Gatherers Role Group

Gatherers Role Group, Printable PDF – v10052018

Please note when selecting role groups, the Gatherers group is an alternative to the Gardeners — you cannot have both groups!

All throughout time, the work of the Gatherers has been an important part of the ongoing sustenance of many communities. Dependent upon their immediate environment, many ancestral communities learned to read their surroundings; identifying, gathering and storing what was needed to ensure that their community would not only survive, but in the best of times, flourish. They knew what work needed to be done to best prepare, sow and reap the gifts of each season. In many communities, gatherers traditionally sang and prayed for plentiful harvests and when the harvest was in, they sang, danced and gave thanks for what they received.

When Europeans arrived, they brought their agricultural practices, such as growing crops and raising livestock for meat and wool. The Gardeners Group focuses on the agricultural traditions that the Europeans brought to America, whereas the Gatherers Group delves into the original seasonal gathering that has been practiced here for thousands of years.

As a member of the Gatherer Role Group, you will contribute to the Colony Ross community by learning  to identify, gather and prepare natural materials available in the season(s) during which you are studying your ELP curriculum.


Gatherers Classroom Preparation –

  • (Required) Make a Nature Journal to bring to Colony Ross
  • (Required) Use the links below to choose if you are doing the acorn or cordage project on site, and prepare as needed for your chosen activity.
  • Learn to Forage. Foraging is the process of looking for, identifying and collecting plant material that will be used for a specific purpose.
  • Decide where you’ll practice foraging around your own neighborhood. Before you set out on your adventure, learn what plants you are likely to find. Most importantly, learn to identify which of these plants are poisonous and which are not. Before gathering:
    • Research how to best collect the plants before harvesting them, this includes finding out what time of year any given plant should be harvested as well as how to harvest only what you need and in a way that allows the plants to continue to grow and thrive.
    • Make sure you only take plants that you know to be safe with 100% certainty, and from an area where you know you are allowed to harvest.
    • Please refrain from foraging on State Park or Federal lands, unless you have obtained all necessary permits to do so — not an easy process! Not only do you risk incurring a hefty fine, but you are depleting a legacy being protected for all to enjoy — consider the impact on the land and its resources if everyone who visits were to take ‘just a little something’ away.
  • Research the historic role of gatherers in various communities. For example, throughout the history of this land we call, “Colony Ross”, some of the local purposes for gatherers might have included identifying and gathering: willow branches to make baskets; collecting acorns for bread or a morning porridge; a variety of plants to be used as medicine for the community; collecting ripe berries to add to your meals. Who would most likely be the gatherers at Colony Ross?
  • Do gatherers exist today? If so, research some current examples of gatherers and compare how their lives are similar or different to gatherers throughout history.

Gatherers Classroom Preparation and Onsite Activities –

Choose one onsite activity for which you have prepared before your arrival. (See Classroom Preparations)


Gatherers Additional Information –