Laura Cascardi

Founder & Herb Teacher

Laura’s passion for herbalism, healing, and well-being is evident in her 20 + years of working with herbs and people. She began her formal education with herbs at the Rocky Mountain Center of Botanical studies where she graduated in 2001 as a certified herbalist. In 2013 she graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Botany. In 2014, Laura co-founded the Equinox Center of Herbal Studies where she is the director and one of the primary teachers.

As an herbalist, Laura uses a variety of techniques to work with the clients’ well being.

In private consultations she works one on one to discover tools for personal wellness that best serve each person. She focuses on creating a safe space where the individual can explore spiritual, emotional and physical growth. Laura loves coupling her herbal knowledge with her botanical expertise, and as a long time resident of the Front Range, she is extremely familiar with local flora and often hosts herb walks focusing on edible and medicinal uses of local plants. Furthermore, she offers more intensive botany workshops and private plant identification consultations to teach others how deepen their knowledge of the plants.

Contact Laura at or schedule an appointment.

Chelsea Gilmore

Fermentation Science

Human with long blonde hair stands in front of conifer trees with closed eyes

Chelsea Gilmore is an artist, educator, and herbalist living and working in the Front Range of Colorado. As a youngster, Chelsea had an affinity to all things nature, art and food, and in her growing years found ways to combine these fascinations. Through the years, she has worked on organic farms, been a garden and farm educator, art teacher, worked at local markets and bakeries, and taught nutrition, cooking, and food preservation classes.

Along with her passions in cooking and food security, Chelsea is a certified clinical herbalist through the Equinox Center of Herbal Studies, in Fort Collins, where she has spent more than five years intensively studying herbalism. Chelsea likes long walks in the forest, foraging wild foods, dancing like nobody’s watching, and in her free time she likes to paint murals, build resilient creative communities, and support other artists.

At Equinox Center, Chelsea shares her love of food, food preservation and herbs in our interactive, hands on fermentation series as well as joining us for Materia Medica presentations and other special classes throughout the year.

Follow Chelsea on Instagram and check out her website.

Amy Kousch

Urban Agriculture, Organic Herbs, Ecosystem Design

Human with blonde hair holds a container in front of many seedlings starts in a greenhouse

Amy Kousch is founder, owner, and head grower of Berchta Botanicals. Amy has been farming beyond organic herbs, flowers, and vegetables for a decade in both Colorado and New England. Having owned and managed several diversified operations, she founded Berchta Botanicals three years ago as a medicinal plant nursery and herb farm – and now, education center. Along with propagating native, at-risk, and geographically far-flung plant medicine, Berchta Botanicals serves the community as a medicinal plant cultivation education center. In this capacity, Amy runs a farm school for adults and teaches workshops all along the front range of Colorado.

Amy has a Bachelor’s degree in natural resources and a Master’s degree in agricultural sciences with a concentration in sustainable agriculture education from Colorado State University. Her true education has been in the capitulating passion to grow medicine that makes people smile – and she is forever a student of ecosystem design, soil science, and the expansive nature of habitat resilience and growth. Amy, along with Berchta, strives to help plant lovers connect to the wellness that they desire via working with soil, seeds, and plants. 

Alie Sweany-Rich

Earth Art

Alie Sweany-Rich is an Earth Artist, Ceremonialist, Herbalist, Nature-Art Guide and Founder of Wild Roots Studio. She offers soulful nature-based art workshops, custom rituals and art installations aimed to support & strengthen our connection to nature and explore our wild creativity. She is endlessly inspired by the peace and soulfulness that nature stirs in one’s heart. She believes that nature art is a powerful vehicle to support us in syncing with our natural rhythms and helps us feel more in tune with the seasons and cycles that hold us.

Alie believes creativity is medicine for the soul, as it allows us to quiet our mind chatter and let our wild, inner voice talk through our hands. Creating something with intention from the heart is truly our purest offering out into the world. It allows us an opportunity to offer something soulful out into the world for others to see their soul in yours. Creating art with nature reminds us of our innate and deep rooted connection to our Mother Earth. Reminding us that we are not separate from nature, yet we are all a part of nature. Taking part in all of nature’s cycles and rhythms and by aligning with them we can live with more grace, ease and joy.

Alie received a BA in Fine Arts from Colorado State University and studied under Marghanita Hughes via Educating the Heart Through Nature Program. She received her Permaculture Design Certification at Quail Springs Permaculture. She worked as a Head Gardener for Omega Institute for Holistic Studies and Sustainability Specialist at New Belgium Brewing Company before starting Wild Roots Studio in 2011. She is a Certified Herbalist graduating from the Equinox School of Herbal Studies and is currently studying to become a Flower Essence Practitioner via The Bach Centre and FES.

When not making earth art you can find her playing with and loving on her two children, hiking, making plant medicine, gardening, stargazing or tending to her bees.

Aubrey Rice


Throughout my coursework at the Nutrition Therapy Institute I was able to relate how lifestyle and culture impact our food choices because of my background studying social and psychological questions, while earning my BA in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. As a CNTP (Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner) I have completed 305 contact hours studying the science of anatomy & physiology in relation to the biochemical interaction with nutrients to have a comprehensive understanding of nutrition. While learning about food I became interested in restorative agriculture in relationship to the impact our financial food choices make on the environment. As I continued to evolve as a practitioner I sought out additional training and became a certified Be Free Breathwork facilitator. Through my breathwork sessions I have witnessed the changes a person can make when they allow themselves to step into their own power.

Contact Aubrey at or via email at

Joshua Paquette

Inclusive Reproductive Systems

Joshua holds certification in herbalism from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism (NAIMH), as well as from the Columbines School of Botanical Studies. He began his formal study of the natural world in 2005 at the University of Maine, Orono where he was introduced to the craft of environmental education. Since then he has had the opportunity to work with some outstanding botanists and herbalists in the field. His time with Howie Brounstein and Steven Yeager at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Oregon has enlivened his passion for botany, ecology, and wildcrafting ethics. His studies with Paul Bergner at The North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in Boulder, Colorado revealed the powers of vitalism as a therapeutic approach to healing as well as a way of living—namely, that our body’s innate intelligence does much of work, one has only to encourage the flames a bit and step out of the way (which is much more challenging than it sounds).

Joshua teaches classes on field botany, wildcrafting ethics, herbalism, myth and story. He is a core faculty member at Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism (CSCH) in Lafayette, Colorado, where he teaches botany, nutrition, herbalism, and natural therapeutics. Some of his writings can be found his personal blog:

Dani Castillo

Cultural Appropriation

Dani Castillo lives in Fort Collins, CO with her husband Peter, her Daughter Sabine, their cat Sage Guadalupe and Luna the dog. Dani loves nature and dabbles in herbalism and other earthly spiritual pursuits. She also happens to be good at technology and visual communication. Dani teaches full time at Colorado State University in the Journalism Department.