St. Lawrence University

North Country Folk Series

Folk Series Instructors

Alison Brant Alison Brant

Alison lives in Potsdam with her husband and son on their homestead where they raise goats and pigs, work ox, garden, and attend to many other homesteading activities. "I have been crafting for most of my life: I learned to knit as a child which led to owning sheep and processing wool from sheep to final product.

These days I am weaving throw rugs from left over baling twine, making soap from our goat milk and lard, braiding rugs from used material, and always knitting. To me these are skills that any homesteader would have had in 'the days of old" - valued for their usefulness as well as their creative expression (the sign of a truly civilized society...but I digress)"

Andrea Malik

Andrea Malik has a degree in biology & geology from SUNY Potsdam and was a student of Tom Brown Jr. at his Tracking, Nature, Wilderness Survival school and has taken tracking workshops with Del Hall and Paul Rezendes among others. Andrea has taught numerous tracking workshops throughout the North Country.

Andrea has also been the Director of the Town of Colton's Bti (bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) Black Fly Control program for the past 28 years, and is given great opportunities in tracking and wildlife encounters while bushwacking along the streams in Colton. Andrea is also 5th degree black belt, Forest Spirit Martial Arts & Qigong, and teaches Tae Kwon do, Tabata, and qigong classes.

Andrea lives in Colton, NY with her dog Jasper.

Bob Washo Bob Washo

I've been involved in the local food movement for the past two decades as a CSA Farmer, Food Activist and Community Mentor. Through practical application and experimentation on our farm; food production and consumption choices are used as a vehicle to explore land use ethics, durable economies and our inter-connectedness.

Beyond eating well, working with multi-generational students continues to be the best part of my day. Prior to becoming a Foodie, I managed an Organic Medicinal Herb Farm and Laboratory in Boulder Colorado

Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett, of Bittersweet Farm in Heuvelton, was named the New York Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA NY) ‘2014 Farmer of the Year.’ For almost a decade, Bittersweet Farm has supported St. Lawrence University students learning about the principles and practicing the skills of sustainable agriculture and community building.

Bittersweet Farm is a small scale Diversified Organic Farm (Certified Organic with NOFA NY) that hopes to bring unity to the community by getting people involved with local agriculture and hopes to educate and inspire others. At Bittersweet they raise eggs, chickens, heritage breed turkeys, vegetables, herbs, and greenhouse transplants, specializing in shoots/sprouts. They sell at the Canton Farmers' Market Tuesdays and Fridays, and at the Ogdensburg Green Market on Saturdays and also sell wholesale and direct to customers at the farm. All of Bittersweet's meat production is grass based. Brian welcomes visitors, but ask you to call ahead if possible. Bittersweet is open to apprentice and internship involvement at the farm.

Bruce McClure

Bruce McClure has been a night sky and space writer and editor for EarthSky since early 2004. He is the chief writer for the popular EarthSky Tonight pages. He also writes astronomy articles, gives planetarium shows and hosts a wide assortment of public astronomy programs in and around his home in upstate New York. If you ask an astronomy question on our site, it’s likely to be Bruce that answers it. His love for the heavens has taken him to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, and he has sailed the North Atlantic, earning his celestial navigation certificate through the School of Ocean Sailing and Navigation. Bruce is also a sundial aficionado. He says his "number one passion"- besides his wife Alice - is stargazing. He believes the scroll of the lore-laden heavens, written in a language universal and more enduring than any human artifice, is our shared heritage. And he shares EarthSky's vision for stewardship, hoping future generations will enjoy uncontaminated air, soil and water, and a clear window to the universe.

Flip Filippi Flip Filippi

Bob and I co-own littleGrasse Foodworks, a community food project here in Canton. The CSA, which encourages active participation from its members, includes area residents as well as college students. When not growing food, I’m cooking, canning and fermenting it.

Though I grew up on a homestead in DeKalb, my realization of the value of the skills did not come about until I’d left home. After almost a decade away, which included valuable time apprenticing on farms, I returned to the area to build a farmstead to share with family and community. I’m taken with all things human-powered, such as hauling goods with a bicycle and trailer, pressing cider, and hand sewing.

Fred Peryer

In the foot hills of the Adirondack Mountains, Fred Peryer (Rustick Creations) lives on the land that was once his grandfather's farm. His other grandfather was a camp caretaker and as a boy Fred worked with him summers and weekends opening and closing camps where he repaired docks, boathouses and was introduced to rustic furniture. Later in life, while working as a carpenter in the Saranac Lake area, Fred was inspired by rustic furniture seen in the camps in which he worked.

Fred has now been building rustic furniture for over 20 years. He works in a classic rustic style, often using twig designs on white birch bark, as well as incorporating stone into his tables and stools. Fred selects, cuts, saws and harvests all natural materials from his land in the foothills of The Adirondack Mountains.

" I love the variety of the work. If you're building traditional chairs, you cut all the same pieces and it quickly becomes repetitive. With rustic, I could build a hundred chairs yet never cut the same piece twice. It keeps it a lot more interesting because you're fitting every piece itself."

Andy and Elisha Hurlbut of Hurlbut's Maple Hurlbut's Maple (Andy and Elisha Hurlbut)

Hurlbut's Maple is located around the foothills of the Adirondacks of Northern N.Y. in the small town of Canton. They first started sugaring in 1995 and have been producing quality Maple products ever since. They are family owned and operated and do business both locally & internationally. Along with Maple syrup, they grow several hundred acres of corn, beans & hay around the Canton area. They also raise Black Angus beef and are in the process of being natural G.A.P. (Global Animal Partnership) certified. "Our goal is to raise a pure product that we can be proud of and our customers enjoy."

Jack Taylor

A St. Lawrence University retiree, Jack Taylor has been carving for over 16 years. His work includes traditional folk art fan-birds, devotional art works, salad forks,whimsical mice, roosters, owls, soothing hand birds and more. Jack lives in Morristown, N.Y. where he is an active member and founder of the St. Lawrence Carvers Club. He loves spending time with grandchildren, especially taking them fishing and enjoys making 3-dimensional sailing schooners out of stained glass.

Jane Desotelle Jane Desotelle

Jane Desotelle is a TAUNY Heritage Award winner (2007) and owner of Underwood Herbs in Plattsburgh. She also helped start the Adirondack Farmers’ Market Cooperative, Inc. and manages the Plattsburgh Botanical Sanctuary. Since long before the current surge of interest in "eating local," Jane has been working with the edible and medicinal properties of wild plants, advocating for farmers' markets, and building her own business through direct contact with her customers. Jane developed her intense appreciation for wild plants through her childhood in Plattsburgh, where she helped her parents raise and sell flowers and berries from their garden, as well as through visits to her grandmother's large garden in Ohio. As a young woman, Jane set out to learn everything she could about the traditional uses of herbs, and when friends kept asking for her herbal tea mixes, she founded her company, Underwood Herbs, to reach a wider audience. Jane makes all of her products from sustainably-harvested wild plants, and she has also started a botanical sanctuary at her home to protect and nurture such plants.