SPEAKERS
Note: Speakers will be updated over the next few days to reflect the actual presenters. 

Darryl Patton

Darryl Patton has been hunting, gathering and working with medicinal plants for the past 38 years on Lookout Mountain in the Southern Appalachians. Darryl is an ND as well as a Master Herbalist and brings many years of experience to the field of alternative medicine. Known for his easy-going approach towards teaching the identification and uses of medicinal plants, Darryl has been called a walking encyclopedia of herbal folklore.

For 13 years, Darryl was privileged to spend thousands of hours studying under the late A. L. "Tommie" Bass, one of the last of the old mountain herb doctors.

 

Known internationally among herbalists as well as the common folk living near Lookout Mountain, Alabama, Tommie Bass used his God-given ability and vast knowledge of medical herbs to help thousands of people from all walks of life.

 
 
 
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Maggie B. Conklin BA, ND

Maggie grew up in Saugatuck, Michigan, where she lives today. She moved away to go to college in St. Louis, Missouri where she graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. degree. After graduation she worked for two years managing the oldest health food store in St. Louis. While there she worked closely with an ND and soon realized that she had a calling to work as an ND herself, but she didn’t have the means to go back to school at the time.

 

She then moved back home to Michigan where she met her husband Ron and worked for twenty two years at a company that imports and distributes vitamin, herb, and nutraceutical raw materials to vitamin manufacturers throughout North America. In this position she worked closely with hundreds of supplement manufacturers and has visited dozens of these companies. During this time she read daily reports from around the world on the most recent science about these products, and many people started

coming to her with their natural health questions because of her wide knowledge. Reading innovative science is still part of her daily regimen.

Once their youngest son graduated from college Maggie found that she had “empty nest syndrome” with both extra time and extra funds on her hands. Remembering her desire to become an ND she finally did so, partly so that she could put that diploma behind her already large repertoire of natural health knowledge, and mostly because it called to her soul. She could honestly say that she fully understood nutritional supplements from beginning to end, from manufacturing to how they affected the human body.

Maggie owns her own practice, LadyHawk Nutrition LLC in Saugatuck, Michigan, where she enjoys enlightening clients about their own health and nutrition, and especially likes watching each person’s journey towards health. In this practice she uses many types of nutritional therapies to find the causes of disease and then offer her clients options to address those causes. In this way they are able to remove the sources of disease and allow the body to heal.

She also leads impromptu and informal “herb walks” when the Michigan weather allows. Maggie is just as comfortable teaching one-on-one as she is in a small group or in front of a crowd of hundreds. The end results are the same; she teaches others and they in turn teach her. Every interaction is a learning opportunity.

Frustrated with being able to help only one person or one family at a time, she leapt at the offer from Darryl Patton to help him start a school of natural health. She is comforted by the number of people who can acquire the secrets of nature and healing from Heirloom Academy of Healing Arts, and how they in turn will spread that knowledge around the world.

With all of these passions she can even find time to write books. “Meatatarian: The Next Level of Paleo Diet” is the first to be published. You can download it or buy a paperback copy on Amazon.

 

Bob Lang

Dr. Lang has been in the nutrition and supplement business for 20 plus years. Currently Dr. Bob owns Huckleberry Lang, LLC in Cullman, AL where he enjoys seeing clients to do Iridology. Practicing Iridology as a diagnostic tool gives a very precise understanding of the strengths and weakness of the body. With this understanding the practitioner is able to give an intelligent recommendation for supplements and/or single herbs/herbal formulas.

 

Dr. Lang not only will be teaching body constitutions but will also integrate the emotional information that is registered in the eye.

 

Becky Bishop

Becky is a seventh generation Alabamian, descended from pioneer-farmers.​

Her passions are herbalism, American history and genealogy. She first learned of medicinal herbs from her grandparents, Gary and Janet Smith of Ashland, AL in 2009. The following year, she attended her first plant walk with Darryl Patton and her interest in herbalism has continued to grow.​

 Becky is a graduate of Jacksonville State University with a Bachelor of Science and is a current student in the Deep South Center for Herbal Studies, where she studies under Master Herbalist Darryl Patton.

