For Connie, following and sharing her love of foraging will always be her path.

“I love making my living this way, even though there are certainly ways I could make more money,” Connie concluded, laughing. “But I am so glad to have introduced wild mushrooms and other wild foods at a time when the cuisine of the United States was changing very dramatically. Now a lot of these wild foods have a real chance of helping preserve some of the wild lands. We’ve already had a degree of success in stopping various logging operations and clear-cuts because of the value of the mushrooms that come from those areas.

“I love showing people that they can play a part in experiencing nature in a way that isn’t like going to the gym; they’re not going out just to hike. When people go out and start recognizing food in nature, it creates an intimacy that is not the same as mountain biking, for instance. One of my favorite activities is to take chefs, who are locked in kitchens and work extremely hard in very harsh conditions, out into the woods to find things that they’ve never seen in their natural state. It makes the experience of nature a very, very rich one.“

The joy and delight that comes from seeing and finding and recognizing elements in our environment is built into us. The joy and delight that comes from seeing and finding and recognizing elements in our environment is built into us. We are the descendants of hunter-gatherers and we’re not that far away from it. It still resides in us—some of these trigger points of joy in discovery, the sheer delight of it. It is something that children are exceptionally good at, and it’s a joyful activity to do with little kids because they’re low to the ground—they see things. They feel empowered by this; they’re very good at it, and it gets them away from the computer screen and out into nature.”