Misha Nell

Misha Nell

Guest Teacher

Melissa “Misha” Nell, MS, is a Registered Herbalist through the American Herbalist’s Guild, an intuitive artist, medicine woman, and teacher living in sunny Sarasota, Florida. An environmental enchantress, Misha believes that the natural world holds the keys to unlocking the human heart, and she deeply enjoys bringing the wonder of nature forward through a variety of eclectic educational and art-based offerings.As an herbalist and Florida native, Misha specializes in tropical plants common to Southwest Florida, endeavoring to help others learn how to work with their local resident species. She works with both Florida natives and local exotic invasives to create a herbal medica that is local, sustainable, and accessible. Misha is trained in both Western and Chinese clinical herbalism and has deep knowledge of traditional healing, ethnobotanical, and classical pioneer practices of Florida and the Caribbean.For over 30 years, Misha worked as a key state leader in environmental education, helping thousands of children and adults connect to nature through her diverse and creative programming, interpretive sign design, and volunteer initiatives. For 13 years she worked as the past Volunteer and Education Division Manager for Manatee County’s Natural Resources Department, creating award winning national educational programs such as the Taking Flight GeoTour, the first ever education-based Groundspeak Geocache Tour, and nature centers including the NEST at Robinson Preserves. Happily retired from the governmental sector, she now regularly sees clients for herbalism, Reiki, and shamanic healing work at Cypress Pillar Healing Arts Center, which she co-manages with her husband. She runs the center’s herbal shop, which features over 100 healing plants including many she wild crafts locally. Her great passion is teaching, and she offers a variety of classes online and in person at Cypress, including a suite of offerings that focus on empowering folx of all backgrounds to connect to, and work with, the plant allies. Misha holds Bachelors degrees in fine arts and botany from New College and a MS in environmental education from NOVA Southeastern, and is a Florida Master Naturalist Instructor for the University of Florida in Manatee, Sarasota, Pinellas, Lee, and Hillsborough Counties as well as holding certifications as a Certified Interpretive Guide and Certified Heritage Interpreter.

Learn from Misha at the Florida Herbal Conference:

  • {How to Host a} Foraging Florida Plant Walk - Take a walk on the wild side with Registered Herbalist and Florida Master Naturalist Instructor Misha Nell. There’s no telling what you will find while out on the trail, but Misha will show you how to handle it! During this unique class, Misha will of course take you on a wander through the woods, where you will get to check out all sorts of interesting medicinal and edible species. However, this happy hike will be presented from the standpoint of the educator, and along the way Misha will share tips and tricks on hosting plant walks that are safe and sustainable, for both your audience *and* the environment. Participants will gain insight on how to share the wonders of the wild world, with a focus on interpretive technique that is inclusive and empowering for participants of all ages and backgrounds.

    Have you always wanted to lead a plant walk, but are not sure how to start? Perhaps you are curious about how to lead a group in nature, or maybe you’re wondering about how to gain permission to access public lands? Bring all of your tour-related questions and Misha will be your guide both in the physical world of the wild as well as helping you learn to navigate the backend business of creating fun and exciting nature based tours.

  • Invaders Among Us! Re-Imagining Invasive Exotic Plants from Perilous Pests into Helpful Healers - Air Potato. Caesar Weed. Wedelia. Rosary Pea. The names of these exotic invasive plants strike fear into the hearts of savvy land managers across our home state of Florida…and yet in cultures around the world these very same plants are welcomed as time honored healers. In this fascinating exploration of all things exotic, you will meet some of Florida’s most infamous plants and examine them through the differing lenses of scientist, shaman, and sage. We will begin with an examination of the plants’ role in the native Florida ecosystem, to acknowledge and establish their impact upon our local habitats and their resident creatures. As we develop an understanding of why there is such a negative view of these plants in Conservation and Land Management, we unlock a great possibility to shift that energy - improving the reputation of the plants. In doing so, we also open up the potential of working closely with these plants in a way that supports restoration of native habitats across the state. Misha will share basic botanical identification for each selected target species, as well as simple medicinal or spiritual preparations for each. After 30+ years of working in environmental education in her home state of Florida, Misha has helped thousands learn about the problems inherent with invasives, and has spent countless hours leading volunteer workdays to remove exotic infestations. She is excited to teach the Florida herbalism community how to help cultivate a respect for plant spirts that have been traditionally maligned in the literature and science, providing a wealth of wildcrafting opportunities as well. Class will include handouts and live examples of the plants (carefully contained so as to not further spread infestation).

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