 

Matt St. John is a Naturopathic Doctor and herbalist, founder of St. John's Nutrition and a formulator for other natural product companies. He enjoys spending his time educating others about health and wellness through conducting seminars, writing, participating in radio shows, and making television appearances. He lives with his beautiful family in the Lookout Mountain region of Alabama and has committed himself to making health and wellness easy to understand while also being readily available to everyone regardless of their economic status, race, culture, or beliefs.

At 16 years of age, Matt met folk herbalist Tommie Bass who lived only a half hour from his home. Upon discovering that Matt had a myriad of health issues, Tommie assisted him in getting well so that he could start a new life focused on health and wellness. This new life quickly became engrossed in learning about and incorporating natural medicine not only into his life but helping others find wellness through natural medicine. Matt would visit Tommie often where he began to learn about specific formulations and concepts of natural medicine, and this is where our story began.  From this time, Matt met Tommie’s understudy and friend, the renowned herbalist Darryl Patton, and trained under various wellness experts and practitioners for decades.  Matt has opened over 13 health food stores and clinics across the Southeast, and is the founder of St. John’s Nutrition in Oxford Alabama.

 

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Suzanne Shires

Suzanne Upton is a North Carolina native homesteader and herbalist, and calls the Blue Ridge her home. She grew up in a large family with acres of gardens, preserving food as naturally as possible. She began canning with her mother at seven years old and learned sustainability from ‘mountain folk’ grandparents.

 

Being among the first generation in her family to be born in a hospital, she grew up with Granny-women who found ways to heal from the plants and remedies of Appalachia.

 

Her homestead contains heirloom vegetables, herbs gardens and fruit orchards for a sustainable lifestyle. Over the years she began a serious education into herbalism and nutrition, including foraging wild foods and medicines, fermenting, winemaking, finding nutrition and flavor in wild foods, as well as homemade vinegars, seasonings and herbal remedies.

 

She readily passes on her foraging, harvesting and preserving abilities, teaching others about how to find foods and medicinal plants in nature and maintaining health with diet and herbal remedies.

 
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Phillip Winter

 

Philip lives in Canton Georgia with his beautiful wife and daughter. Philip has been interested in natural medicines for many years. He has a Bachelors of Science in Alternative Medicine from Everglades University in Florida.

 

Philip completed 2 years at Botanologos School of Herbal Studies and and Herbal Basics course at the Human Path. He is currently in his fourth year studying under Darryl Patton and the Deep South Center for Herbal Studies.

 

Philip likes to experiment with different types of fermentation and is a certified mushroom forager, a mushroom cultivator and has taught Wild edibles classes at SARCRAFT in Canton, Georgia.

 

Philip enjoys growing edible and medicinal plants.

 
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Jasmene

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Thomas Rhem

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Thomas and Jasmene Rhem met in 1981 and had their first date climbing a mountain in Huntsville, AL, blazing their own trail. It was then that they realized they both had a love for the outdoors and began to work with a group called Pathfinders, very similar to the Girls and Boy Scouts program, where many outdoor activities are taught. They began teaching as counselors and moved up the ranks to Conference Coordinators where they were responsible for several southern states, teaching outdoor camping skills, wilderness survival, etc. It was while conducting a 10-hour weekend session in 1991 that they introduced wild edible plants.
 
The response was so positive that by January of 1992 the Wilderness Survival Camping 4-Phase program was born (with a Christian twist). Geared toward those somewhat reluctant or inexperienced in the outdoors, each phase built off of the previous and helped individuals to slowly integrate the outdoor lifestyle. They started by going to national forest and state parks, utilizing the primitive areas for camping skills, and ended up being blessed to live and teach wilderness camping, wild edible plants, and all things outdoorsy on over 570 acres of virgin wilderness. That’s where their love of wild plants was immensely enhanced. And they, especially Jasmene, traversed the land, “their big backyard” daily.
 
They lived as Rangers on this private wilderness area for 15 years…from 1997-2012, after which they moved and began traveling throughout the US sharing their knowledge to “anyone who would listen” and their enthusiasm and joy was and still is being rewarded with numerous seminars and workshops monthly.
 
Jasmene Rhem’s experience with the outdoors, camping, and wild edible/medicinal plants began almost a decade before meeting her husband Thomas. It was birthed by her father who took the whole family of 7 children camping the old way, with canvas tents, digging trenches, etc. every summer as a young child. She began studying wild edibles on her own, however as a teenager, in her words, “wherever there was a bit of greenery, whether in a school, church, or home… anywhere, she was out there with her one book, which she carried everywhere.” She now has well over 400 books in her library on wild edible/medicinal plants, including tasting, testing, and identifying. When she met her husband she began to share her “hobby” with him, and he enthusiastically joined her on her quest to share with others the wonders of nature and the innumerable free foods and medicine in one’s backyard.
 
