriasis. Burdock also contains inulin, which helps control blood sugar levels. This a great plant to have around!

I have collected a bunch so far this season and have canned it so I have it for months to come and have prepared it as a tea so I can drink it daily. The burdock root is easy to prepare. Simply clean the root and peel it much like you would a potato. The root will be a beautiful white that will quickly brown in the air. I chop it quickly and drop it into a cold bath of water. You can save a few pieces to make tea. Simply chop the root into 2 inch sections and quarter those length-wise. One two inch piece chopped into four pieces can be added to 2 cups of boiling water. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes then take off the burner and sit for 20 minutes. You will notice the water will turn blue. The taste is quite pleasant if you like potatoes. You can reuse your pieces until you notice the water no longer turns blue.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Self-Reliance Center

My dream is to create a Self-Reliance Center. In my classes there is an over-riding theme that I hear from participants both young and old for a need to return to skills and knowledge of the past. As one 82 year old person put it, "We have no where left to go but backwards." There is a desire to get away from the negative effects that large corporations have on our society when they have no regard for the health of the people they serve. There is a desire to become more self-sufficient and community oriented where people do care about each other and help each other to live fuller more meaningful lives. There is a press even in very urban environments for the knowledge to grow healthy food free from pesticides, herbicides and GMOs.

The center would be an all-inclusive environment to teach homesteading skills, permaculture, vermiculture, aquaculture, solar power, the latest wood stove heating innovations, bee keeping, chicken raising, edible plants and preparation techniques, herbal remedies and bushcraft/survival skills. The Center will be a modern facility that would combine the knowledge of the past with the innovative technology of the present. There would be comfortable housing for a week long stay where participants could immense themselves in the environment and learn from the very best in their field. They would go back to their homes feeling empowered with the knowledge and skills to move further in the direction of self-sufficiency. Once a part of the program, we would always be available to assist them in any way we could.

This is my dream and I believe there is a strong need and desire for these skills. There is no better way than hands-on training to learn new skills and no better way to reach a larger audience than to create a center dedicated to just that.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Summer Class Schedule

This is a quick look at the summer course schedule for Resiliency Training. For a complete description and to sign up for the courses, go to As always, if you are interested in hosting a particular class at a different location for a group event, you can always contact me, Shannon, at 262-515-5331.
June 1 10:00-1:00 pm  Outdoor Thriving Skills. (Will be held at Konkel Park)

June 1 2:00-4:00 pm Survival Plants (Will be held at Konkel Park) 

June 12 6:30-8:30 pm  Make Your Own Herbal Body Lotion (Will be held at Greenfield Community Center)

June 15th 9:00-4:00  Survival Skills (Will be held at Grobschmidt Park)

June 19th 6:30-8:30 pm Make Your Own Lip Balm (Will be held at Greenfield Community Center)

June 26th 6:30-8:30 pm Goat's Milk Herbal Soap (Will be held at Riverside)

June 27 6:30 - 8:30 pm Make Your Own Healing Salve (Will be held at Riverside)

 July 11 6:30-8:30 pm Make Your Own Body Butter (Will be held at Juneau Community Center)

July 13th 10:00 - 1:00 pm Outdoor Survival Skills (Will be held at Riverside High School)

July 17th 6:30- 8:30 pm Disaster Preparedness (Will be held at Riverside High School)

July 18th 6:30-8:30 pm Make Your Own Lip Balm (Will be held at Juneau Community Center)

 July 24th 6:30 – 8:30 pm Wilderness and Urban Water Purification (Will be held at Riverside High School)

July 25th 6:30-8:30 pm Survival Plants (Will be held at Riverside High School)

July 31st 6:30-8:30 pm Make Your Own Healing Salve (Will be held at Greenfield Community Center)

August 3rd 6:30 -8:30 pm Survival Plants (Will be held at Riverside)

August 7th 6:30 -8:00 pm Learn How to Make Paracord Bracelets (Will be held at Riverside)


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Another Soap Making Class at Greenfield

Another great mix of ladies at the April 10th soap making class held at Greenfield Community Center. I like to ask the participants why they come to the class and it is always interesting to listen to the stories. One person has very sensitive skin and wanted to find a product that wasn't harsh to wash with. Another had already ventured into making laundry soap and wanted to create her own body soap. We also had a returning participant from the March class who simply enjoyed the class so much, she wanted to go through again. A common theme for everyone was the desire to become another step closer to self-sustainability and returning to a simpler time reviving skills that were commonplace in a bygone era. Since embarking on my business of teaching Resiliency Skills I have found this to be a common factor that has branched across all age understanding that big business does not have sustainable practices so we must become even more conscious of the choices we make in regards to the food we consume and the products that we use.

One reason I truly enjoy teaching this class is that is gives plenty of time to get to know the people who are taking the class. After all the ingredients are measured and everyone is taking turns stirring the batch, the group inevitably takes the time to get to know each other while we wait for the soap to "trace", There is a comraderie that is formed over this very simple yet satisfying task. Over two hours, strangers somehow become friends

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Natural Body Care Product Classes

I have added three new classes to the Greenfield roster of classes for the summer:

Make Your Own Herbal Natural Body Lotion
Adults & Teens (Ages 16+)

Do you have sensitive skin or just can't find a natural body lotion that you like? Have you ever wondered how to create your own body butter with a scent that YOU like? Here's the chance! We'll be creating a body lotion with only all natural, organic ingrediants that is gentle enough to use on even the most sensitive skin. You'll learn how to infuse your favorite herb and use it in a homemade lotion.
Wednesday, June 12

6:30-8:30 PM 5813.401
Greenfield Community Center, Activity Room A
$22/ $29 Non-Res.
Make Your Own Natural Lip Balm
Adults & Teens (Ages 16+)
Do you go through lip balm like crazy and would like to learn how to make your own and have a constant supply? Do you LOVE minty lip balm but feel most brands don't put in enough mint flavor? Do you have a favorite flavor you'd like to try out in a lip balm? In this class we'll make our own batch of lip balm using only all natural organic ingredients and you'll be able to take some home!
Wednesday, June 19
6:30-8:30 PM 5813.402
Greenfield Community Center, Activity Room A
$22/ $29 Non-Res.
Make Your Own Healing Salve
Adults & Teens (Ages 16+)
Plants have incredible medicinal properties. Many plants have a long history as powerful 'healing herbs' used topically for wounds, cuts and abrasions. In this class you will learn how to identify and gather these local plants and how to harness these properties into a healing salve.
Wednesday, July 31
6:30-8:30 PM 5813.403
Greenfield Community Center, Activity Room A
$22/ $29 Non-Res.
To sign up for the classes, go to