The Hjertoos House Learning Center
The Snoqualmie Valley is the first place I located on the map and visited when I first moved here from Montana in 1979. I bee-lined to the Tolt McDonald Park in Carnation, which became a favorite park to visit over the years. It was an incredible full circle to move into the 1907 historic Hjertoos House which borders the park, now carrying a full body of knowledge about the cultural and ecological history of this place.
Sustainable Work in the Community
I have had the amazing privilege of working directly with the sustainable farming community in the valley, first as the Carnation Farmers Market manager for 6 years (2004-2010).
I also had the privilege of being hired as Executive Director of Sno Valley Tilth for five years (2005-10). Through this work I gained a deep insight into the challenges and joys of being part of this movement with delicious food at its core, and health of people and the planet as its outcome.
In 2006 I was hired by the Snoqualmie Tribe to implement a Traditional Knowledge for Preventative Health program, which became a five year project. I shared the body of knowledge I gained through my marriage to Ralph Bennett, Haida, and the many other native people and cultural experts I've had the privilege to learn from, along with my own research related to traditional plant knowledge.
My work ranged from basketry to traditional foods, plant medicine, fiber art and native plant gardens. In 2010 I was hired full time as Cultural Advisor and eventually as Ethnobotanist in the Canoe Family, Lushootseed Language Program and Environmental & Natural Resources Department, where I continued to help influence the revitalization of cultural knowledge around traditional foods, native plant restoration, plant medicines and more. I left that position in June 2014 to fully pursue my writing and teaching work in the broader community and continue my friendships in the tribal community.