This joining of the minds lead to a ministry, called “Outdoor Education” which they have been doing collectively for over 37 years. Jasmene has been studying wild edibles for over 45 years, and the medicinal aspect for over 25 years. That journey began when her son was sick with asthma and seemed to get no help from traditional remedies, as well as numerous other medical products in her home, while natural and alternative methods helped tremendously.
 
They currently do a lot of traveling teaching seminars and workshops on wild edibles, and still conduct the wilderness survival 4-phase camping program. They teach and do rappelling, spelunking, primitive camping, exploring, horseback riding, canoeing, and whitewater rafting; they do just about anything outdoors, except bungee jumping.
 
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Dr. Joanne Smith

Dr. JoAnne Smith is a Board Certified Family Physician in Andalusia, AL with over 25 years of practice in clinic, hospital, nursing homes, hospice and outpatient mental facilities.  She is on the teaching staff of Alabama Osteopathic Medical School in Dothan and has taught many students as well as nursing and nurse practitioner students. She is also Chief of Staff at Andalusia Health.

 

She has always had an interest in plants and herbal medicine that was instilled in her from her grandfather and mother.  This interest eventually led to becoming certified in Family, Community and Clinical Herbalism. She first encountered Darryl Patton in 2013 at an Herb Day in Montgomery, AL and has been studying with him since that time.  She has studied with numerous other well-known herbalists and is continuing to develop her herbal knowledge.

 

Dr. Smith has three children, ten grandchildren and one great grandchild that make use of her herbal knowledge. She uses her knowledge in her practice and can refer to other herbal practitioners when needed.  She lives on a farm and grows and wild crafts many of the herbs that she uses.  Dr. Smith also preserves, ferments and cans much of her farm produce.

 

As well as being a medical professional, Dr. Smith is also an accomplished artist with awards given in many different mediums.  Her favorite medium is working with gourds where she cuts, paints, carves, sculpts and weaves them into her art pieces. 
 

Hakim Isler

 
Hakim Isler (aka the Black MacGyver) is the nation’s premier professional African-American survival expert. A combat veteran, Isler studied at the U.S. Army’s Survivial, Escape, Resistance and Evasion (SERE-C) school before undertaking advanced survival training at several Survival Schools. He is a specialist in combat weapons, executive security, close protection, disaster psychology, and psychological operations; is trained in both asset and event protection; and is certified in emergency management, disaster mitigation, human intelligence, shooting tactics, tactical combat casualty care, and wilderness first aid. Isler instructs at various levels, ranging from training high-level professionals in defensive tactics to teaching kids at his own dojo for 15 years (he is a fifth-degree black belt in Ninjutsu and a Guru in Kali and Silat). The author of several emergency preparedness manuals on survival and of four books, Isler has also invented and patented survival-related products. His expertise in survival, defense, and escape tactics within both wilderness and urban environments led to his appearances on Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid and Naked and Afraid XL, FOX’s Kicking and Screaming, and Discovery’s First Man Out—not to mention The Kelly Clarkson Show. With a strong belief in supporting community, Isler has developed inner-city youth empowerment programs and is founder and president of The Soil Foundation, a wilderness therapy and survival training nonprofit
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Holly Drake

My name is Holly Drake and I live in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina. I am a trained herbalist who has become a wild edible plant enthusiast, consultant, and teacher.  I taught at events and to groups locally for many years but for the past year have been presenting a weekly plant class 'live' on my Facebook group, Wild Blessings w/ Holly Drake and on my Wild Blessings YouTube channel. The class covers what is visible that week in nature's wave with the highly seasonal aspect of foraging. I often spend an entire episode featuring a deep dive into befriending one plant and it's many offerings including how it is edible, practical, medicinal and even spiritual.

My well loved Wild Blessings Forage to Feast gatherings have featured instruction time followed by a dining experience utilizing wild foods served with international recipes and have drawn people from all over the south east.

I seek to inspire people (of all ages) to get OUTSIDE and into nature to be renewed and refreshed and to reclaim the wild provision God has given us with food and medicine.  I point learners to the Creator whose handiwork is available to us all.

