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Teacher Bios

Mimi Hernandez

Mimi Hernandez comes from a background as an herbalist and as an ethnobotanist. Her teachings weave together science, tradition, and intuition in ways that speak to diverse learning communities. In her home range, Appalachia, Mimi is probably best known for providing cultural heritage outreach to local mountain residents through mountain root lore. Mimi draws upon her rich ethnic background & the Latin American Granny healers in her life. She believes that the handing down of plant wisdom is essential and it is her life's work to advocate for traditional and professional herbal pathways while building cultural bridges of understanding. She has had the remarkable opportunity to honor this work through past and present leadership roles within various educational communities including a former appointment at Appalachian Center for Ethnobotanical Studies at Frostburg State University, a current position as the Executive Director  the American Herbalists Guild, and a founding member of the One World Healing Community.


Doug Elliott            

Doug Elliott is a naturalist, herbalist, storyteller, basket maker, back-country guide, philosopher, and harmonica wizard. For many years he made his living as a traveling herbalist, gathering and selling herbs, teas, and remedies.  He has spent a great deal of time with traditional country folk and indigenous people, learning their stories, folklore and traditional ways of relating to the natural world. In recent years he has performed and presented programs at festivals, museums, botanical gardens, nature centers, and schools from Canada to the Caribbean. He has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival. He has lectured and conducted workshops at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Smithsonian Institution.  He has led ranger training sessions for the National Park Service and guided people on wilderness experiences from down-east Maine to the Florida Everglades.  He was named harmonica champion at Fiddler's Grove Festival in Union Grove, N.C


Jeanine Davis 

Jeanine Davis is a horticulture professor and extension specialist with NC State University who lives, works and runs a small farm in the mountains of WNC. For over 25 years, she has helped farmers, homesteaders and gardeners diversify into new crops and organic agriculture. She is passionate about native medicinal herbs and shares her knowledge and enthusiasm for these special plants through her newly revised book and at conferences and workshops across the country.


Shannon Davis

Shannon Davis is an artist of multiple mediums and an avid home gardener in Hendersonville, NC and has been attending Wild Herb Weekend for more than two decades.. She has developed her own practical and aesthetic relationship with herbs and incorporates them into her spaces naturally.


Laura Denyes

LAURA DENYES grew up spending summers at A.R.E. camp in Appalachia where hiking, creek walks, reverie and tie dye were all a way of life. Natural healing, healthy diet and an environment of shared responsibility cultivated a lifelong sense of community and wellness, amongst other principles of Edgar Cayce; founder, healer and spiritual guide. It was here that Laura’s passions for plant identification and living off the land blossomed after a foraging class with Vickie Shufer. Laura is a photographer, practitioner and student of botanical medicine. She co-owns two businesses, Wish We Had Acres dairy goat farm and Of The Earth Wellness herbal apothecary.


Dr. David Hamilton, ND

DR. DAVID HAMILTON, ND (preferably, ‘Dr. Dave’) received his doctorate of naturopathic medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ. He specializes in botanical medicine, family medicine, pain management, and clinical nutrition utilizing these modalities to best individualize patient care. Dr. Dave co-owns Wish We Had Acres, a small dairy goat farm that embraces Food as Medicine. He offers botanical medicine classes and hosts herb walks on the farm and other venues across Charlotte. The humbling and grounding nature of plants serve as a reminder that all things are connected. Herbs are a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals; given their similarity to food, they have a long history and well-established tradition of use and ease of assimilation by our bodies. By harnessing nature, healthy habits, and the body’s innate ability to heal itself he is able to individualize each patient’s journey toward health.  Dr. Dave believes in creating a maintainable and sustainable approach to your health that allows you to achieve goals at your own pace.


Marcia Edwina Herman

Marcia Edwina Herman, PA, DrPH, is a lifelong plant grower and lover of herbs who grew up in the south. In addition to having had a full time career in pediatrics and public health, she has studied the science and lore of herbs for many years and assisted with the establishment of the Medicinal Garden in the Mercer Reeves Hubbard Herb Garden at the NC Botanical Gardens during the 1980s. In addition to growing, studying, and writing about herbs in various venues, Dr. Herman currently serves as scientific adviser to the Tick-borne Infections Council of NC (  In 2012 she published a small book on a simple way to make herbal teas from common garden plants, Sipping My Garden. Now in its 2nd edition, it is available in local stores and at Marcia has given numerous workshops around the state on making herbal teas and products. She lives and gardens with her husband near Pittsboro, NC, in hearing distance of the Haw River.


Janice Maleyeff

Janice Maleyeff has studied ancient healing techniques for over 25 years, and is working towards her Master’s Degree in Spiritual Healing.  She is a Reiki Master/Teacher, certified in Spiritual Aromatherapy and Crystal Healing, an herbalist, artist, and Certified Angel Intuitive through Divine Blessings Academy. She also teaches Esoteric Philosophy and Natural Health through her studies with Sancta Sophia Seminary and Shamanism through the Foundation of Shamanic Studies. Janice interlaces her intuition with the healing energies of crystals, herbs, essential oils, her spirit guides and angels in her Reiki practice, workshops and her tarot card readings. She strives to assist individuals in restoring wholeness and balance on all levels of the body- physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Janice is the Editor of the NCHA fundraising recipe book, “Cooking with Nature.”


Jeff Rieves

Jeff Rieves has been gardener his entire life, and brings years of experience to any class he teaches.  Steeped in the southern traditions of farming, food culture, and rebellion, Jeff’s wisecracks and wisdom season his classroom instruction. As an agent with the NC Cooperative Extension Service, he worked with the Union County Extension Master Gardeners, a service group that served to lead the horticultural community in developing a sustainable future for the southern piedmont.  Since 2013, he has worked as an independent educator, consultant, and agripreneur.


Michele Collins Vergara

Michele Collins Vergara, RH (AHG), MPH has been practicing as a clinical herbalist since 2004, using traditional Chinese medicine in combination with Chinese, western, and Ayurvedic herbs, Chinese nutritional therapy, medical qi gong, and qi gong instruction.  She owns and operates 4 Branches Chinese Medicine in Winston Salem, NC with her husband, Andres Vergara, Dipl.OM, L.Ac., where they offer a comprehensive application of Chinese medicine and its therapies.  Please see to learn more.


Marc Williams

Marc Williams is an ethnobiologist. He has studied the people, plant, mushroom, microbe interconnection intensively while learning to employ the different kingdoms of biology for food, medicine, and beauty. His training includes a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture with a minor in Business from Warren Wilson College and a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies concentrating in Sustainable Development with a minor in Geography and Planning from Appalachian State University. He has spent over a 15 years working at a multitude of restaurants and various farms. His travels include adventures through 24 countries in North/Central America and Europe and all 50 of the United States. Marc has visited over 100 botanical gardens and research institutions during this process while taking thousands of pictures of representative plants. He is also Executive Director of Plants and Healers International and on the Board of Directors of the Appalachian Institute for Mountain Studies. He has taught hundreds of classes about the marvelous world of plants, people and their interface while working with over 60 organizations in the last few years and online at the website here.  Marc's greatest hope is that his efforts may help improve our current challenging global ecological situation.


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