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Joey Nofsinger

Joey Noffsinger trained and has worked as a Registered Nurse for the last 16 years in various clinical and administrative settings including Neuro ICU, Dialysis and Psychiatric modalities.

 

His love for alternative and functional health led him to a plant walk where he met Darryl Patton and is now beginning his third year studying at the Deep South Center for Herbal Studies.

 

Last year he partnered with a local small scale hemp farm and has recently started an LLC called the Fruited Root where he hopes to bring small batch herbal based products to functional health clinics. He lives in Beacon TN with his beatiful wife Mende and their two girls Sailor and Sadie.

 

Dave and Brenda Causey

David and Brenda Causey, of Causey Bee Farm close to Nashville, TN, have been beekeeping for close to 10 years and it’s been an exciting journey.

 

As every beekeeper will tell you, it’s a roller coaster every season, sometimes every day. We try to make the environment as hospitable as possible for our sweet bees, whether it’s planting flowers, vegetables and fruit trees that they love, or being vigilant and attentive to whenever they need more room in their home or just aren’t happy for some reason.

 

We’ve really enjoyed working with the bees and learning so much about them. It’s a whole new world that we never knew about until we took the plunge into beekeeping!

Abigail Hays

 

Abigail Hays, born and raised in Northeast Alabama, now lives in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina with her parents and three siblings. Growing heriloom vegtables and unique fruits and medicinal herbs on their farm or foraging is how they spend most of their days. They also raise dairy goats, chickents and a few puppies. As a child she grew up with big gardens, animals and playing in the woods. Her love for all things outdoor continued to grow, which led her to begin classes with Darryl Patton. She has now been a student of Darryl's since 2019.  With a Scoto-Norman family history of wine making it was only natural for Abigail to find her way to it. Abigail’s first wine lesson was from her mother who makes muscadine wine every year. From there she has made wine from grapes, beets, herbs, onions and more. Her interest in herbal medicine has brought her to making medical wines and tonics. 

 

 

Dr. Frannie Koe

Bio Coming Soon

Brian Boatwright

Brian Boatwright is a Wilderness Skills instructor in Northeast Alabama. As a youth, Brian’s love of the outdoors and the Old Way of living, was kindled through the “Foxfire” series of books, studying and practicing the skills of the inhabitants of the Appalachian mountains. Much time of his teen years were spent on the banks of the Coosa River, fishing, running trot lines and trapping. Throughout his life, hunting, camping, hiking and studying wild plant edibles were of high interest. In Brian’s adult life, this love of the outdoors inspired him to further study the skills of Herbal Plant medicines, Bushcraft and survival skills. Brian sought out Darryl Patton’s Deep South Center for Herbal Studies, and has been training with Darryl, aka “The Southern Herbalist” for the last five years as an Herbalist. Brian also received training in Bushcraft and Navigation, through multiple classes with Randall’s Adventure Training (RAT) in Gallant Alabama. Through RAT, Brian met James Gibson (Knob Creek Forge), a Wilderness Instructor, knife forger, flint knapper etc., and has spent much time under the instruction of James, learning his skill set. Brian attributes Darryl and James to the bulk of his knowledge in his studies. Brian lives in Northeast Alabama with his wife of 32 yrs, and their 2 sons. He currently, with partner Johnny Speigle, operate a Wilderness Skills School.

Emily Giles

I started working in healthcare as a Physical Therapist Assistant in 2001. In 2007, as I watched my 2 year old struggle with asthma and chronic bronchitis that traditional medicine was not able to fix, I prayed for wisdom and looked to herbs. We started using a Respiratory & Cough formula and another herbal formula to boost her immune system. Within 3 days, her mucous went from green to clear and within one week she was completely well. It has now been over 13 years since she has had an outbreak. When I saw how well herbs worked to help my daughter, I was sold! I immediately dove into the study of herbs, specifically used medicinally. It wasn’t long before I was making my own formulas for my family and friends. Then I met Darryl Patton and studied under him for 3 years learning even more about identifying herbs in the wild, and the medicinal and edible uses of plants. Today I have my own herb shop in Somerville Tennessee where I make and prepare many herbal formulas for medicinal issues. It is also a coffee shop and cafe with the focus on community. I also do a lot of teaching and outreach in my community with those in poverty and struggling in addiction.

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